A case-study framework for open content projects: free high school science texts and the case for continuous learning

Cynthia Jimes

By Cynthia Jimes.

Participatory research model. What sorts of technologies were already been used by them. The research tools built upon what was already in use. Interviews and email discussions with FHSS team. Survey and interviews with core volunteers. PhD studnets put together a science textbook at the university of Cape Town, to be released early 2008. It is not going to be Creative Commons . The textbooks will be printed and also made available in a website. The website of life sciences is: http://www.fhsst.org

They use a content authoring platform. They decided to go for a collaborative management system rather than a wiki because it is too open. There are people working on the content form many differnet parts of the world. The content assingment tovolunteers was devided into small chuncks so authors would not feel overwhelmed.

Volunteer recruitment: multiple methods of recruitiment: flyers, f2f networking, ads on facebbok and listserves. They achieved 420 volunteers from 2002 up to now. 50 are active (12%) and 10 (2%) are core. The core ones share the vision with the creators of the project. Content was created online and off-line.

Volunteers tried to have a very transparent production process and created a monthly newsletter to let people know of the developments of the project (good or bad).

The questions in my mind: are there authoring guidelines in terms of pedagogy and a carefully thought syllabus. What makes a volunteer qualify for writing the course? How is it going to be available, only on print? They decided not to use the Creative Commons license – so what type of license do they use?

The conclusion of teh study is that they try to install a culture of collaboration within the project. Some teachers want to pioneer the books with tehir students. The project leveraged community resources.

Address: http://www.icommons.org/nodes/oer-case-study-project

Content licensed in the GNU (GPL)

It makes me think that this is a good example of collaboration, content pulled from the users, from teachers. This is a good example of the ‘pull’ of content. This must be a really fascinating projetc, I would imagine that they had long discussios about what is it that people need. They eventually got funding for the project.

I appproached Cynthia and asked to run an interview with her, to serve as a ‘case’ to illustrate what pulling content from users would look like. She will get back to me and we are planning to do it using Flashmeeting, in the coming weeks.


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