General discussion

White paper: 5. Crowdfunding

 
Picture of Doug Belshaw
White paper: 5. Crowdfunding
 

I've just finished the first draft of the Crowdfunding section of the MoodleNet white paper. Please do take a look at it and add your comments and feedback! This part explains the role of crowdfunding and how it is related to membership and subscription options for supporting individuals and organisations providing content, products, and services.

There three recommendations for Project MoodleNet from this section:

  • Recommendation #15: Project MoodleNet should provide a way for educators to be recognised for the contributions they make to the community, including in financial ways.
  • Recommendation #16: To avoid advertising within Project MoodleNet, members should be able to support the development of new features through membership and/or subscription options.
  • Recommendation #17: Project MoodleNet should encourage the development of OERs by educators through easy-to-use crowdfunding options.

Please do give your feedback either in this thread, or directly on the Google Doc: https://goo.gl/vwWRVD. Thanks in advance for your comments, support, and suggestions!

What's next? I'm going to revisiting the six scenarios outlined at the start of the white paper in light of the 17 recommendations made (so far!)  

Picture of Dan McGuire
Re: White paper: 5. Crowdfunding
 

I've already commented on the White Paper some of my concerns about the potential pitfalls that I see with this Crowdfunding of OER concept.

The positive options I can see with crowdfunding are in the re-vision of fully developed courses or books for specific purposes.  The most likely scenarios, I think, are: first, in translating already fully developed OER Moodle courses into a different language; and second in moving existing complete OER curricula or books that currently only exist in paper, PDF, or HTML pages into well designed Moodle courses. An example of this second scenario is the use of Siyavula's science curricula from South Africa in the elementary science curricula that I curated for the Minnesota Partnership for Collaborative Curriculum. The revision of the Siyavula PDF content was first made into Google docs that are embedded into Moodle courses. Then, these courses are being converted into fully functioning Moodle courses that use all of the collaboration, student authoring capabilities, assessment, and reporting features of Moodle.

Crowdfunding Moodle course curricula from scratch will be a heavy lift because course curriculum, to be practical for most teachers, needs to be already well developed and aligned to a broader whole. Vetting quality and that alignment will be the tricky with crowdfunding.

Picture of Doug Belshaw
Re: White paper: 5. Crowdfunding
 

Thanks Dan, I think that the proof of the pudding is always in the eating (as we say in the UK). In other words, let's test it out and see what happens! We envisage most crowdfunding being on a smaller level than whole-course creation, but that too should be an option.

Keep the comments and feedback coming, everyone! smile

Picture of Dan McGuire
Re: White paper: 5. Crowdfunding
 

Happy New Year! 

I like eating most kinds of pudding, as long they don't include animal parts.

But, I'm having a hard time envisioning how most crowdfunding will "be on a smaller level than whole-course creation." What kinds of OER do you see getting funded by crowdfunding?

The contention that there is a lack of funds to support OER is contradicted by the fact there is currently about 50 Billion Euros spent every year globally on educational content. The task at hand is to convert the content that is currently mostly being created as proprietary static text and instead creating it as OER that works smoothly in a learning management system like Moodle. It is more likely, I think, that most educational content, including future OER, will be paid for by the same people and entities that are currently spending that 50 Billion Euros every year. My hope is that more and more of that 50 billion will go to the creators of OER that work well in Moodle, and less of it will go to legacy textbook publishers. Most of that 50 Billion is spent by governments in the form of direct payment to publishers or in grants and loans to students who then pay it to the publishers.

This webinar provides a good example of this trend in action. The second half of this webinar is most pertinent to our discussion because it relates specifically to putting OER textbooks into an LMS. The example in this webinar is Canvas, but the underlying rationale is what needs to be driving MoodleNet, IMO.  MoodleNet and Moodle users deserve are larger slice of that 50 Billion Euro pie/pudding.

Picture of Doug Belshaw
Re: White paper: 5. Crowdfunding
 

Happy New Year Dan! 

I'm not sure this is an either/or? Can't we both have the investment from governments (top-down) as well as crowdfunding (bottom-up)? 

I can't prioritise watching the webinar you link to right now, but I look forward to you summarising it for us all!

Picture of Dan McGuire
Re: White paper: 5. Crowdfunding
 

 I don't think this is an either/or thing, either. I'm not opposed to crowdfunding, I just don't see how it will work.

It's not accurate to describe government funding of OER as top-down. When anyone funds OER it puts the authority into the hands of students and teachers and removes it from the proprietary textbook publisher; Funding OER relinquishing a whole lot of authority.

Why is crowdfunding a useful way to fund OER? There is plenty of money already being spent on educational content all over the world.

The webinar I linked to earlier describes how a government (the State of California) paid to have OER textbooks adapted so that they can be used in the Canvas LMS. The OER textbooks had already been created by OPenStax, a non-profit. Making those OER textbooks into Canvas courses is not a top-down action. It's an action that enables anyone with a Canvas account to use, modify, or redistribute those OER textbooks/Canvas courses. Someone could download the Canvas version and make it work nicely in Moodle.  I think it would be in best interest of Moodle Partners all over the world to chip in to make that happen. Then, those Moodle Partners can crowdfund their hosting service and their professional development services. Or, for instance, maybe the government of Indonesia wants to pay to have those OpenStax courses in Canvas translated into Bahasa Indonesia and then have all of the educational institutions in Indonesia start using Canvas. If I'm in the curriculum procurement department of the Education Ministry of Indonesia, I'd be doing some analysis about the best and most cost effective way to provide interactive, OER content for my country. I don't see how crowdfunding is going to fit into any education plan anywhere beyond maybe a few niche schools here and there in places where there is already a flow of discretionary funds, like a private school trying a new novel approach to something.

Picture of Doug Belshaw
Re: White paper: 5. Crowdfunding
 

I'm glad you're not opposed to crowdfunding, and that we agree it's not an either/or thing.

The great thing about crowdfunding is that it can scale from very small amounts for one-person projects, to huge ones where partners, organisations, and governments can get involved. 

We've noted your questions, and I'm looking forward to your feedback when we start building the functionality later this year!

Picture of Ralf Hilgenstock
Re: White paper: 5. Crowdfunding
 

Hi Dough

some issues about crowdfunding

  • copyright.  Copyright law is national law. The Gutenberg.org case with Germany shows that this is an complicate issue. They had to close access for German users due to documents that are copyright protected in Germany but free in US and other countries. 
  • Moodle services. There is  a small line between trademark protected services like course creation and translation and what can be offered for crowdfunding projects.
Ralf

Picture of Doug Belshaw
Re: White paper: 5. Crowdfunding
 

Hi Ralf, yes there are absolutely questions to answer around copyright. However, as the Creative Commons movement has shown, as well as social networks such as Thingiverse, there's huge value in user-create, openly-licensed content being shared and remixed.

As for Moodle services, we definitely need to get this right. We have an engaged, highly-valued partner network that we want to ensure keeps flourishing. There's actually no reason why partners wouldn't be the ones who actually build the resources / courses that users crowdfund. 

The crowdfunding part of Project MoodleNet is a way off. We need to ensure the other components are being well-used and solving people's problems. That being said, we're building the system with crowdfunding in mind, so you raise valuable issues.

Picture of Dan McGuire
Re: White paper: 5. Crowdfunding
 

 Moodle partners might not be the best recipients of crowdfunding. Moodle Partners might consider, though, responding to this OER proposal by the California Community College system, if not to try to regain some of the 114 CCCs that Instructure/Canvas has taken away from them, but to also avoid Canvas, D2L and Schoology from taking more of their Moodle users. The CCC OER proposal is begging to have someone make a course that does the kinds of things that Moodle does so well. Other U.S. states are in the process of drafting proposals like the California one. 

Moodle Partners could partner with each other to create robust versions of OER courses that will then provide a reason for more users to use their fee based services. I've been involved for several years with the

which has used a partnership model to create forty K12 courses in English, Math, Social Studies and Science which are being  released as OER once they are vetted by teams of teachers. If there are any Moodle Partners who want to participate in creating the robust Moodle versions of those courses, let me know. We can post those courses to Moodle.Net. We're working on 3rd grade Science and Chemistry now. Once these courses are posted to Moodle.net crowdfunding might make sense to translate those courses to other languages, but, again, it would be in the self interest of Moodle Partners who work in the other languages to just do the translations as a means of creating a better market for their fee based services.

Picture of Doug Belshaw
Re: White paper: 5. Crowdfunding
 
Lots to think about there, when we come to the crowdfunding component! Still a way off yet... smile