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

Who are our potential AVIs, how can we attract them and reword them them?

Who are our potential AVIs, how can we attract them and reword them them?

by Vasi Doncheva -
Number of replies: 11

Hi everyone,
here is a new thread to focus the discussion around who are our potential pool of AVIs, how can we attract/ recruit them and reward them for their service.

So far here are the suggested potential AVIs:
OERu founding anchor partners identified a number of potential sources of volunteer support for the model including for example:
    •    Retired academics who could be recruited using an "honour referral" approach (referral);
    •    Existing academics where community service recognition is integrated into the staff appraisal systems of OERu anchor partners and other formal education institutions for support provided through Academic Volunteers International (Empire State College was cited as an example which already recognize work on OERu as recognised community service contributions);
    •    Students who participate in community service learning courses where course credit is provided for OERu service hours.
    •    Students studying education could be required to provide e-moderation services as part of their official course assignment(s) for credit within existing education courses.
    •    OERu senior students could qualify for rebates or discounts on assessment and credential services from OERu anchor partners in return for providing support through Academic Volunteers International.
    •    Professional bodies could consider Academic Volunteers International as an option for retaining membership.
    •    Corporate citizenship models could be designed for businesses to donate staff time to Academic Volunteers International.
    •    Existing open communities who work in the open education and other related areas.
    •   Government employees who have been tasked to develop policy using a participatory approach.i.e. develop their e-moderation skills. - Simon
    •   National or international funding bodies who are tasked with coordinating international activities. - Simon

Any other suggestions from the SCoPe community to add to the list?

How do we attract / recruit them?
- advertise on the forums and lists that serve open education communities...wikieducator, connexions, opencollegetextbooks, wikipedia?, etc. (create a list of these communities) -Alison
- advertisement to communicate clerly what is expected from the AVIs ( different roles - areas of support)," joining" process...accounts, available/required training, etc- Alison How can we reword them?

What is the 'type (s) of recognition that the volunteers feel is valuable and might help increase the number of volunteers and help us keep them? (as Ellen has pointed out).


Suggestions so far:

- some kind of credit which shows the kind of work and effort they provide to the OERu - Simon
- meaningful incentives and community kudos recognition, number of contributions, budges besed on WikiEducator's Wikimaster typology -- a community based competency model where badges are displayed on user pages after demonstrating a particular level of competence - Wayne
- OER learner feedback / rating of services offered by AVIs into the framework - Irwin, Vasi, Simon, Wayne, Ellen
- a volunteer of the month recognition - Joyce
- 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 - Kathleen
- something of more practical use, like a skills exchange -Mary
- ‘feel good’ warm fuzzies .. http://www.wooboard.com/  acknowledge different activities / contributions - Kathleen

- the facility to issue formal experience or performance certificates to the AVIs - Anil, Simon (build into the self governing structure of the AVI framework / community)

Looking forward to you suggestios and contributions

 

Vasi and Wayne

In reply to Vasi Doncheva

Re: Who are our potential AVIs, how can we attract them and reword them them?

by Alison Snieckus -

Sorry for being late to this seminar--I got busy earlier in the week and then had to catch up. It was wonderful reading everyone's ideas! I look forward to seeing how this all comes together.

I have no further suggestions for potential sources for AVIs.

As for ideas for rewarding service to OERu, I think someone already suggested that a cohesive system of rewards will be needed which draws on many of these ideas, such that a volunteer could opt in for some of the features. For some volunteers, an occassional, unsolicited thank you will be enough, others may value and request more tangible or practical recognition. 

As for how to attract/recruit volunteers, I would definitely look to advertise on the forums and lists that serve open education communities...wikieducator, connexions, opencollegetextbooks, wikipedia?, etc. I think it would be useful to create a list of these communities.

I would suggest that the advertisement include reference to clear "job" descriptions (as others have suggested), but also a more open invitation to a community which has opportuntity for a say in the overall processes and decision-making. Also, the advertisement (or referral page) should be very clear about the "joining" process...accounts, available/required training, etc.

Just some thoughts to add in to the mix, Alison

In reply to Alison Snieckus

Re: Who are our potential AVIs, how can we attract them and reword them them?

by Vasi Doncheva -
Thanks Alison,
Very timely contribution. Have added your suggestions about recruitment to the summary above.

Vasi
In reply to Vasi Doncheva

Re: Who are our potential AVIs, how can we attract them and reword them them?

by simon fenton-jones -

I hope this isn't too left field.

Government employees who have been tasked to develop policy using a participatory approach.i.e. develop their e-moderation skills.

(National) Network engineers who have been tasked with supporting the general (communications) requirements of cross border and/or global groups.

National funding bodies who are tasked with coordinating international activities.

Institutionalists who have no experience of an open and transparent online culture.

Attracting Vols

I'm with wayne and alison on the "competency model where badges/no. of edits, etc are displayed on user pages". And the clear roles/job(s) descriptions. Orientation is the hardest thing to do well, in my experience.

I don't mean to bang on, but so far as co-designing, the thing which would capture many of the communities I talk to, is choosing the (intuitive/easy-to use) tools which allow them to do a job AND they can use to be sociable. Here's an idea of what a landing page from the ads/outreach might look like. (This is just one idea from the dutch NREN guys. Videos are always useful)

I can't see that it will be very hard to attract vols, especially with OERu members open, inclusive and patient culture. One hard part is making newbies feel at home. i.e. watch what is going on (that planning meeting was great) & play a bit before/when they get down to work. Keeping them is the hardest bit. But that's another discussion.

I'll also mention "page view count", a la youtube. That's always encouraging.

In reply to simon fenton-jones

Re: Who are our potential AVIs, how can we attract them and reword them them?

by Vasi Doncheva -

Thanks Simon,

All suggestions from left, right and center are welcome :-) 

I have moved some of yours to the initial list / summary. Not too sure what you mean by 'Institutionalists who have no experience of an open and transparent online culture' and how they will be adding value and where their experience and support could help the OER learners.

We do hope that it will not be too difficult to attract/ recruit AVIs from the OER community ( some of the participants in this seminar I hope will volunteer ;-) ) but you are right that we need to find meaningful rewards and benefits to keep them. This seminar has already generated some good ideas and suggetions but more will only help us to do a better job. So keep the ideas flowing.

Vasi

 

In reply to Vasi Doncheva

Re: Who are our potential AVIs, how can we attract them and reword them them?

by simon fenton-jones -

Thanks Vasi,

Sorry about the "Institutionalists...."  I do tend to generalize to the point of irrelevancy. All I mean is that the OERu, by being open and transparent in decision making, does tend to break down the (cultural) walls that most people inside a institution must endure every day. This is as much for government departments as educational ones.

I'm also thinking all the time about how some of the suggestions, like Anil has just made, can be implemented. And how, when a group get together F2F, like the planning meeting, we can provide a system which is easy to use and can take feedback from viewers on a forum like this. It's called "the public sphere" in Australia gov departments. A bunch of bureaucrats at the EU are trying to figure out the best way to do it as well =potential vols.

It's not the time, but I'd be interested in David Porter's perspective on the "federated services" he's put in place for the bccampus, and whether by having log in/registration page for potential vols for the wikieducator domain (as I've illustrated above) it might enable some of the things Anil's suggested.

Maybe I should mention "collaborating with National network engineers" as another way to attract vols. This will give you some idea of how they are thinking, and how they, like OERers everwhere, are attempting to break out of their comfort zones, and share.

Thanks Anil. It's going to be interesting is seeing whether "OERu central coordination or OERten individual institutions" issue the credentials. Logically (in my mind) they will be attached to a user's page/account. We'll get around to how it may be done after we've agree on what should be done. All the best.

In reply to simon fenton-jones

Re: Who are our potential AVIs, how can we attract them and reword them them?

by Vasi Doncheva -

Thanks for the clarification Simon,

We all tend to generalize every now and then but some times our frames of reference are different so I just wanted to make sure I understand your point :-).

Thanks for sharing the resource on Media distribution services: Identifying user needs and common goals from the NORDUnet framework - very useful and will help us furtherer refine our thinking about the AVI framework.

I agree that the ‘facility to issue formal experience or performance certificates to the AVIs ‘ ( as suggested by Anil) is a great way to recognize and reward contributions. At this stage we will be looking at that being build into the self governing structure of the AVI framework / community rather than being issued by an individual OERu partner / institution. We need to define what the certificates will represent and at what level and kind of contributions they will be awarded so OERu partners can accept them as part of performance appraisals for staff or as rebates for assessment or credentialing services for OERu learners.

all great ideas

Vasi

In reply to Vasi Doncheva

Re: Who are our potential AVIs, how can we attract them and reword them them?

by simon fenton-jones -

Thanks Vasi,

Just to make clear why I pointed out the Nordunet video. These guys run the network 4 Scandanvian countries, so they aim to do much like bccampus are doing on a regional Canadian basis. I'm just using them as an example of the discussions going on in ALL the Regional/National network providers at the moment. i.e. looking to support "cross border" groups. OERU is very important as these guys don't have a global group like OERu who are just interested in "common services" like this moodle, a wiki and so on. Usually they just talk to individual institutions in their home country, which is why we have so many different approaches/tools.

The one discussion I'm having with them is about "aggregation"; something which is new to them; being engineers content is of little interest. The Wikieducator domain/wiki is one example of aggregating. This scope seminar is another. The aim for any aggregator is putting the tools in the same domain so we implement the kind of self governing structure that you mention. Also helps retain long term records.

I'll also mention this tool. It may be useful as it seems to be more intuitive than the approach of adding to a wiki (usually by the moderator). It's proved pretty successful (more people are attracted and used it) in the inquiries I've been involved in.

Just a few basic ideas about credentials. With a wiki it would be number of entries and/or completed articles. With a seminar like this it would be time allocated and community/attendee vote; maybe a multiple choice as most conferences ask for these days. Obviously the easiest way to make things self-governing is to apply units to each (well defined) task so they can total easily. Certificates awarded when certain totals are reached.

Merry Christmas to you and all.

In reply to simon fenton-jones

Re: Who are our potential AVIs, how can we attract them and reword them them?

by Vasi Doncheva -
Thank you for pointing us to useful resources and tools Simon,
once we get the prototype underway next year we will start looking into that too.

Good suggestions to use page edits for the wiki and community engagement for the discussions as well as OERu Learners votes as bases for issuing the badges or certificates.

Thanks again for your time and help with plaing the AVIs framework.
Merry Chrsitmas to you and your family

Vasi
In reply to Vasi Doncheva

Re: Who are our potential AVIs, how can we attract them and reword them them?

by Anil Prasad P -

Dear All,

In addition to the rewarding/recognition methods like badges etc, I would also like to suggest that there should be a facility to issue formal experience or performance certificates to the AVIs.  For this to work, there should be a central , and of course, online coordination system for the AVIs. This system should

  • keep verified list and profile of AVIs
  • facility to announce AVI requirements
  • facility for learners to request guidance from the AVI of their choice
  • facility to capture which AVI is the principal mentor of a learner
  •  record the voluntary activities and time spent on such activities.
  • collect feedback from learners and participating institutions in the OERten on the performance of AVIs. 
  • and more....

Based on the above, the OERu central coordination or OERten individual institutions may issue experience or performance certificate (a uniform format of the same should be decided by OERu) on request from the AVIs, which they can use for seeking career prospects.

Warm regards

Anil

In reply to Anil Prasad P

Re: Who are our potential AVIs, how can we attract them and reword them them?

by Vasi Doncheva -

Great great suggestion Anil have added it to the list.

As I have responded to Simon at this stage we will be looking at that facility being build into the self governing structure of the AVI community rather than being issued by an individual OERu partner / institution.

We still need to define what the certificates will represent and at what level and kind of contributions they will be awarded so OERu partners can accept them as part of performance appraisals for staff or as rebates for assessment or credentialing services for OERu learners.  

I suspect some AVIs may be happy with informal recognition " a badge' while otheres my prefer /need a formal one 'certificate'.

There may be a way to link the badges system with the more formal certificates ...Would that be a usful?

Vasi

In reply to Vasi Doncheva

Re: Who are our potential AVIs, how can we attract them and reword them them?

by simon fenton-jones -

Hi Vasi,

Just one more suggestion about attracting vols.

This is from the WikiMedia Foundation's (WMF) strategy process. You can see it mentions two types of groups. OERers, I think, are the first kind of group; "there are groups who may want to register and operate on a formal basis, but whose interest is to promote not all of the Wikimedia projects but a certain language, culture or subject matter". I call them "disciplinary centric".

You might have seen the obvious suggestion that if someone is reading an article on one of the WMF projects, there would be a link on the page ot a place where one could have a discussion with the group, or even another site where qualifies people coud get together to improve/rewrite an article. (there has been one discussion about "it was so poor an article, i didn't know here to start, except from the scratch".)

So there there are a couple of approaches. Firstly, work with the WMF to answer these two questions. "Can we propose an horizontal relationship between chapters and partner organizations when these have a smaller area of interest and do not operate on the same basis? If we indeed have an asymmetrical relationship, how will we define it?"

The other one, which is one that seems to go the heart of the problem, is addressing the classification of groups, where every organisation/institution goes through this discussion about "external vs. internal". It's a problem that when an organisation puts up a domain which then points to "their groups" it immediatedly creates this barrier to others doing much the same thing. So encouraging them to share (a) domain(s) whose applications are shared by "their groups", and pointed to by each institutional domain, appears  to be the only way by which they might aggregate their content.

You'd understand that my terms of reference in this inquiry don't use the word "attract". The word I use is "aggregate" or "coalesce". Does this mean we're rewording one another:)? A safe and happy Xmas to all.