Thoughts before contributing to WikiEducator (a #ds4oer activity)

As I enter Session 2 Developing Wiki Skills in Digital Skills for OER, I find I am still exploring my understanding of how to licence for OER. But it looks like everyone, even the inventor of the Wiki, Ward Cunningham, passes through a period of learning to licence for open 🙂

As I sat down last night to work on the #ds4oer course, I found the introductory content a good refresher for reasons for a wiki and some of the challenges.  I have contributed to several personal and local wikis, one for a running group,a PD for technologies workshop, the Madlat conference, and the English Online wiki. Involvement in these wikis have been relatively easy and low risk, I knew the contributors so mistakes would be forgiven.

In 2013, I was a peripheral participant in the Distributed Open Collaborative Course (DOCC)  run by FemTechNet (new site). I continue to be enriched by the discussions and curated articles provided openly by the FemTechNet scholars. I especially appreciate the design of the distributed input and subsequent tangents of the course.  DOCC13 introduced me to the idea that I could contribute to Wikipedia, with an activity titled Wiki-storming. I felt empowered to learn skills to add to THE wiki. However, my anxiety of making a mistake on this global platform, my limited time, and uncertainty of what I could contribute prevented engagement. At the same time the FemTechNet organizers were responding to negative media for the Wiki-storming activity. I was (am) shocked at the backlash against this community whose values I respect; a reality check that I didn’t fully understand what I was jumping into.

Now two years later, (this two year time period seems to be a theme for putting my learning into action see last post), I embark on contributions to WikiEducator.  A community I am naturally drawn to because of their passionate attitude to learning and sharing (see values). However, I understand that my participatory engagement and technology choices are not neutral; have I dug deep enough to understand the implications of membership? I wonder are there ‘wiki politics’ that I am not aware or what are the unwritten rules of this wiki-culture?  Perhaps more importantly what are the risks to those I need to protect, learners, colleagues, board and funders? I feel self-indulgent talking about ‘risk’ when examining OER contribution. I sense from the broader OER community a greater call for community good. Put into perspective, making my relative ‘risk’ a drop in the ocean 🙂 Nonetheless, I will continue to question the journey, and understand that others are just coming to the OER discussion.

WikiEducator community, catch me.

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