‘Our organisation consists of a core team of 7 people and a project group with representatives from all participating institutions. We have appointed a project leader, a community manager and an adviser. We come together once every six weeks. The core team establishes the broader parameters. Together with the project group, we will discuss what will be shared and what learning materials are needed’.
If you create, share and reuse open educational resources, it is absolutely essential to collaborate with other lecturers. Collaboration becomes easier in an active professional community. Use this roadmap to help you build a community around open educational resources.
Step 1. Setting up the professional community's core team
To create an active professional community, you need to look for like-minded people: people who have the same objective and want to work together to help achieve it. In this case, you would want to collaborate on a high-quality collection of OER for the subject that connects you, or collaborate on new learning materials for your shared subject.
To facilitate this, you will need to organise a core team or project team. Work together to make a plan to achieve your goal and take responsibility for it.
The need to agree
It is important that the members of the core team agree on how to achieve the community's objective: the greater the consensus, the quicker the core team can emerge. This roadmap focuses on professional communities that want to engage in an active community to share and develop open educational resources.
All this will apply whether you want to start a new community, or you want to revive or expand an existing community. Together with the already existing core team, you will then have to look at how best to organise this. One option could be to organise a committee within the existing community with a focus on open educational resources.
Who should be on the core team?
Think carefully about who you want to be in the core team with. People who take part in the core team must meet at least the following criteria:
- They are willing to put time into it or are explicitly allocated time by their educational institution.
- They see the added value of sharing knowledge and working together.
- They support the philosophy of open educational resources.
Furthermore, ensure that all key roles are represented. By putting together a broad team, you will increase the chance of support and success. The community will mainly consist of subject-matter experts, but you should also ask yourself whether you want to involve the professional field, for example, and whether students also have a role to play in the community.
Possible roles in the core team:
- Collection specialist or information specialist: library staff
- Content experts from the field
- Experts in open educational resources
Also think about how you might involve other educational institutions in the community. It may be strategically important to have representatives from multiple institutions on your core team. And perhaps you know colleagues or professional colleagues who already have experience with setting up a community or people who have strong skills in leading projects or communication? Involve them wherever possible!
What will the core team do?
A core team will lead your community just like a project team leads a project. Together you create a plan, organise activities and work to establish connections with your members. This roadmap describes the actions that will help to organise an active community.
Work professionally: make sure your plan is realistic and enjoys support. Consider it a business plan.
Walk through the roadmap
With your team, you will walk through the steps of this plan together. This is how you will lay the foundations of the community and decide how potential members will be involved. There are also various roles for members outside the core team. These are discussed in step 4. In step 2, you will start by defining the objective and target group of your professional community.
From the Good Practice Professional Community SAMEN hbo-verpleegkunde (nursing):
‘Our organisation consists of a core team of 7 people and a project group with representatives