The LinkedUp Description of Work describes the ‘LinkedUp Handbook on Open Data in
Education’ as a “resource for both educators and Web data providers as well as adopters….The Linked Up Handbook will be created as a living document to reflect project learnings and findings, which will help others, both during the project and beyond it“.
To fulfill this brief the handbook has evolved to consider the broader scope of open education resulting in it being renamed as ‘the Open Education Handbook‘. It is a collaboratively written living web document targeting educational practitioners and the education community at large and has been developed through a series of offline and online events. During its evolution the handbook has received contributions from organisations and individuals that span sectors and countries. The writing of the handbook has been very much embedded within the Open Education Working Group and will continue to remain an important part of working group work.
History of the handbook
The content of the Handbook has been crowd-sourced and drafted over a series of online and offline events. The initial booksprint was held in London on 3rd September 2013 and the handbook was formed in three Google docs. In late 2013 the handbook was moved from Google Docs to Booktype, an open source platform for writing and publishing print and digital books developed by SourceFabric. It has continued to be written in Booktype and the software has been found to be a suitable platform in which to house a collaboratively written handbook. A second booksprint took place in Berlin on Friday 22nd November 2013 and was organised in collaboration with Wikimedia Deutschland. During this event the handbook was ‘chunked up’ into a number of question areas and discussion took place over the direction of the handbook. On January 20th, as an activity for Education Freedom Day, the Open Education Handbook was translated and adapted into Portuguese. This process highlighted some interesting possibilities and challenges for the handbook such as the requirements of a global audience.
Throughout 2014 the handbook has been further developed through a series of Friday Chats that have taken place on the Open Education Working Group mailing list. These discussions have provided the handbook with well-thought out objective content that is not available elsewhere on the web. In late September 2014 in preparation for the delivery of the ‘final version’ of the handbook an external editor (Rob Farrow of the Open University) was employed to proof read the handbook. The editor was asked to look at areas including overall structure, typos and poor writing, universal style, fact checking, citations and links, glossary and definitions.
The handbook is now a comprehensive and intelligent overview of the current situation with regard to Open Education and Open Education data. However to realise its full potential such a resource needs to be allowed to continue to evolve and be built upon. As explained previously, the writing of the handbook has been very much embedded within the Open Education Working Group throughout the LinkedUp Project lifecycle, and it is here that it will continue to stay until a more appropriate place is found. Discussions have already taken place around the future of the handbook and possible ideas include moving it to Wiki books, embedding it within Wikipedia and building a front-end for it to use with Booktype. It is hoped that these ideas can be developed further in discussion with the community.