Our aim is to cultivate a community of contributors who use, improve & create shared educational resources for the UK voluntary sector. The successes of Wikipedia and open-source software communities (e.g. Linux, Mozilla, Firefox) in which volunteer contributors develop resources in a public, collaborative manner demonstrate how this can be achieved.
Our current plan comprises four stages:
- Plan this community (mission, objectives, skills required);
- Provide an online infrastructure including tools for communication & curriculum development;
- Design our processes (strategy & governance);
- Invite contributors to join in.
At the moment, we’re working on stages 1 and 2. During December my colleague Lois has surveyed the use of existing online trustee development materials and has been exploring possible website design. I have been responding to a range of interesting comments on the project, and investigating what OU course materials we might offer as raw material for contributors.
We are also paying attention to sustainability. Too many progressive collaborations end when their initial funding runs out, so we aim to develop principles and processes that improve long-term sustainability, building upon Communities of Practice and open-source software models. The recent publication of a National Skills Framework for the voluntary sector by Skills Third Sector suggests that we are part of a movement with similar views.