If you are thinking about going to an open content authoring day, here are some tips to help you get the most from the day:
- Identify what you want to get from the day ahead of time. The authoring events are a mix of community work days and a maker space, and knowing what you want to do with your time will help you make the most of the day.
- If your goals for the day include working on a specific project, try and make progress on your working outline and your initial research before the event. This way, during the event, you can work with other participants on structure, editing, and other elements of the project where you will benefit from outside review.
- If your goals for the day don't include working on a specific project, that's fine - one of the other ways that you can participate in an open content authoring day is by helping to clean up existing open content that has been released in clumsy formats (pdfs, word docs, powerpoint, etc).
- If your goal for the day is to learn more about open content, that's fine as well - most events will have an intro session on open content, but then you will get the chance to learn by doing. The open content authoring days have more in common with Project-based Learning or Maker events than with traditional lecture.
- Identify potential partners - if you think that someone else might be working on a similar concept (or might be interested in working on a similar concept) ask them. If you can assemble a working group prior to the event, you will be better prepared to make the most of in-person meeting of the open content event.
Based on feedback we have gotten from other open content events we have run, we put together a series of posts to help provide background information for people authoring open content. This documentation works equally well for people looking to author open content on their own, with a small group in their school or organization, or for people attending open content authoring days.
- A General Guide for Creating Open Content; and a shorter version
- Using Advanced Search To Find Open Content;
- Licensing, Attribution, and Reuse;
- Resolving License Conflicts When Authoring Open Content
- Background Information On Open Content
But really, the short version of this post is that if you are coming to an open content authoring day, that's awesome. Talk about it. Talk about the work you want to do there. During the day, start the planning for the next one. Identify people you might want to work with to collaborate on a year long project where you each save ten of your best ideas, and then, over the summer, get together to refine that group of great ideas into the best open educational resource ever. The open content days are group work days, but as educators, every day is a work day. Using the ethos of open content, infused with the learn while doing of Project Based Learning, flavored with some of the inventiveness and freedom to experiment that comes from Maker spaces, let's see what we can build.