Contributions, not contracts
The OpenETC is a community of educators, technologists, and designers sharing their expertise to foster and support open infrastructure for the BC post-secondary sector. No contracts or agreements are required to join us, just a willingness and ability to actively participate in our collective endeavor to:
- encourage technological autonomy and provide ways for students, faculty and institutions to own and control their own data.
- lower the barrier to participation on the open web for BC faculty and students.
- provide a more sustainable ed tech infrastructure to BC higher education that gives institutions more control over their tools. Institutions are currently at the mercy of vendor pricing, upgrade cycles, and exit strategies. This puts institutions at a certain degree of risk when there are changes to any of the variables beyond their control. Open-source approaches reduce the risk to institutions in this regard.
- assist BC faculty in evaluating and making informed pedagogical decisions around open-source teaching and learning applications.
Sharing infrastructure along with content
“open education is not limited to just open educational resources. It also draws upon open technologies that facilitate collaborative, flexible learning and the open sharing of teaching practices that empower educators to benefit from the best ideas of their colleagues.” ~ Cape Town Open Education Declaration, 2007
Open-source educational technologies are not often considered as viable institutional options in highered as advocates face challenges competing with commercial vendors responding to standard IT procurement practices. RFP processes typically favour commercial applications and limit open-source involvement in the educational technology space at most institutions. Open-source software relies on the development of communities of both developers and users in order to be successful. The success comes from sharing knowledge about how the software is constructed and can be utilized. The OpenETC pools expertise and resources to support shared infrastructure. We promote inter-institutional collaboration and provide shared open-source platforms enabling co-creation and sharing of open educational resources and approaches to open pedagogy.
Incubating a Coop
“The most valuable networks, however, are those that facilitate group affiliations to pursue shared goals—which is to say, networks that are treated like commons … First, platforms are us: Platforms aren’t just software applications and the companies that administer them. What gives a platform value, in most cases, is the community of users that employ the platform, along with the networks, data, and ideas they create. In other words, what makes platforms so valuable is what we put into them. Second, platforms don’t need to be treated as commodities.” ~ Ours To Hack And To Own
The OpenETC aspires to the goals of platform cooperativism. As we grow, we intend to further articulate our community to adopt modes of participation and support found within platform cooperatives. Platform co-ops are online services collectively owned and governed by the people who depend on and participate in them. That includes those who deliver the underlying service by contributing labor, time, skills, and/or assets. Where most platforms extract value and distribute it to shareholding owners who seek a return on their investment, platform co-ops distribute ownership and management to its participants — those working for the platform or those using the service.