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WIKIEDUCATOR GOES INDEPENDENT


Dr. Mackintosh (Top Right) at the Tectonic Shift Think Tank in 2006

Under COL’s sponsorship and leadership, WikiEducator has grown with extraordinary rapidity and exceeded its targets. Named the Best Educational Wiki in 2007 by Stephen Downes (www.downes.ca), it was the inaugural recipient of the MERLOT Africa Network’s award for exemplary open educational resources (OERs) practices in 2008 (http://man.merlot.org).

WikiEducator has now matured into a prototype for scalable OERs development. Since its inception in May 2006, 3,000 people have been trained in Wiki editing skills in 30 online and 50 face-to-face workshops in 30 countries. Much of this work has been funded by The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation under COL’s Learning4Content programme (see cover story).

WikiEducator’s activities and influence have now expanded well beyond the Commonwealth. WikiEducator will become an independent entity as from 1 July, 2009, headquartered at the new International Centre for Open Education at Otago Polytechnic in Dunedin, New Zealand. The Council of Otago Polytechnic has established an OER Foundation, a new non-profit body founded for charitable education purposes. Otago Polytechnic’s OER Foundation will be legally responsible for administering WikiEducator’s funding.

WikiEducator now joins the ranks of international, community-run initiatives, such as Wikipedia, which have their own independent governing structures and are run according to criteria established by those communities. WikiEducator had always intended to form an elected governing council to which it would report once its membership base had grown large enough. Online elections were held in 2008, and WikiEducator’s first independent governing Board is now in place.

WikiEducator’s success owes much to the single-minded passion and commitment of Dr. Wayne Mackintosh, COL’s former Education Specialist, eLearning and ICT Policy, who is continuing his involvement with WikiEducator as Founding Director of Otago Polytechnic’s International Centre for Open Education. (see People).

Otago Polytechnic is a pioneer in open education. It was the first New Zealand tertiary education institution to sign the Cape Town Open Education Declaration on open education and one of the first institutions in the world to implement an intellectual property policy which defaults content developments to a Creative Commons Attribution license.

COL continues to provide some financial support for WikiEducator and encourages educators around the world to support it and contribute to its ambitious goal of developing a free K-12 education curriculum for the world by 2015.


NEW COL WIKI

COL will continue to use wiki and other collaborative technologies to support its work and partners. For this purpose it is setting up a “COLWiki”. As well as being specifically designed with COL’s programmes in mind, the COLWiki will differ from WikiEducator in accepting material under all Creative Commons licenses including the NC (non-commercial) and ND (no-derivatives) versions. The new platform can also include any “all rights reserved” material that is made available free of charge for others to use.

The COLWiki will be managed by COL as a service to Commonwealth ministries of education and educational institutions.
www.wikieducator.org