Collaborating on ideas: How to get started

Jul 17, 2014
Anete Lejiete

Collaborations around OERs has been discussed to bring benefits for educators by improved quality of teaching resources and long-term collaborations. International conferences and workshops where educators get together to discuss and plan education are a great way to increase the motivation of individuals. But how do we get educators being active online to collaborate on OER and build joint ventures together?

  1. Initiate your idea:

Do you have a course in mind you need to develop? Or a MOOC? What kind of input would help you: would you like feedback or collaborators to build the course with?

If this is clear, proceed and think

1) is your institution already adopting open practices and OER? If yes, you might want to ask your colleagues for good practices.

2) Should you find external contacts for the very first ideas or stick with your closest ones? Build a foundation with a trusted network.

  1. Choose channels

Consider the scale of the collaborations:

Would you like to explore and find potential directions and points of view you did not think of yet or would specific expertise be more helpful?

If this is clear, identify the key networks (online and offline) to address

At this stage, don’t forget the following:

  • Simplify your messages or requests. Then it’s easier for people to get involved
  • Identify and explain the benefits clearly for collaborators
  • It’s easier to get started with people you already know. Maybe their networks are suitable to extend towards?
  • Decide what type of contributions are minimum. Simplest contributions might have their place.
  1. Set up the collaboration

Make the collaboration effort as informal as you can but remember, people should know what is expected from them

  • Taking lead boosts motivation, give everyone a chance to shine.
  • Not all will be active and people should be able to do only what is interesting for them.
  • Iterate! Find new people, open new doorways…
  1. Develop your OERs and solutions

What ever your idea develops to, define one key place for managing your collaboration, no matter which tools and services you use. Otherwise it can turn into a mess.

Utilize the tools people are accustomed to use. No need to make it too complex.

Explore other business opportunities and collaborations once you get the collaborations going.

  1. Increase visibility

Make noise on your collaboration, visibility is great for yourself and to the OER movement

Distribute good practices. Also inform how to improve online collaborations.

Share the artefacts and solutions you create. Don’t forget to attach creative commons or similar license.

Explore and extend partnerships. Long term benefits are what makes OER sustainable.

  1. Extend

Iterate, explore new ideas

OEI life-cycle

Figure 1 OEI life-cycle (Pirkkalainen & Pawlowski, 2014)

Based on Pirkkalainen, H., & Pawlowski, J. 2014. Collaborating On Ideas: Tackling Barriers To Open Education. EdMedia 2014: World Conference on Educational Media and Technology.

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