I neglected to link to George Siemens’ proposal for Developing Open Source Content that came out a couple of weeks ago.
DOSC has four primary purposes:
1. Forum for collaborative creation of open source content. Academic fields are not isolated. Work, resources, and research are the foundations for continual innovation. To capitalize on this concept, forums are needed that have sufficient openness to allow educators to build on the work of others. Very few ideas are perfect at first presentation. Most ideas (and education resources) are refined through dialogue with colleagues and other professionals in an industry. DOSC objective of creating a collaborative forum for creating content requires a commitment to open source views of information (i.e. information is shared and used to build new information).
2. Forum for releasing already created content. Educators have a wealth of existing content. Not all of it is in learning object format, but it is complete enough to be shared with others (after appropriate metatagging). Not all content following the DOSC model will be collaboratively developed. Much of it will be existing content shared by educators.
3. Community to build communities. Building communities has two components: the architecture (technology resources and tools), and the environment (maintenance, nurturing, fostering). By using DOSC as a touchpoint for community fostering and creation, communities of interest (e.g. biology, chemistry, English, K-12…) can focus on creating the environment for knowledge sharing. DOSC, in this sense, becomes a meta-community to assist other communities
4. To provide resources/guidelines for interested universities, colleges, education providers, and educators. Educators are experts in their own field. Currently, in order for them to share their knowledge digitally (move courses online), they need to learn an entire new language and skill set – HTML, XML, information/instructional design, course management systems, etc. While this process may be of interest to educators with a technical slant, the complexity of the process is excluding many from moving online. Communities are comprised of people with diverse skill sets – no one is an expert in everything. Instead, they are specialists in their own field, and community comes from relying on each other’s skills.
Why is this a task for instructional technologists?
Instructional technologists are a group of people who care about facilitating learning and believe that technologies can play an important mediational role. As people who have some understanding of both learning processes and advanced technologies, we are uniquely qualified to take up the gauntlet.
Who is going to take the time to answer questions and provide other learning support to a total stranger online for free?
Almost every Internet user has had the experience of joining an online group, seeking help, and receiving needed information, advice, or resources. Whether the problem is technical (how to fix a computer or write a program), health related (dealing with cancer or overcoming anorexia), social (locating an old friend or finding a date), or school related (researching a historical person or trying to understand differential equations), there are online groups scattered around the globe that are happy to share their expertise with others in a variety of synchronous (chat or IM) and asynchronous (news groups, listservs, or web boards) formats. Patterns of weblog use (including metablogs, aggregators, trackback, and other services) for supporting learning are still emerging, but appear to add richness and depth to the online experience of distributed learning communities. All of these interactions are enabled by the Internet