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OERopoly: Learning about OER communities, collaboration and contexts

Teresa Connolly, Tina Wilson, Elpida Makriyannis, Anna De Liddo, Andy Lane

Last modified: 2011-04-03


The aim of this workshop is to enable participants to investigate the relationships between the three worlds of OER projects, Web 2.0 technologies and associated online learning communities through the use of mediating artifacts in a collaborative environment. Participants will play a board game called OERopoly where ‘gaming’ provides them with a grounded and enjoyable experience of “Collective Intelligence” [1, 2, 3, 4] in action.

Different types of mediating artifacts will be used to assist participants in making informed decisions and choices around game playing and, thus influence their subsequent gaming activities and sharing of intelligence. This workshop thus exposes and explores the perceived relationships (both synergies and tensions) between the three worlds indicated above.

Mediating artifacts are broadly defined “to include instruments, signs, languages, and machines” [5]. In our context they include technology and community playing cards, OER project cards, pawns, dice, instruction documents, the participants, the facilitators, and the workshop format. The collaborative activity will also be guided by work undertaken with Patterns [6].

1. Creating ideas: Acting and Playing (90 minutes) 

The OERopoly game is played to explore the relationships between the three worlds of OER projects, Web 2.0 technologies and Online Learning Communities. Game rules are explained then participants start playing. The game follows similar rules to Monopoly but with the following underlying metaphors:

  • Money = Information and Knowledge of OER
  • Streets”, Utilities and Stations = OER Projects, OER research hot topics, and Web 2.0 Technologies

Each game has a facilitator and during the game participants will be asked to answer questions on OER projects, communities and technologies and to post the answers on a diagrammatic representation showing where the three worlds converge and differ. Knowledge about these are shared amongst all participants thus raising awareness of a variety of OER projects, communities and technologies.

2. Feedback (30 minutes) 

Participants complete a short survey giving feedback. This enables them to reflect on what they have learnt whilst playing OERopoly and enables the facilitators to develop the principles for using games as a means of identifying and sharing collective intelligence.

3. Discussion (60 minutes)

A semi structured discussion follows, which revolves around the ideas of using games as mediating artifacts and the repurposing of games like OERopoly to reflect local OER circumstances. Ways of representing the relationships between OER, Web 2.0 technologies and online learning communities will also be explored. Time permitting; an additional discussion on copyright and IPR related to such games and their contents will be explored.


[1] Atlee, T., Y. Benkler, et al. (2008). Collective Intelligence: Creating a Prosperous World at Peace. Oakton, Virginia, Earth Intelligence Network

 [2] Buckingham Shum, S. (2008).’Cohere: Towards Web 2.0 Argumentation’. Proceeding of the 2008 conference on Computational Models of Argument: Proceedings of COMMA 2008. ACM, pp 97-108

 [3] Levy, P. (1997) Collective Intelligence: Mankind’s Emerging World in Cyberspace. Translated from the French under the title: L’intelligence Collective: Pour une anthropologie dy cyberspace (1995) by R. Bonomo. New York, NY: Plenum.

 [4] New Media Consortium (2008). Four to Five Years: Collective Intelligence. 2008 Horizon Report, in collaboration between The New Media Consortium and the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative: An EDUCAUSE Program. Available at: last retrieved Oct. 2009.

[5] Nardi, B.A. (1995) Studying Context: A Comparison of Activity Theory, Situated Action Models, and Distributed Cognition, chapter in Context and Consciousness: Activity Theory and 
Human-Computer Interaction, MIT Press

[6] De Liddo, A. (2010). From Open Content to Open Thinking. In G. Siemens & C. Fulford (Eds.), Proceedings of World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications 2010 (pp. 2-11). Chesapeake, VA: AACE.



OER; game based; community; collaboration; context;

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