Grants/Arabic Open Educational Resources (OER) Platform

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Arabic Open Educational Resources (OER) Platform

Applicants: Jordan Open Source Association
Affiliation: Jordan Open Source Association
CC affiliated? No
Contact: Issa Mahasneh
Coordinator: Issa Mahasneh
Project Start: 2010/09/15
Project End: 2011/06/01
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Describe the project you are proposing as clearly as possible in just five sentences.

Arabic countries lack of an organized repository for open education resources that allows interoperability between educational organizations and focuses on open access and open content for instructors and students. The project tends to solve the problem by building a fully functional online educational system that provides free sharing of educational resources. It will also encourage the creation of Arabic learning materials by instructors, the re-use and the remix of these. On- the-ground implementation of the system will be initiated in different educational institutions in Jordan.

Detail the tangible project output (e.g., paper, blog post, written materials, video/film, etc.; this would be in addition to the final written report that successful grant recipients will be expected to deliver to CC at the conclusion of the project).

The project will consist of a web platform which allows uploading and downloading different learning materials. Users will be able to use and share videos, audio lessons, animated learning materials, documents and presentations. The platform will be fully localized for Arabic audience and will tend to cover different curricula for K-12 and undergraduate students. The project will also take into consideration the promotion of Arabic Open Content in se by producing a community of contributors and users, a vast repository of free learning materials and a set of organizations that will adopt and support Open Access in the Arab World.

Describe the community you are targeting. How would the project benefit the community?

Our targeted community consists of K-12, undergraduate students, school teachers and university instructors. Educational systems in Arab World still adopt traditional tools and means for communicating knowledge and sharing materials in classrooms. The project will give the opportunity to students to have access for innovative and high quality resources from different institutions and to the instructors to reuse materials and gain more advanced technical and pedagogical />

What is your relationship with the community you are targeting? Why are you the best individual/organization to lead this project? Do you have prior experience in related projects?

Jordan Open Source Association (JOSA) is deeply rooted in Jordanian educational organizations. JOSA consists of several student chapters in universities distributed across Jordan. Several initiatives have been already started by JOSA in Jordanian schools including “Firefox Education” and “Linux in Schools”, in addition to a long history of training sessions, lectures and classes organized in collaboration with Jordanian institutions. JOSA is the only Jordanian organization that promotes Open Content and Open Access in Jordan. On the Arab level, JOSA is already linked with the Arab educational community and plans for future collaboration with other institutes.

How will you measure and evaluate your project’s impact - on your main participants? Other contributors? On the larger community?

Impact will be measured by the number of benefiters, students and instructors, number of institutions involved, number of content contributors and size, originality and diversity of contributed content. Number of registered users in the platform, average frequency of use and geographical coverage will be taken into consideration.

How many participants do you expect to be involved in your project? How will you seek and sustain their involvement?

19 participants are organized into several teams as follows: Software development and system administration (4), project coordination and community relations (3), delegates of educational institutes (12). After the launch, the number of participants will increase consistently to include instructors and students who use the platform. The participants are involved in the project on a strong volunteering basis. Different organizations showed interest in the project and they are willing to provide human resources to participate in the project.

Describe how your project will benefit Creative Commons' mission to increase the amount of creativity (cultural, educational, and scientific content) in "the commons".

The platform represents a repository for creative commons licensed learning materials that will consist of cultural, scientific and educational content, not to mention that it will significantly increase the semi-inexistent Arabic content in the “commons”.

Describe what technologies and tools your project will use. What kinds of technical skills and expertise do you bring to the project? What are your technical needs?

For this project only free and open source technologies will be used. The web platform will be implemented using content management systems or LCMSs (e.g. Drupal or moodle). The project needs fully-localized interfaces and data processing, easy translation tools, an Arabic clean implementation of SCORM technical standards and other “E-Learning 2.0” requirements.

What challenges do you expect to face, and how do you plan to overcome them?

Educational organizations may reject the project or oppose change in their current methodologies, in addition to the lack of knowledge in “sharing culture” among Arab academics and teachers. The project will start within organizations that already showed interest in Open Content, our sessions will help other organizations to adopt the platform, will show the socio-economic benefits of Open Access and will provide solutions to the obstacles that some organizations may face. In order to encourage more adoption, the platform will be easy-to-use, fully-localized for Arabic audience and with consistent support provided by JOSA.

How do you plan to sustain your project after the Creative Commons funding has ended? Detail specific plans. How do you plan to raise revenue to continue your efforts in the future?

The project aims to be self-sustainable and to run with limited resources. In the long term the project can be sustained by: 1- Sponsorship/Endowment. Other organizations can sponsor the project. Funds can also be raised from charitable or philanthropic institutions that are interested in culture and education. 2- Institutional Membership. We expect the educational institutes that adopts our platform will participate and provide running costs of the project. 3- Government Support. For the pilot phase, a number of Jordanian institutions have already expressed their interest for JOSA's projects, namely Jordan Education Initiative (JEI) and Queen Rania Al Abdullah Center For Educational Technology. JOSA will seek for more support from government entities in the Arab World.

How can this project be scalable, or have a scalable impact?

The project is highly scalable. In the pilot phase, it will be implemented in a set of educational organizations in Jordan, but the platform can be easily scaled up to include additional organizations and additional content. The web platform is developed to host additional functionalities in the future.

What resources and support do you expect Creative Commons to provide to your project to ensure its success (if any)?

Additional support from Creative Commons is well accepted in these fields: a) Publicity, promotion and marketing on different channels. b) Expertise in previous works and projects in the field of education. c) Help from Creative Commons to individuate institutions and academics interested in Open Content and Open Access in Arab World.

Describe how your organization currently communicates with its community members and network partners. (100 words)

The Jordan Open Source Association communicates with members using social media (Facebook group, Facebook page and Twitter/Identica), mailing lists, emails, phone calls and offline meetings and events.