Mapping OER with Wikimedia

Final conference – photo by Ben Bernhard – Mapping OER – Bildungsmaterialien gemeinsam gestalten, CC BY 4.0, Link

What are  opportunities of Open Educational Ressources and how can we map the various efforts, projects, groups, together with the vivid and diverse community so that the community can coordinate their efforts and funding gets funneled effectively?

Background

Learning has always been a dynamic process as knowledge & methods evolve but also as the motivations and needs of learners vary. For centralized solutions with tight copyright, producing such a high diversity of material is just too expensive. Open Educational Ressources, in contrast, offer material editable by teachers and pupils, material that can be expanded and re-mixed (5r of open material).

But they also come with new questions: How can I evaluate quality? Can I rely on proper licensing? What training is helpful to work with open ressources? And, of course, how can appropriate business models allow for sustainable and professional services?

OER are today driven by a diverse community of practioners, researchers, and activists, including some positions in official administration. Knowledge, questions, and positions are equally diverse.

Approach

Working as a close team with Wikimedia, we developed a series of expert workshops around these four focus questions, and a final conference for about 200 people. While Wikimedia provided domain knowledge and was in touch with the community, we brought in our knowledge of methods for engaging multi-stakeholder workshops.

Each workshop collected existing experiences, moved on to needs and gaps the participants sensed. Dedicated input on technology or legal issues made everyone aware of constraints. All of this served as input for ideation sessions in small teams. The group as review body provided immediate feedback for  further refinement of the proposals. Plenary discussions, brainstormings, individual focused work, and guided analysis sessions in small groups supported a high level of activity and fostered exchange among the the participants.

Learnings

Initially, we planned the workshops meticulously in activity and timing. We soon found out that all participants were highly self-motivated and that the groups were very good in self-organizing and following their own pace to be most productive. “Lateral guidance” was a true difference to strong structure and motivation that we often need to provide in corporate workshops.

Looking at OER themselves, I realized that it isn’t about ressources alone but about a different approach to learning (and teaching and schools in consequence). More self-driven and peer-based, more exploratory, more open ended. “Don’t call it education” as André Knörig of Fritzing put it: At Fritzing, people find inspiration. They gather knowledge as a means to build cool stuff.

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