Proposal for Action: Strategic Goal 1, Objective 2 (Community Source)

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Strategic goal

Achieve a fiscally sustainable and scalable OERu network

Strategic objective

Improve community engagement for OERu planning, implementation, technology innovation and technology integration

  • Focus: Build a sustainable community source model to support technology innovation of OERu systems and integration with extant campus-based systems

Key performance indicator(s) for 2015

(Provide recommendation for recalibrated target if necessary)

  • 0.5 FTE contribution in kind to OERu community source technology innovation (i.e. 10 working days per month spread across the network) as part of the OERu partner agreed FTE contribution
    • Can a guide for partners be developed to help make the case within their institutions to free up resources; such as demonstrating value to partners
    • such a guide might be also articulate and define values (open source, open content, open development, etc...)
  • 30% of OERu partners with membership on the OERu technology email list

Strategic approach and open technology principles

The OER Foundation provides a centrally hosted technology service based on open source software for the collaborative development of OERu courses and delivery at no-cost to the learners. (The meaning of 'delivery' has to be defined. Is it delivering a course document or a learning experience? Also, if OERu will maintain a student record for all time, this will have a different set of infrastructure needs, especially if we achieve scale). The costs of hosting this infrastructure is funded through OERu membership fees. We subscribe to the following principles:

  1. All learners should have unrestricted access to all course materials without the need for password access.
  2. To maximise reuse across the network we encourage partners to develop courses using the WikiEducator content repository. In cases where partner institutions choose to host courses using their own delivery technologies, they are responsible for the full costs of hosting these resources for all OERu learners.

2015 outputs

  • Undertake an inventory of partner institutions to identify open source skill sets within the network and corresponding activities to nurture the development of a community source model.
  • Survey complementary open source projects, tools, initiatives
  • Specify terms for a template to create "functional spec/technical spec" and "certificate of contribution" documents, to recognise and reward external contributions to open source programming projects

Clarifying notes, additional considerations and discussion points

  • Organize "code sprints" or other events (could travel be supported) -- could sponsoring an external developer count toward FTE contribution?
  • Consider having cohorts of undgraduates assigned to work on OERu as a course project.
  • Delivery of courses at "no cost for learners" will be difficult to sustain within current financial model if we attract large numbers of learners, particularly with respect to infrastructure costs
  • Could scaling/infrastructure be addressed by a partnership
  • Current delivery scale (content authored in wiki, skinned in other environments) is relatively cheap, but if our expectations become more ambitious that scaling may be insurmountable
  • Complementary models to explore: DS106, (distributed); P2PU

Summary description

The technology infrastructure of the OERu is based entirely on open source software generating opportunities for building a community source model whereby partners could contribute open source coding time for technology innovation and seamless integration into the local institutional delivery platforms.

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Activity schedule

# Activity Summary description Responsibility Target date / Duration
Example Survey 1st year BGS requirements Conduct a survey of OERu partners with a BGS to determine subject requirements for 1st year of study Curriculum & programme of study group (or individual / institution) 15 April 2015 (or ongoing)

Do you have issues which should be tabled at the OERu Council of CEOs meeting?

During group discussions, if any issues arise which in your opinion should be tabled at the OERu meeting of Chief Executive Officers, please add them directly to to the CEOs issues page here.