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Sharing the load

Sharing together

dScribe is fundamentally about the opportunity to collaborate with others to create and share open content. Perhaps you’re a group of students creating a project and want to ensure that others can take your work and adapt it. Or, maybe you’re a faculty member looking for students and staff to work with you as you strive to open your research and teaching material to a broader audience.


* Case study

At Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), the introduction of Open Educational Resources (OER) has resulted in collaborative effort among stakeholders in creating quality educational resources for teaching, learning and research. Among the challenges confronting the creation of electronic learning materials such as OER is the heavy demand on faculty time. In order to address this, KNUST has embraced the idea of student teams working with faculty to co-develop resources with the collaborative aim of supporting OER production. In particular, we have included students from the Department of Communication Design (DeCoDe) within the College of Art & Social Sciences in our OER production. We have matched a health instructor with an OER media specialist (a KNUST non-teaching staff member who is a recent DeCoDe alumnus or alumna) and a team of DeCoDe students to assist with putting the content into an electronic learning resource.

Creating OER, or any teaching and learning material for that matter, requires considerable time commitment. KNUST’s experience has shown that with the help of students, that amount of time can be minimized and help attract more content providers to share their work as OER.

:: Adapted from Benjamin Prempeh's article. CC BY :: Read more


Deciding on a process

As you confirm who you will work with, you'll begin to formulate thoughts around how you want to collaborate to create and publish OER. A few things to think about are how you'll communicate, what tools you'll use to build content, and how open you'll be about sharing your process with others. You have a couple of approaches you can take:

  • DIY and simply have fun exploring the process of creating open content.

  • Use an existing process (either model your work after something or join a group already creating OER -- post a comment in the discussion to see if someone has a few tips).

The University of Michigan developed a particular way to collaborate between staff, students, and faculty. Below is an illustration of the process -- just an idea to get you thinking of how you can work with others.

dScribe process at University of Michigan


* Tool tips

There are nearly three and a half bazillion collaboration tools and open communities for you to sink your teeth into. Here are some of our favorites (post your own favs in the discussion):

Collab tools

Communities (aka, Peoples)

What do you know?

Do you have experience with any of these tools or communities? Do you have questions about these tools or communities? Let's chat about them in the Discussion.

Task Discussion

  • Jade   Feb. 21, 2013, 12:21 p.m.

    I've used Google Drive and DropBox, and I'm familiar with Trello and GitHub. I'm not part of the reddit community but I know it's definitely a growing resource that many people spend hours using. 

    In response to a previous comment: I agree that a lot of what we use today is based on technology, especially in the school-related fields. I am familiar with most of these resources solely on the basis of school projects and collaborating with my peers. However, most of the time, most of the project is done online (using these resources) and not in person. So I think a resource like the Meetup community is great to get people back together in a physical setting (rather than on the web). 

    Also, I agree (with another previous comment) that creating an OER would be an interesting project for a teacher to assign. This does allow for a better understanding because knowing that others will be using this resource will almost force you to make sure your resource is accurate or reliable. 

  • elwick   Jan. 24, 2013, 4:21 p.m.

    I’m very familiar with Goggle Drive, Drop Box, and am learning more and more about P2PU.
    When we look at tools such as Google Drive and Drop Box we see how easily information can be shared between individuals. It doesn’t matter what the information is or who supplies it, this information is shared with the click of a button. 

    Something I’m finding is that through the use of ever growing technology, our society is switching to a world that’s totally online. With this, there is a growing number of classroom teachers who are willing to step “out of the box” with classroom discussion and learning. These teachers are pushing their students (in various grades) to utilize the internet for educational purposes rather than just social media and gaming. A greater push for education resources being easily accessible, online and free is here now.  If we could get more people interested and educated in OER these teachers and their classrooms would be able to participate in learning on more global scale.

  • Broc Anderson   Jan. 23, 2013, 3:27 p.m.

    I think dscribe can be geared toward any individual that wants to attain knowledge over a certain topic. Maybe even how to build a shed? Bake a cake? However, I do agree it should be more school oriented. There are classes that pertain to cooking and construction and I think any knowledge that people can contribute and deemed as useful should be placed in as OER information.

  • Andrea   Jan. 11, 2013, 2:52 p.m.

    It would be interesting to see teachers incorporate encouraging students to create an OER as a project during a class because if I were to create an OER I believe that would a good place to start the process. In addition it would be a good way to laern and better understand a topic. The tool tips exposed me to some resource I have never heard of before.

  • Emily Puckett Rodgers   Nov. 5, 2012, 4:38 p.m.

    Do we want dScribe to stay school-focused?


    Would this challenge be to find something someone has created for a learning experience but not shared online as OER and then gather people to work with you through the rest of the challenge, in person? Like an in person study group? 

  • Emily Puckett Rodgers   Nov. 5, 2012, 4:35 p.m.

    What'st the connection between this task and the first one (learn the basics)? 

    There's not a thread from one to the other (i.e. traditional dScribe is based around content--so you have an organizing goal: to get something you care about published for others to use). 

    Need to draw a thread/narrative/content object/something or other throughout the challenge? 

  • malicke   Oct. 4, 2012, 11:11 a.m.

    basic learning goals:

    - what do you care about/want to work on

    - who are you people

    - go find people

    tool tip:

    collaboration tools

  • malicke   Oct. 3, 2012, 10:57 a.m.

    some ideas for opportunities to collaborate with others to create open content:




    post a comment here

    students for free culture

    google group(s)(?)

    p2pu mentorship program

    email someone

    local groups (a2geeks)

    google+ hangouts