Sharing, not just planning to share – Crowdsourcing OER Search for Africa

I am hoping that Dave Cormier will write this up fully, as it was his idea for which he deserves full credit, but the eleganceand simplicity of it, coupled with the real need it hopes to serve, compelled me to post something right away in hopes of helping it get going.

As I understand it, after Catherine Ngugi’s powerful opening keynote at Open Education ’09, Dave spent some time chatting with Catherine, in which he came to learn that there was a person tasked with locating useful open resources for faculty but that this was an overwhelming task. Dave, being Dave, immediately saw the potential for our existing networks to pitch in, sharing as we already do, and set about creating a twitter account, findanoerafrica to send out requests to the community for help finding appropriate resources. The idea was hatched on Wednesday and announced this Friday morning.

Only time will tell if it works and how effect it is. You can help, really easily. If you use twitter, then follow findanoerafrica and basically respond in the helpful way you already do. The difference being you’ll be helping someone who is in turn supporting hundreds of educators. The beauty – it isn’t asking you to do anything you’re not already doing, and the cost was essentially zero. Obviously, this is not going to solve all the worlds ills, but it’s one of those little steps to maybe make it better than it was. Dave – your energy and enthusiasm are both infectious and inspiring. Getting to hang with you this week in Vancouver has definitely been one of the highlights for me. – SWL

7 thoughts on “Sharing, not just planning to share – Crowdsourcing OER Search for Africa”

  1. This really is a simple and wonderful solution to a huge challenge. I am thinking about how we could use this in lots of cases at PSU and beyond. I never really thought of using Twitter as a social bookmarking tool … I’ve thought a lot of it as an ad hoc recommendation engine, but pushing the notion that a twitter account is really just a place where content can be shared into (as opposed to out of) is simple and elegant. I’ll be watching this and following the account.

  2. Twas a brilliant idea– and flatlined for the last month with one announcement tweet. That’s the thing about social media, someone has to keep flogging the new beast to get ’em rolling. If no one posts a request via the account, it seems like what it is now, a great idea.

  3. yeah, I agree, though the nice thing about this and other such approaches that are ‘pull’ or subscription based is that adding the follow costs you nothing, and is part of your existing workflow – if and when the folks who own the @findanoerafrica account get it together to send out requests for help, those who have added it will see it and can decide to respond just as they would to anyone else in their network. So hopefully they will, but regardless I think the model still works.

  4. I agree and never intended to be a negative voice on what is a fantastic and elegant idea– Momentum is something one should leverage when it is there.

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