Our last team meeting for 2016 from the 24th to the 25th November took place at Cologne. Here in holy city of Cologne is the North Rhine-Westphalian Library Centre (hbz) where four people of the OER World Map team are located. So the other members of our geographically dispersed team had to travel this time. The two days were filled with constructive discussions and effective teamwork. Continue reading
We now have our first video content available through OER World Map! You can review the entries at the following URLs:
Open Educational Resources in Africa
NOVA’s OER-Based Associate Degree Project
We hope to add more stories in this way over the coming months. If you have a video relating to OER that you would like to share with the community then get in touch.
Content published on YouTube with a licence that permits sharing can easily be repurposed for the map in this way using the embed code provided in the sharing menu.
Following on from Felix’s recent post about the technical development that has gone into producing v0.2 of OER World Map, I’m writing to announce the official launch of the latest iteration. By the time you read this a whole host of new functionality will have been added to the site.
Firstly – and most obviously – we now have a map that can be browsed and explored more meaningfully. Several node types have been incorporated and added to the map, with basic reporting available at the country level for users, projects, organisations and services. I think everyone on the team feels happy to have reached the stage where we could move beyond a holding homepage and publish what we have put together so far.
There’s only a small amount of data included in this version, which is mostly to test functionality. As we add more data to the map in future releases these fundamental types will be used to build up a summary of OER activity in different parts of the world. We already have a a lot of datasets available to us and are in the process of prioritising these and cleaning the data. A more detailed account of OER activity is provided in the form of ‘stories‘ written by members of the OER community. These capture the experiences of OER practitioners in their own words and demonstrate the real impact that OER is having.
We’re always interested in collecting more stories, and we expect to release several new stories in the coming weeks so keep coming back. You can also use this version to see whether your country has been assigned a country champion. Champions act as regional points of contact and curators of content. If you’re interested in acting as a champion for the project in your area, get in touch.
We also now have static pages explaining what the project is about; how our legal and privacy policies work; and an FAQ page which attempts to answer some fundamental questions about the project.
As ever, we remain interested in your feedback! You can comment below or write to us. To get involved in the project, consider:
- Becoming a country champion
- Sharing your OER story
- Raising local awareness of the project in your organisation
Helo ffrindiau OER, a chyfarchion o Gaerdydd yng Nghymru (DU)! Here are the slides from today’s presentation by myself and Philipp at the OER15 conference in Cardiff, in Wales (UK). They provide a snapshot of the current progress of the project and we also managed to collect our first examples of user stories. You can access the list of stories (and add your own) at http://tinyurl.com/oermap.
The recording of the session will also be made available, but in the meantime here are some thoughts I picked up in the discussion:
- Some people prefer to have some suggestions provided for the structure and length of a ‘story’
- Some people want to embed HTML links in their story
- Adding a word limit might be helpful for some because it makes the task more manageable
- The task of curating stories in multiple languages was identified as a risk for the project
- Any online form for collecting stories needs to be protected from spam
- There is interest in the alternative (non-map) forms of visualization – it might be good to sketch some of these out
- There may remain issues around the internationalisation of the platform
- Emails may lack persistence as a grounding for the map contributions
- There remains interest in an OER World Map but the important thing from an uptake point of view is the perception that the platform has some permanence and will be maintained in the future
Today, myself and Felix are representing the OER World Map project in Sausalito, California this week at the meeting of grantees of The Hewlett Foundation. It’s been great to get the chance to connect with some of the key players in the OER world and exchange ideas about the future aspirations of the movement. The conference has included lots of group activities as well as some interesting speakers, and as part of the proceedings there is an unconference session which includes time for delegates to come and speak about the OER World Map project and tell us what they would like from the system. We’ve been joined by, among others, Patrick McAndrew, Susan D’Antoni, Fred Mulder and Tel Amiel for stimulating discussions on the possibilities. Susan provided some background on the project and its origin in the 2012 consultation she organised. Many OER practitioners at the time complained that it was hard to know about OER initiatives and activities taking place near them, and so the map was conceived as a way of sharing this information.
Here are some of the take away points and reflections from the session:
- What is the correct balance between human curation and automatic collection of data? (It’s worth noting that the privacy laws in Germany may restrict some of the automatically harvested data that it is possible to publish on the map)
- Country champions – can we use the Creative Commons network to identify and co-ordinate our country champions? (They could also be specially identified as CC champions on the map.)
- When will there be something more on offer through the map? It was hoped that we would have something in place before this meeting and by the time of OER15 and OE Global next month we are hopeful that organisations and services will be added to the map.
- How do we help the person who is looking for OER? Repositories
- Connecting OER expertise around the world
- How do we identify the core audience? Are they OER advocates who want to improve the scope and range of what they do and the connections they have?
- What kind of information can we provide to policymakers?
- Including stories on the map – communicating the messages from around the world
- Put yourself on the map, share your story – this idea was very popular with the discussants, especially in light of yesterday’s presentation on communication
- Emphasis on the visual: talking heads, video content, conversational style
- Focusing on user stories provides greater focus country champions – and could also improve the long term sustainability of the project beyond its current funding cycle
- We can start collecting these stories now! Can we start with the ‘Super 7’ Hewlett grantees? These are expert stories about the impact of OER in their own contexts and already have a pitch of appropriate size
- What kind of format? a word limit (500? 1000?), at least one picture, and a location
- From these stories we can extract the next priorities
- Exercising editorial control by making sure that people send their stories by email
- After telling stories and making connections between people, what is the next most important user case? A calendar of events? Services?
- What does OER Commons do with the data that they have?
- How will we deal with stories that are not written in English (or German)? The feeling in the room is that people should publish in their own language if they prefer and Google Translate is used to check basic content and country champions used where possible. Use of native languages will support regional conversations, such as around Latin America.
- Activity / lack of activity can be a fundamental category that is easily understood
As we enter Open Education Week it’s starting be be a really exciting period for OER World Map. Since funding for the project was awarded to the team there has been lots of activity behind the scenes to build the technical architecture that will allow us to map complex information in an intuitive and useful way. I will let others who understand the minutiae of these things better than I do the explaining, but it’s really interesting to see things come together while we work as a distributed team.
As technical progress is made, so we move through to a new phase of the project where reaching out to the OER community to identify national champions and build a register of interested parties. Open Education Week is a great time for this as people all around the world share their experiences and aspirations for open education. In addition to a series of blog posts this week, we’ll be reaching out through a Google Hangout (see below) on Thursday. But we are also entering an important conference season where there will be many upcoming events with an OER World Map presence:
- On Thursday this week we have planned an online hangout that will afford the opportunity to connect directly with the project team and learn about ways to become more involved.
- Felix and myself will attend Hewlett’s OER Grantees meeting in Sausalito, California (USA) later this month. This should be a great opportunity to connect with other OER projects and raise awareness of our project with the right people.
- The annual UK conference for open education, OER15, will take place in Cardiff, Wales (UK) in April. Jan Neumann will present an overview of the OER World Map project. and I will also be there speaking about ethics and openness in education. Other presentations are also concerned with the challenges of mapping OER, including those of Paul Bacsish, Terese Bird and Alex Tartowski. You can review the draft schedule here.
- Later in April the OE Global Conference 2015 will take place in Banff, Alberta (Canada). The schedule includes a panel discussion on the challenges of mapping OER including Paul Bacsich, Jan Neumann, Tel Amiel, Dan Wilton and myself; followed by a workshop that will help us generate authentic user stories for the world map. You can find us in the main hall on Friday 24th April. I’ll also be taking part in a workshop for ROER4D which means there could be a chance to pick up some champions for the Global South.
My sense is that these meetings will be the start of an ongoing dialogue with the OER community about the ideal design for a map that will meet genuine user needs. Even this brief review of what is coming up in the next six weeks shows the global focus of the open education movement, and how we will need to connect with all kinds of stakeholders in the world of OER.
To get started with OER World Map, and to nominate yourself as a champion for your country, sign up for project involvement at https://oerworldmap.org where there are lots of exciting things to come.
Today, just one day before our presentation at the OpenEd14 The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation officially decided to fund the hbz proposal for the development of an OER World Map. We feel honored and exited, but we also see the responsibility connected with such an important project very clearly. Nevertheless I`m pretty sure we will have quite a good time working on the World Map!