Traditional teaching methods of developing academic materials have resulted in "reinventing the wheel". Therefore, there is a need to utilize the open source model to assist educators by creating a repository of materials freely available to all.
Rationale: Despite the aim of education being common enlightenment, it is not uncommon for schools in the competitive education market to hoard educational resources. Many schools have developed excellent teaching resources and methods only to “waste” them by granting exclusive access to this invaluable material. Therefore, we suggest the adaptation of the Open Source Development Model, with its hallmarks of innovation and openness, to build an open repository of academic material would promote cooperation between educators, as well as providing an economical alternative to commercial textbooks.
Overview of Project: This project places great emphasis on the sharing of materials, as well as constant updating and improving teaching materials by the various schools in Singapore so as to provide freely available academic material for use by students and teachers. In order to achieve the objective, I studied the current practices of the Open Source Model. Also, I investigated how Open Source managed to involve various users in the development of computer code and how I can propose to adapt these practices to the education community.
Proposed Plan: To meet the needs of the Education Community, it is proposed that a central repository be set up, to serve as an official platform for public cooperation to develop free (“free” as in free speech, not free beer) material. It is recommended that the repository be based online.
Organizational Structure: Ideally, the repository would be under the stewardship of the Ministry of Education (MOE). To ensure the smooth running of the repository, a dedicated permanent team should be set up. The proposed organizational structure is as follows:
Active Users: This group of people makes up the bulk of the contributors. They are members of the public not affiliated officially to the project. Regardless of their educational background, they are all qualified to make relevant contributions to the repository.
Permanent Editors: They are qualified teachers employed by the MOE. They are responsible for going through public contributions to the repository. Upon receiving public contributions, they evaluate suitability of the contributions for inclusion in the repository. Additionally, they are in charge of maintaining the repository, making suitable amendments to ensure the information stays relevant and rectify errors identified by users.
Project Leader: The Project Leader is a dedicated member of the Permanent Editors. While the Permanent Editors may be regular teachers and only work part time on the repository, the Project Leader’s sole responsibility is to oversee the running of the repository. The Project Leader’s approval must be obtained for large overhauls to any section of the repository. Additionally, the Project Leader, having the fullest view of the state of the repository may call to attention any parts of the repository that need more development.
2. Project Needs: I encouraged qualified teachers and A level students to join in to develop this online repository so that the entire Singapore education community can benefit from these resources and thus, improve the quality of Singapore's education. Finally, it aims to replace the current blackboard system that requires a login password and username.
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