Sunday, April 05, 2009

Submission to Wikimania

Submission to Wikimania
  1. Event title: Using media wikis and their communities of practice to develop free and open education at Otago Polytechnic New Zealand.
  2. Abstract: Otago Polytechnic in NZ has been using media wikis and their supporting communities of practice, to develop and make available many of its educational programs and resources as free and open education. This presentation will explain how the Polytechnic has been doing this, why it has lead to free and open education, and many of the key influences and dicisions along the way.
  3. Themes and track: Casual. Free knowledge.
  4. Information about the speaker: Leigh Blackall : leighblackall at gmail dot com : Leigh Blackall has been working with the Otago Polytechnic since 2006 and has been instrumental in developing the use of social media, open copyright licensing, and free and open courses.
  5. Submission: Otago Polytechnic started exploring the use of media wikis to develop and make available some of its educational programs early in 2006. Initially it considered 3 options: 1 - Setting up its own media wiki. 2 - Using Wikiversity. 3 - Using Wikieducator. The IT support unit at the Polytechnic who would have been responsible for setting up and maintaining the local install, was not in a position to support the trial, so work began on Wikiversity. After a few months loading content and generally engaging with Wikiversity users, it became apparent that some members of both the Wikiversity community at the time, and the Polytechnic's own departments, had concerns about the the way the Polytechnic was using Wikiversity compared to the direction some users wanted Wikiversity to move in. The Polytechnic was then approached by Wikieducator and it became apparent that Wikieducator would be a better place for the Polytechnic to further its interests in the use of media wikis. At this time it was also realised that the media wiki projects came with communities of practice, and to some extent those communities had something to offer the Polytechnic's staff development efforts. With its established support for educational institutions and its rapidly growing user base who work in the education sector, Wikieducator and Otago Polytechnic established a partnership in developing open educational resources and practices, and establishing Otago Polytechnic as a NZ leader in this field. Since using Wikieducator to raise local awareness of the benefits of media wikis and international communities of practice that come with projects like Wikiversity and Wikieducator, staff at the Polytechnic have started to become more informed and critically aware of the wider considerations such as political and economic issues behind the wiki projects generally. Some staff have gone on to developed text books on Wikibooks, others are more confident engaging with Wikipedia, and others see benefit in establishing their own wikis for specific tasks, the Polytechnic's Educational Development Centre is now offering several online teacher training courses through the wikis, as are several other schools and departments from other subject areas. This presentation will tell this story, taking into account some of the influences through out, and present some of the Polytechnic's directional thinking that is emerging as a result of these initial efforts. People who are interested in open educational resources, and the use of media wikis in educational settings - not only of media wikis to develop content, but engagement with international communities of practice for staff development purposes, should attend this talk.
    • Event type: Presentation
    • Language: English
    • Special requirements: Internet, computer, projector, audio recording of talk and of audience discussion.

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