We did contact both original source (Washington State Open Course Library) and Saylor as a courtesy. Needed some help as well as the original source docs (Word) held by WSOCL people were needed by us to move the course into wiki text. Otherwise we had a big bundle of PDFs and HTML and refs to Angel LMS from the Saylor portal. We used Open Office at the time to convert Word files to wiki text (messy but still a timesaver in bulk especially due to loads of URLs which we did NOT want to rekey). Then we did the editing and rewriting in MediaWiki (WikiEducator). We found most of the art in the WikiMedia commons and pulled in into the course very smoothly – comes with all the metadata etc. (as in Wikipedia).

Apart from the stuff in the video we also plan to incorporate this course into our regular fine arts programming.

Presentation CNIE 2014 in Kamloops which gives the overall story in a convenient and attractive presentation format.

If we want an OER ecosystem to work we have to be both good users and good contributors: i.e. think of the next poor soul down the road who has to disentangle our own stuff for their own reuse. Some more points…


  • Wiki environment takes time to learn (flat file structure in a hierarchical universe) – easy to get lost
  • Content conversion onerous (some locked up in PDFs)
  • Needed some “neutralization” (context-specific course structure)
  • Instructional designers thrive on clarity
  • Rethinking everything
    • How will this be used by learners?
    • Who/where are our learners?
    • What might be their motivations?
    • How might they configure (solo, groups, community, etc.)
    • What technology do they have access to?
    • How might an instructor or institution use this course?
    • How can we make it as flexible as possible for others to repurpose – and –
    • Can others help to improve it? (e.g. regional bias)
  • At some point have to “let it go” and see what happens
  • Need to resist urge to start from scratch – we have to figure this out
  • It’s a long term project


Collaboration is a powerful element

  • Complementary strengths evident
  • Generated creative ideas
  • Looking at things from multiple angles
  • Ongoing process of mentoring and sharing
  • Helps maintain focus and energy (all very busy people!)

Common sense of purpose and caring

  • The larger purpose always back of mind
  • Not just putting in work
  • Focusing on needs of learners is more than a cliche

Thinking about education and learning as a community project – grassroots/ecosystem Catalyst for institutional transformation

  • Gets faculty and staff working hands-on with OER and open educational practices
  • E.g. Working with TRU online M.Ed program to incorporate OERu open educational practices course as Special Studies course
  • Can maintain early comfort level within an open yet known environment
  • Flushes out issues that need to be resolved
  • Policy can emerge from collaborative problem solving rather than by fiat
  • Low-risk – high potential engagement

Shared by: Irwin Devries