2011 - Analyzing Wikieducators - Short Ethnography
Wikieducator.org OER Online Community An Online Community Ethnography Contributing to the Edupunks, DIY U, and the Free Culture MovementThe whole presentation can be seen at: http://z.umn.edu/wikieducator
Personal Reasons / Bias• Social Reproduction – Family, Conditions, Opportunity• North / South – Digital Divide• Means of Production / Progress• What We Learned From The Past• Desire From Marginalized Voices To Be Heard- (Part of my biases were included in the first letter of invitation to participants) – Response rate was lower
Wikieducator.org• Founded by Wayne Mackintosh• Opened – in August 2006• Slogan – “To turn the digital divide into digital dividends using free content and open networks” For CI 5323 – Online Learning Communities Course, we had to pick an online community and interact with it weekly.
Technology and Education Innovation Scholar Commented on its Possibility Blackboard 1841Motion Picture 1940 Television 1957 Computers 1967
Arguments for it• Many kids who will not be going to schools – SS Africa – 76 will not have the privilege to attend the last 3 years of secondary education – We do not have enough money, we need to find a better way to increase access to secondary education and higher education
Technology and Social Links• Importance of the Guttenberg Press on spreading knowledge between the elite• But need for social connections (at an individual level)• Find a mechanism that enshrines education as a common global good.• “Wiki technology combined with the right license meets these two requirements”
WikiEducator Mission• 2015 – A free curriculum for all sectors – “Working collaboratively with educators around the world we aim to develop free content resources in support of all national curricula” – Not replacing closed content. There are motivated producers in both the open and close curriculum projects
Tragedy of Commons• “Digital Knowledge is infinitely scalable and will not suffer the tragedy of commons”
Some Initiatives• VUSSC - Virtual University for Small States of the Commonwealth – Network of 30 countries - OER• UNESCO/COL Computer Navigators Certificate – Free computer and Software training for developing countries• FLOSS4Edu – Address the absence of Free content in African Schools• Learning4Content and Scalability – Scale up the development of OER – Native American proverb - "Tell me and Ill forget, show me and I may not remember, involve me, and Ill understand"
OER – Open Education Resources Photo by Social Secrets
What are OER?• “open educational resources are digitised materials offered freely and openly for educators, students and self-learners to use and reuse for teaching, learning and research”• Term was first coined at a UNESCO meeting – 2002• OECD - the concept of “open educational resources” is both broad and vague. (As noticed through this research)
Brief Background OER• The Internet and Free Data (Berners-Lee)• Free Culture Movement (Lessig)• Open Source Software Movement (Stallman)• Open Licensing (Lessig)• Open Access Journals• Open Education Resources (UNESCO, Wiley)• Open-Source Economics (Benkler)
Participant Observation• Became a member of Wikieducator.org• Became a member of SCOPE – BC Campus• Attended the February 23, 2011 OERU Planning Meeting• Began developing my own OER• Became a member of the OCW Online Communities• Became a member of the OERU Google Group• Became a member of the WSIS – OER and OERU Groups
Attended – OLC4Ed OPEN CONTENT LICENSING FOR EDUCATORS COURSE Units (Complete a Unit a Day) 1- Why does open matter in education? 2- What constitutes an open education resource? 3- What can educators legally copy in an online world? 4- How can educators refine their copyright for sharing knowledge?
Responses OCL4Ed (Day 3)• With the case study itself, I wondered if there could be multiple case studies made available for future iterations (through hyperlinks?). I accessed the link to the P2P - copyright for educators the page provided and it was helpful for finding other examples, but I felt that more case studies could be made available and help one to further your understand of Creative Commons.• One possibility could be to include a case study that mentions the implications of a YouTube video. In the school I used to work at teachers primarily used YouTube videos and Netflix when including audio visuals in their classrooms. Perhaps an additional case study could address this murkier subject, instead of analyzing a formal source such as a BBC video, YouTube.com or another video sharing website could be explored. This argument is particularly linked to question four.
Interviews• Took the open list of participants to the OERU Planning Meeting• Made an Microsoft Access Database – Included Name, Job Description, Email, Blog, Institutional Website• Tried to send personalized emails from Access• Decided to try TimeTrade – (24/7 Availability)
Individuals That Have Been InterviewedAbel Caine Replied InterviewedPheo Martin Replied InterviewedSean Linton Replied InterviewedJoan Garfield Replied InterviewedSteve Foerster Replied InterviewedJoyce McKnight Replied InterviewedDavid Porter Replied InterviewedCable Green Replied InterviewedSimon Yalams Replied Interviewed
Semi-Structured Most Asked Questions• How and when did you first become involved with OER? How has your involvement with OER changed over time? What attracts you the most about OER?• What are some of the greatest obstacles facing OER? Should every country participate in the development of OER?• How important is strong support from the university administration for the development of OER?• What are some obstacles that limit you from spending a greater amount of time developing OER?• What leads a person to become more active in the community? How does the community strengthen itself?• Should the term OER be a household or commonly known term? Have you taught your children about OER? Are your family and friends supportive of OER?• Are most of your friends aware of what OER are and are they supportive of the idea?• Have you met people within Wikieducator.org? Have these relationships extended between the online community? What has been the nature of these relationships?• If you do not mind me asking, how do you identify yourself; political conservative, liberal, independent?• Which OER sites do you frequently visit? How did the OERU idea develop? What has been your level of involvement with the OERU initiative?• What do you think is the greatest barrier for other universities when considering whether or not to join the OER movement?• What has the OER community done to increase awareness of OER? What other steps need to be taken?• What to you is the ultimate goal of OER? Are OERs sustainable? Why or why not?• Please explain your work within OER and what led you to choose this approach when developing education resources? What is your average day like? Have you recently participated in OER courses?
Question Development- Wrote them, edited by my wife - Ellie Lewis - MA in Latin American Studies / UMN Law Student- Showed them to Joanna - Joanna helped select the most important ones- Questions were also sent to Dr. Cassie Sharber - She sent suggestions which will be consider for the next iteration- Respondents were asked for feedback- Questions will be reevaluated at the end of this stage
Hidden Questions- How open are these communities toresearchers?- How receptive are they to criticism?- What does it take to be an insider?- What do they think open is?- What is their opinion of me as a researcherfrom a closed institution?
Transcribing!• Had 3 different audio / video recordings of each interview – Digital Recorder – Audacity (Ubuntu) – Desktop Screen Recorder (Ubuntu)• Uploaded them to Youtube (Try free transcription) – Failed horribly• Transcribing word by word (I need a pedal)
Steve Forester• “I think a lot of people who would like to develop open educational resources are constrained by other responsibilities thats why one of the initiatives that Wayne Mackintosh put together is to encourage universities to devote the equivalent of a full-time person to the development of open educational resources because with that sort of institutional commitment, it would really help individuals who are affiliated with those institutions and are interested in participating, as it would allow them to have the time that they need to do so.”
Abel Caine (UNESCO)• “The third part of your question is that OER are very very slowly moving into developing countries. The rate of adoption in developing countries is extremely slow. This is where UNESCO sees its competitive advantage. It will be here in the developing countries where we will need the greatest amount of technological transfers or expertise. This is where UNESCO’s CI sector, which is working on a platform, feels that a lot of the software products that were developed by the US institutions are not 100 percent relevant for developing countries, you can’t just take Curriki and transplant it in the middle of Ghana, it just will not work”.
Dr. Pheo Martin• “The involvement has definitely grown because I believe very strongly that Open Educational Resources need to bring about the freedom from oppressive book prices. I believe in open educational resources because they are far more accessible to students in digital form where they dont have to buy these books. I advocate and promote these resources through our institute Realizing Educations Potential Institute.”
Comments – Other InterviewsSean Liston Met Wayne Mackintosh through his social network in New Zealand. Trying to spend more time developing OERJoan Garfield Believes OER will mainly help the for-profit industry to lower its cost or improve its services. Started working for them 2 yrs ago.Joyce McKnight Looking forward to the first Open University to develop in the USA. Sees the OER Community as substantially homogeneousDavid Porter Argues that most of the OER supporters are similar philosophically and that its supporters need to pass of the torch to othersCable Green Explained how OERs would help Community Colleges. Sent messages to other OER supporters so that I could meet with them in the future.Simon Yalams It is important for the materials to be contextualized, but more importantly there needs to be financial support for their development
Conclusions (From Interviews)• Different Motivations – From needed a job to promoting free textbooks to wanting to make education free for all• Different locations – OER is increasing its transnational appeal – UNESCO / NET• Looking for that critical mass – tipping point – Different perspectives on how and when this will happen• Resources are primarily developed in English• The community seemed open and receptive considering it was an email invite• Quality and support of OER were widespread concerns
Conclusions (Research Framework)• Refine interview questions – Ask more details – such as what is their main interest, or what they see as most important• Need for additional interviews• Need for help and for a OER research component within CIDE• It is difficult to immerse oneself within an online community