Posts Tagged ‘opencourseware’

Just found out last night that the OpenCourseWare Consortium conference is streaming live online. You can learn about opencourseware and educommons by tuning in during the day today!

I will be speaking on the process of social sourcing educommons today at 11am central/12pm eastern.The conference content is already running. You can tune it here

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For the last month, I’ve had a chance to extend the thought/work I started two years by organizing the GetPaid project to a new Plone product project, eduCommons (ifPeople‘s team is also working on Selenium tests and unit tests in the project too). GetPaid organizing led me to what I call “social sourcing”, or finding collaborative design processes for an open community, which became my way of conceptualizing open source organizing (for a non-developer). That was a topic of real interest for eduCommons, who is in the process of shifting from a centrally funded and developed project to a community supported project.

Background: eduCommons leverages Plone content management system to make an OpenCourseWare (OCW) system. If you don’t know OCW, you are missing out on a ton of free knowledge, made famous by MIT’s effort to put all its courses online, freely available and followed by many other institutions. So many institutions, there’s actually a consortium of over 200 universities around the world (of which about 80 use educommons!). A while back, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation recognized this was a big deal and stepped up to support a re-usable, open source platform for OCW. Thus was born educommons, which originally lived at Utah State’s Center for Open and Sustainable Learning. Personally, I was trying to collect all the (playing) cards of the COSL staff and am sad I won’t be able to complete my set now! Maybe enPraxis will do something similar…? Plonistas, note that these are the folks who brough us the Content Licensing product and other goodies!

Anyway, the current situation is that eduCommons, while having a substantial user base and a solid history of development, is now going social sourced. That is, the community will now need to step up to fill the needed roles to keep the project going, fund new work, and ensure the well-being of the project going forward. This means a whole new strategy of communication with all the users, and with it more tools (yes, more mailing lists!  I also prodded them into registering the #educommons irc channel in open source style).

The project has got some great tools, and now even uses a buildout to make it even easier to check out (also check out the demo). There will be some more changes getting organized over the next couple months, so keep your eye on educommons.com for the latest. Seriously…check it out!

Speaking of which…that’s what I need to be working on now. I am presenting about social sourcing at the Connexions/OpenCourseWare Consortium conference in Houston, TX on Friday (Feb 6 @11am) along with Tom Caswell, who is a project manager for the OCWC. Since it’s exciting work, I wanted to share it.

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