How do we provide credit/recognition for vols?

How do we provide credit/recognition for vols?

by simon fenton-jones -
Number of replies: 15

Wikipedia has proves successful because of the genorosity of "the crowd." But vols in education want some kind of credit which shows the kind of work and effort they provide to the openu.

How do we ensure that every (say) edit or event hosting is recorded on their account so they have a record of their endevours?

In reply to simon fenton-jones

Re: How do we provide credit/recognition for vols?

by Wayne Mackintosh -

Simon that's a good question - -thinking about meaninigul incentives and community kudos recognition.

Recording and displaying edit count is easy -- So for example, if you visit my user page, you will see my approxiate edit count in WikiEducator. 

Users can add the following syntax on their userpages (or anywhere in the wiki) to display an edit count:


This sort of measure is problembatic because:

  • It reflects editing behaviour rather than real contributions (eg users who save more frequently will have a higher count.) 
  • There are many ways to contribute to a project like WikiEducator other than editing. Eg running workshops, advocacy work, assisting with institutional policy decisions that forward OER etc.

Barnstar badges are quite popular in the Wikipedia community, but hasn't really taken off in the WikiEducator family. However, WikiEducator's Wikimaster typology -- a community based competency model where badges are displayed on user pages after demonstrating a particular level of competence. The model is scalable because WikiEducators with a higher level of competence can assess lower levels. 

The WikiEducator Ambassador idea has also attracted some interest, where some WikiEducators have listed their record of contrinutions. Which reminds me - -I will need to update my stuff ;-)

Let's keep thinking. One option is recognition of community service for OERu as part of staff appraisal. Most formal education institutions inlcude community service in staff appraisal. Doesn't count too much -- but could be a differentiator when seeking promotion. 

A few ideas to get started.




In reply to Wayne Mackintosh

Re: How do we provide credit/recognition for vols?

by Irwin DeVries -

If learners go on to gain formal credit at another institution based on competencies gained through their participation in an OER/open course having received support from a volunteer - wouldn't that be great feedback to the vol. Not sure how...but something to think about.

In reply to Irwin DeVries

Re: How do we provide credit/recognition for vols?

by Vasi Doncheva -
That is a very valid point Irwin,
We need to consider how we can integrate - incorporate OER learner feedback / rating of services offered by AVIs into the framework.

Let's keep thinking and refining the concept

In reply to Irwin DeVries

Re: How do we provide credit/recognition for vols?

by Wayne Mackintosh -
Irwin, I think thats a brilliant idea. What better kudos for an AVI volunteer than helping an OERu learner who may oherwise not have had the opportunity for formal study gaina degree. We must think of ways in which to recgnise these volunteer contributions.
In reply to Wayne Mackintosh

Re: How do we provide credit/recognition for vols?

by Valerie Peachey -

I think the answer to this question is: it depends and perhaps we should ask potential volunteers.

I say it depends because the 'age, stage, and context" of the volunteer may shift their preference for some kind of credit on their performance evaluation to simply being thanked and recognized either one on one or in a group, (large or small) for their leadership, initiative and expertise.  Or is it something in between.. minimal compensation, opportunity to be affiliated with progress organization etc.

There may not be one answer that fits all, but perhaps a little research might provide some insight when moving ahead.  

In reply to simon fenton-jones

Re: How do we provide credit/recognition for vols?

by Kathleen Zarubin -

In addition to Wayne's ideas
(& taking on board the concepts there are lots of ‘ways’ to be involved)
I'd like to suggest 2 others.

1. (some form of ..) TOKENS /
Points which can be ‘cashed in’ towards fee applicable services. For example an
‘accrediting organisation’ could offer to except X number of TOKENS / Points
towards or in exchange for their assessment services.  OR an ‘instructional designer’ etc could also
offer to accept them for part payment if an AVI wanted to use their services..


Probably not all but say Z ‘currency’ (real money) + X tokens.

I guess it is similar in concept to the ‘Linden $’ in second life or ‘Bartercard’ type systems.  At the end of day no one would actually ‘hand over’ the currency value of the token/points – but rather it is a form of ‘discount’. 

Maybe it could also be possible
for an AVI to ‘donate’ their ‘tokens’ to others in some way if they wanted to.

(L&M as an Australian RTO would be willing to participate if it was agreeable to others)


2. I mentioned this ‘thing’ previously in another discussion.  I’m not sure if this ‘exact’ thing / company is inline with the whole ethos / culture (re OPEN) … but .. I think the overall concept is ‘cute (?) .. could provide ‘feel good’ warm fuzzies ..  

One thing about this is it could be set up to acknowledge different activities / contributions and has the potential to even involve ‘learners’ (if they wanted to be involved) .. and recognise them completing a task / writing a reflection asking a question etc. This type of concept also encourages (or could encourage) others to  ‘recognise’ the contribution of other AVIs …  (maybe? ..)


The other thing to just share is this - It
is not so much a reward / recognition thingy (& again might not be ‘appropriate’
here) but it is interesting and collaborative … I’ve just ‘found it’ and have no vested interest .. just passing it on’ in case it has any value.


In reply to Kathleen Zarubin

Re: How do we provide credit/recognition for vols?

by Mary Pringle -

I really like the idea of a bartering system. Badges are okay, but not a big motivator for me. The first would be the satisfaction of helping students; next would be something of more practical use, like a skills exchange.

In reply to simon fenton-jones

Re: How do we provide credit/recognition for vols?

by Ellen Marie Murphy -
I also think that recognition is important. Student feedback is probably the best recognition someone can get, and it's usually the most accurate. A really good mentor, who spends a great deal of time assisting students, and in "listening" to their needs is invaluable. Feedback is essential in keeping all people engaged. Perhaps we can come up with a way for students to provide feedback? Maybe we could recognize various vols on the wikieducator site with a "featured academic volunteer" type of page. The page could include a list of their contributions as well as feedback--just a thought. Maybe we could have a system of levels based on the number of sections/students/hours the volunteer puts in (gold, silver, etc) although I suppose it could actually make volunteers less likely to contribute--if they could only put in a small number of hours. I think it will be important to come up with a type of recognition that the volunteers feel is valuable, as it might increase the number of volunteers and help us keep them.
In reply to Ellen Marie Murphy

Re: How do we provide credit/recognition for vols?

by Mary Pringle -

I tried to annotate Ellen Marie's posting, but I got 'undefined'.  In response to  her saying ," Perhaps we can come up with a way for students to provide feedback?" I said:

I like this idea. Providing useful feedback to online collaborators is a transferable skill, part of 21st-century job literacy. I'd like to see the student feedback process framed as a meta educational activity.

In reply to Mary Pringle

annotation error message

by Sylvia Currie -

Mary Pringle wrote,

I tried to annotate Ellen Marie's posting, but I got 'undefined'

 Thanks for the heads up about this error message, Mary! We just upgraded the site and are still finding a few issues. I'll look into this.


In reply to Ellen Marie Murphy

Re: How do we provide credit/recognition for vols?

by Joyce McKnight -

I agree that knowing what happens to students I have helped is the most rewarding part of being a mentor so that kind of feedback should be a definite.  I also like the idea of having a volunteer of the month recognition...I know I was thrilled to be a wikieducator of the month and it did help a bit in promotion as well.   Maybe we could get some formal acknowledgement that volunteering will be recognized at least by the anchor partners as "counting" toward the community mission of these institutions...especially in rapidly growing ones that have a number of untenured faculty.

In reply to simon fenton-jones

Re: How do we provide credit/recognition for vols?

by Joyce McKnight -

I had an idea last night that I would like to share:  I had a thought about a peer-to-peer model that would involve awarding pre-evaluated credit to OER-u student/participants...

We could develop a pre-evaluated free training course using ScopE (moodle) that would teach folks how to be volunteers, teach some basic listening skills, program planning techniques, how to work with OER's and how to help students maintain a record of their learning.  For evaluation such a course could require reflective papers and volunteering with a set number of students (between five and ten, maybe) who would be asked to anonymously evaluate their work,  Their reflective papers and the feedback from students could be evaluated and credit awarded to the volunteer who could then use it for PLA as part of their own OER-u materials.   If it were an Empire State College course I would probably recommend that it be offered for two advanced level undergraduate credits that could be used to meet the college's educational planning requirement.   A more intensive course could be offered for graduate level students.

What do you all think?   I often have these inspirations (I call them trial balloons) that I put up and see if anyone agrees or if there are problems with the model.   It would not solve the whole problem of rewards for volunteers but it might help us build a peer to peer network.  JMcK

In reply to Joyce McKnight

Re: How do we provide credit/recognition for vols?

by Wayne Mackintosh -

Hi Joyce,

You should devote more time to thinking about trial balloons!  I think this is a brilliant idea. It's an excellent example of a project for a Community Service Learning course where students earn real credit towards their degrees with the advantage of gaining real world experience.

So for example, Thompson Rivers University (one of our anchor partners) have service learning courses where, as far as I can see, 3rd and 4th year level students can earn credit towards the specified degree through community service. Does ESC have any Service Learning Courses? If not would this type of course fit into the individualised degree model that ESC have perfected. 

The model is quite flexible and offers a number of opportunities:

  • Any university or college which has a Service Learning course, could potentially incorporate an OERu AVI project into the curriculum. (That is both OERu anchor partners and non-OERu institutions.)  The OERu helps these institutions by providing training, a support network and a real volunteer community helping real people. 
  • The OERu network can explore including a Community Service Learning course as part of the agreed credentials we are aiming to offer, for example a course within a Bachelor of General Studies.
  • Incorporating volunteer projects as official assignments as part of any subject offered. So for example, a masters course in educational technology could have an e-moderation assignment where students are expected to work in the AVI community. The OERu network provides feedback and data to assist the host institution in assessing learner performance on the assignment.  

Lots of options here -- Lets do it.

Keep innovating Joyce! Glad you're on our team.



In reply to Wayne Mackintosh

Re: How do we provide credit/recognition for vols?

by Joyce McKnight -

We do not have courses that we designate "service learning" courses because many of our courses especially in nursing and community and human services have service learning incorporated into them as a part of the expectations.  For instance, my Community Organizing class is not designated service learning but each student initiates and supports a project in a target community of his/her choice...and is expected to actually do something to begin to bring their initiative to the model I shared with everyone would just be a course like mine...probably under Community and Human Services but maybe under Human Development or Educational Studies...students would register for it and receive credit for learning how to do the tutoring, demonstrating their understanding of the processes, and actually advising students.    We could probably develop it as an OER and give students a choice...matriculated students could take it for credit as part of their degree programs and those who are preparing an OER-based portfolio could take it in a sort of open non-credit format (like a mini-MOOC), include it in their portfolios with documentation of their learning, and present it for PLA credit once they matriculate.  I believe that ESC would have no trouble with documented PLA for this...I am not sure about the other partners..

ESC requires 4 credits of educational planning that the students usually use to plan their degree programs in a two credit course and then take one of a selection of courses focused on learning theory and skills.   I think that the course I am describing could fairly easily be developed as one of these educational studies options.   The outline gives the general flow.   Betty and I have been responsible for designing literally dozens of online courses between us...I can't speak for her, of course, but I would be pleased to work with other members of the OER-u team to design such a course.

I hope this all makes is sometimes hard to explain processes that are all integrated into our own institutional approach to things.

Bottom line...such a course could be easily made available and credit could be earned in a couple of ways.   We would just have to get it onto the development schedule and assign it to an Area Coordinator (someone like me with subject area expertise).

As you say...exciting times!   J.