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Greg McVerry

Balancing the Journey from Outsider to In When Recentering #OER #OER19

4 min read

As the Global Open Initiative Foundation begin our efforts to create an network in Ghana have taken off with lightning speed.

As an outsider invited into the group to join the advisory board I often fall to my worries that I am pushing my perspective and goals tool much. Doing the exact opposite of de-colonizing OER.

I want to listen and advise the decision makers not be a space taker.

At the same time many of the decisions and set up had to be fast. This was spring break for students and I had the opportunity to focus on the project.

There are also bandwidth constraints that made it more feasible for me to launch a website for everyone on our Reclaim Hosting account. 

You can have all the right reasons for good intentions and still have bad outcomes. I worry about this, and here some steps we took.

Listen and Listen

I met the group through Sadik and the Virtually Connecting. We may have looked like we rolled out fast this weekend but in reality, we planned this pathway for a long time. Sadik and I brainstormed long into the nights (time zones stink) on a best approach.

Every time I feel a worry that I am becoming the dominant voice I need to sit back and remember to listen.

Take Advantage of Existing Knowledge

The group existed before I joined and have done amazing projects with Wikipedia. This includes documenting corruption in Ghana and editing art history with a feminist lens.

To honor this work we decided to use a wikimedia install as our knowledge base.

Connect to Larger Networks

Another strategy to one person does not become the voice is to simply invite more voices. is about people and pedagogy. Creating the spaces for it to thrive requires strong local networks loosely combined.

At GOIF we have started to grow these connections. Members are encouraged to get involved with other groups. Currently, we have representation with Mozilla, Creative Commons, and the movement.

In fact this Wednesday Global Open Initiative Foundation will host the first Homebrew Website Club in Ghana and the first on the African continent. 

Our members have sought and received travel assistance to get to the Creative Commons Global Summit (flights still needed donate now). 

By connecting to more networks we hope to diversify the leadership opportunities to our members. In turn our members bring the skills home while giving back to others.

Over time we hope members new and old start to take a greater role in shaping Global Open Initiative Foundation.

Using Sustainable Tech

We also tried to choose technology to support the network that doesn't rely on any point of failure, while individual hosting would be better economic realities have us providing server space to members on our shared host.

We wanted:

  • Agnostic Platform
  • Data Ownership
  • FOSS

We chose Known as the online glue to hold the network together. Members will rely on a platform committed to open standards and APIs. 

We can take advantage of cool things like webmentions and other Indieweb tools but more importantly, the tech is sustainable because we focus on the space.

Giving people across the globe a place to live online has to happen before we worry about licensing or archiving. Shape yourself in the open as you learn to shape the world.

For us at the Global Open Initiative Foundation that is the only pathway to ensure voices like mine do not crowd out the future. 

CLMOOC

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