A Framework for Academic Volunteers International: Dec 5-16, 2011

Does anyone have knowledge or experience of the United Nations Volunteer programme

Does anyone have knowledge or experience of the United Nations Volunteer programme

by Wayne Mackintosh -
Number of replies: 6

I was wondering whether any members of this SCoPE seminar have any prior knowledge or experience of the United Nations Volunteer (UNV) programme? 

Is there anything we can learn from the UNV programme for the design of AVI?

Should the OER Foundation consider partnering with the UNV to make use of their online volunteering service for AVI? 

Are there other organisations who could assist with coordinating volunteer services?

Would it be better for the OERu intitiative to build their own volunteer coordiniation model?

What do you think? 

In reply to Wayne Mackintosh

Re: Does anyone have knowledge or experience of the United Nations Volunteer programme

by Dick Heller -

Peoples-uni (http://peoples-uni.org) has more than 100 volunteers acting as online facilitators as well as others supporting our IT and educational infrastructure. We have used the UN Online Volunteer facility, and had a number of responses. Very few of these contacts resulted in a long-term volunteer - largely due to a mismatch between expectations. This may have been a result of a lack of clarity on our part in defining the tasks (an important point which has already been raised in this discussion), or lack of respondents with skills relevant to our needs. Our main sources of volunteers have been from word of mouth amongst professional colleagues of existing volunteers, and contacts via the web site. Best wishes. Dick

In reply to Dick Heller

Re: Does anyone have knowledge or experience of the United Nations Volunteer programme

by Wayne Mackintosh -

Thanks Dick

That's valuable feedback. Has the peoples-uni initiative done any research or analysis on the different roles of volunteers, who they are, why they volunteer and the average time they contribute to the project, for example hours per week?

 

In reply to Wayne Mackintosh

Re: Does anyone have knowledge or experience of the United Nations Volunteer programme

by Dick Heller -

Dear Wayne,

We have surveyed some Peoples-uni volunteers. We recently asked those who are practicing in Public Health in the UK about the relevance of their contributions to Peoples-uni towards their 'day job'. The majority felt that it was relevant to their own professional development, and even to their work in UK Public Health. Fewer than half had used this as part of a formal appraisal or training or CPD requirements, although more than half felt that this work had been recognised informally by colleagues or supervisors. In a separate survey, the median time spent on Peoples-uni work was 1-2 hours a week, during the time they were involved, although some spent more than 4 hours. It should be noted that we only ask tutors to take one 2-week Topic per semester, so most of the time they are not actually actively involved with students - although we maintain involvement through various discussions on a Tutors Corner on the course site. Some also mark assignments, and this does take more time. Best wishes. Dick

In reply to Dick Heller

Re: Does anyone have knowledge or experience of the United Nations Volunteer programme

by Wayne Mackintosh -

Hi Dick,

Again thanks for your willingness and openness to share experiences from the Peoples-uni volunteer network. 

It seems to me, that AVI should think about a baseline expectation of volunteer time as a realistic benchmark for the design of the system. For example:

  • Design the system so that the "average" volunteer would not need to commit more than 1 hour per week.
  • Volunteers would be able to donate more time if they like -- that's the nature of volunteering. 
  • In the OERu model -- the marking of assignments or assessment of OERu portfolios would be part of the assessment and credentialing services provided by the OERu anchor partners. This will be financed on a cost-recovery basis, where OERu learners choose their credentialing organisation and pay a service fee to the provider. This could also be funded through alternate sources like government grants for assessment only education systems. (In New Zealand, the OER Foundation will be lobbying Government to consider this alternative.)  

Its great to see that your volunteers felt that their commitment was relevant to their own professional development.  Within the context of our OERu network, we should have discussions with our anchor partners to explore opportunities for their volunteer staff to receive formal recognition in the relevant appraisal systems for this form of community service. 

Thanks again Dick.

In reply to Wayne Mackintosh

Re: Does anyone have knowledge or experience of the United Nations Volunteer programme

by Wayne Mackintosh -

The Professional Education Organization International (PEOI) has similar objectives to the OERu. They're aiming to provide post-secondary education free of charge. They have completed 6 courses and many more are under development. The wikipedia page states "about 100 courses are in preparation and about 50 are proposed."  The courses appear to be licensed under creative commons.  

PEOI not able to provide accreditation. (I've sent the Executive Director an invitation to consider opportunities for collaboration with the OERu network.) The PEOI 2005 report states they have over 700 volunteers helping. The report provides some breakdown of the demographics of the volunteer community:

Number of volunteers

Prior 2003: 10
2003:  205
2004:  453
2005:  741

Breakdown by gender of faculty

Female 62%
Male 38%

The reversed gender bias from that for students is very significant, and can't be explained.

Age

Under 20 8%
20.30 55%
30-40 22%
40-50 9%
over 50 6%
Most volunteers are in college or fresh out of college.

(The demographic is very different from the WikiEducator community where half of the registered users are over 45 years old.) 

Degrees

Not reported 15%
Bachelor 29%
Master's 22%
Doctorate 9%
Other college 25%

Anyone on the list familiar with PEOI? 

 

 

In reply to Wayne Mackintosh

Re: Does anyone have knowledge or experience of the United Nations Volunteer programme

by Ellen Marie Murphy -

I'm wondering if anyone is familiar with PEOI.  The web site states: Professional Education, Testing and Certification Organization International (or PEOI for short) was created, and is run by volunteers who believe that it is time for open post secondary education be made available to all free of charge, and that the Internet is making this possible."  http://peoi.org/