Building Open Educational Resources from the Ground Up: South Africa's Free High School Science Texts

by Cynthia Jimes; Thad Nodine; Lisa Petrides

Oct 1, 2007
This paper presents a case study of the development of the South African project Free High School Science Texts (FHSST), an initiative to develop a free high school science text for all teachers and learners in South Africa. The goals of the case study were two-fold: to examine and analyze the practices associated with the successes and challenges encountered by FHSST; and to encourage a participatory, analytical process that will assist other open education projects in thinking about and sharing their practices, processes, and strategies. Beyond its implications for South African education, the FHSST project can serve as a model for peer production of open content, offering insights into planning and decision making around 1) recruiting volunteers; 2) sustaining their participation; 3) using technology to create effective workflow; 4) conducting hackathons; and 5) facilitating teacher trials. Findings from this study offers insights into overall approaches and goals that may prove instrumental across open education projects, serving as a reference for development of assessment tools and resources that may assist open education projects in tracking, sharing, and advancing their learnings and success.
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