Thursday, January 31, 2008

Merged Outline Discussion

As some of you might have seen, I've started two sections of the handbook called Introduction and Get OER. As I've been writing, it has become clear that the merged outline is trying to hit two different audiences. One seems to be a micro-level, grassroots audience (such as teachers) and the other is a more macro-level, institution-oriented audience. For example, we have parts of the "Background" section that apply to both audiences, and parts of it that would apply more towards institution-wide OER projects. From there, the handbook goes to the "Get OER" section, which as outlined, is relevant for both, but mostly for micro-level development. After "Get OER" is the "Publish" section, which is mostly macro-level.

Some have pointed out that both perspectives are needed. However, writing the handbook with the two audiences may be impractical. One suggestion is that the handbook should have two parts: one for grassroots OER development, the other for institution-wide. I would like to hear from you. Anyone is welcome to make suggestions either on this blog, or on the discussion page of the merged outline.

Friday, January 25, 2008

WikiEducator Training Course and UNESCO

Wayne, from WikiEducator, has announced that there is a free online training session for wiki editing. It starts Monday, January 28 and goes through February 8th. Wayne estimates each session will take about 15-20 minutes per day for each of the working days during that time period. This is a great opportunity for  people who are unfamiliar (or perhaps a little rusty) with wiki editing. To sign up go to the Learning4Content Workshop page. Note: You must register with WikiEducator in order to register for the workshop.

EDIT: As you visit the wiki, you may also note that we've begun merging our outline with UNESCO's OER Toolkit document. This merging will be beneficial as UNESCO has already collected some excellent information about OER. You can see the new, merged outline on the wiki.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

WikiEducator, Participation and the Next Step

I'm pleased to announce that the OER handbook project is teaming up with WikiEducator. WikiEducator has generously offered to host this project as well as contribute to the content. I've already created an OER handbook page on Wikieducator and moved over the proposed outline. The blog will stay right here and continue to provide updates about the project.
I've also received several e-mails asking about participation. Let me be clear in saying that we are not soliciting money for this project. What this project really needs is your experience.

In terms of personal participation, what we need next is for people look over the proposed outline. Next, pick a topic from the outline that interests you and add it to the OER handbook page under "Sections being worked on currently." Then create a new page for that section and begin adding your thoughts. Use the OERInterop2007 meeting notes if you're unsure how to begin. Feel free to experiment as you write in that section.  I've begun writing an introduction to the handbook; maybe that will give some ideas about what you want to write.
As always, leave a comment or e-mail (seth no spam, no space gurell at g mail dot com) me if you have any questions.

Also, if you know of anyone who might be interested in this project, go ahead and invite them. If they have any questions, feel free to have them contact me.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Existing OER Projects

Naturally when undertaking a new project, it's only smart to look around at existing projects. By no means is this the first project to undertake an introduction to OER. As Leigh Blackall pointed out, there's a great course from Wikiversity and WikiEducator. There's also some helpful information from OLCOS

Why this handbook is different:
  1. It's designed for hand-holding - Not that other tutorials don't address the beginner, but I'm hoping this handbook will have plenty of screenshots to guide the user.
  2. It's a handbook - Many of the resources available are in course format. Courses work great for some, but there's also a need for something that can printed off and distributed and used as a textbook.
  3. It's time to take a look around - Wikiversity has great background information, OLCOS has solid terminology explanations. I think it's time to look around and bring the best of each resource together.
I'm convinced that this project can happily work with existing projects. In fact, I hope that this project will further its predecessors. The vitality of a community can be gauged by how well it accepts new members. If this project reaches its potential, I believe we will have significantly helped the OER community.

If you aren't able to help, please get the word out on mailing lists, blogs and any other method you think is appropriate. We need as much help as possible.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Welcome to the OER Handbook blog!

The purpose of this OER Handbook is to provide a beginner's guide to creating OER material. Once the handbook is complete, it will be made available online for free. Offline users will be able to purchase it from Amazon's Print-on-Demand service. If you have additional ideas for distribution, please let me know.

The base for this handbook is a collection of notes from the OERInterop2007 meeting (sponsored by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation). But in order for this handbook to be successful it needs help from the community.

That's where you come in.

Take a look at the wiki and the proposed outline here. Please add to the knowledge base to make this a truly useful handbook. This blog will be for announcements and meta-discussion.

I look forward to hearing from you and I'll see you on the wiki.