IBWM Leipzig is one of the subcontracted partners for the external trials of the SlideWiki platform. In this interview, we feature Prof. Dr. Andreas Thor, Professor for Database Systems at IBWM Leipzig, and we exchange on his experience with the SlideWiki trials and platform, as well as the plans of his organization in terms of using OER, OCW and SlideWiki beyond the duration of the ongoing external trials.
- SlideWiki, an EU-funded project, enables the collaborative creation of free teaching and learning materials. These include, for instance, slide sets, lecture notes and course content. What is special about this platform?
First and foremost, of course, there is SlideWiki’s open approach that allows you to build open course ware and open educational resources. Users can share and recombine content, e.g., slide decks. It follows the philosophy of other open systems such as Wikipedia and the Linked Open Data Cloud. Secondly, SlideWiki is a web-based application that allows you to seamlessly link or embed web-accessible content. This fact allows for a variety of use cases that might go far beyond common slide-based presentations. In one of our trials, we have already made some initial experiences and shown that SlideWiki can be a good starting point for interactive e-learning materials.
- According to your opinion, which are the target groups that can best benefit from using the SlideWiki platform?
We think that both teachers and learners benefit from the SlideWiki approach. On the one hand, teachers can reduce the effort of creating slides by collaborating with other colleagues. In addition, SlideWiki may also improve on the quality of the slides because free access to slide decks of other people can also be a source of inspiration on how to prepare educational materials. On the other hand, learners also benefit from the collaborative approach of SlideWiki. For example, SlideWiki enables learners to annotate slides together with their peers so that they can share thoughts and explanations as well as links to other learning materials.
- How do you evaluate the importance of Open Course Ware and Open Educational Resources for all educational levels?
Open access to learning materials is important for individual students and the entire learning community. This is especially important for disadvantaged students who may not be able to afford every textbook. Science, on the other hand, shows that new knowledge is created when one can make use of existing knowledge. “Standing on the shoulders of giants” should therefore be a vital concept for all educational levels. Open course ware and open educational resources are therefore important elements of a knowledge economy.
- How does your organization plan to use the SlideWiki platform beyond the duration of the project?
IBWM coordinates and runs many courses on a variety of topics. The participants usually have very different backgrounds, both professionally and how much time they can invest. Based on our experience gained during the trials, we will thus decide for each course individually which learning materials are best suited in which formats. Of course, we look forward to seeing the SlideWiki repository continue to grow and become a reliable resource of open educational materials. We are also interested in getting to know usage scenarios of SlideWiki in other organizations. Sharing not only learning materials but also such experiences is – from our point of view — an important building block for the success of SlideWiki.