We are extremely pleased to announce that Ms. Eleni Mangina, Associate Professor and Deputy Vice Principal (International) at the College of Science of the University College Dublin has joined SlideWiki’s Advisory Board. In this interview, we discuss with Prof. Eleni Mangina her experience with the SlideWiki platform, and her plans in terms of using OER, OCW and SlideWiki beyond the duration of the SlideWiki project.
- What is your experience with OER, OCW and (open) education in your country/city?
In relation to digital repositories usage in Ireland, usage is low (at most 40%, but likely closer to 25% – based on a focus research report in 2015). Institutions utilise local institutional repositories suitable for hosting open educational resources. Barriers to sharing resources through institutional repositories are centred on concerns around intellectual property, repository functionality, time and lack of confidence/fear of criticism. While there is a definite need in the country for training in educational technologies and digital literacies, research findings suggest that such training, needs to occur in the context of a broader discussion on open education and the intersections between components, particularly those between Open Educational Practice (OEP) and Open Educational Resources (OER). 
- How do you evaluate the importance of Open Course Ware and Open Educational Resources for all educational levels?
Open Education Resources (OER) are very important at all education levels for many reasons:
- The cost of textbooks, which is rising more than most other consumer goods. Added to the rising cost of the tuition in many institutions worldwide, OER is the avenue to provide course material and release the financial burden to many students.
- OCW and OER allows faculty members to create material customised for their courses, while allowing the enhancement of the content based on the amendments from other faculty members around the world through collaboration.
- OER provides the opportunity to faculty for educational resources’ reusability from existing education material for their own courses.
- How do you deem the future of OER, OCW and open education?
OER, OCW and Open Education have been the focus for more than 15 years, but somehow they never arrive in full implementation. Faculty have not been on board with the speed that has been expected and with a good reason. A comprehensive OER component should be built into all professional development for academic staff. The professional standards could use OER as a vehicle for enhancing digital capacity and open educational practice amongst staff and students. In the context of the enhancement of teaching and learning, any OER initiative should have an OEP component. The ultimate goal is to achieve open education with faculty freely giving and taking educational resources, refining and improving them and re-sharing. There is no clear path at the moment to achieve that model, but with appropriate funding an ecosystem like SlideWiki brought into existence will promote the OER, OCW and Open Education. To achieve the ultimate goal we need to have a system built up from grassroots including OEP, platform and OER.
- What is special about the SlideWiki platform (https://slidewiki.org/)?
SlideWiki is a Web application facilitating the collaboration around educational content. The special feature of SlideWiki is that it promotes community collaboration, authoring, versioning, branching, reuse and re-purposing of educational content. SlideWiki platform has the potential to create sophisticated educational content in a collaborative way and supports multi-linguality (via semi-automatically translation of content and keeping track of changes in various multi-lingual versions of the same content object).
- In your opinion which are the target groups that can best benefit from using the SlideWiki platform?
All teachers and participating students at all levels in education can benefit from the provision of OER via SlideWiki platform. In my opinion though, SlideWiki will play a vital role in widening participation based on the OER availability, accessibility and acceptance. Widening participation addresses the large discrepancies in the take-up of education opportunities between different social groups. Under-representation, which is highly connected with broader issues of equity and social inclusion due to geographical remoteness, culture, disability, social and economic status can be a burden for many people’s educational opportunities. I believe SlideWiki platform can benefit these target groups with OER provision.
- How does your organization plan to use the SlideWiki platform in the future?
As a subcontracted institution for SlideWiki trials, we will follow the advancements and further development of SlideWiki platform. Once the platform is fully developed in a product that can be utilized as a widely used learning platform, we will inform the respective unit of our institution for consideration of adaptation within our OER provision.
- Would you like to share with us lessons learned and advice from your experience on working in the educational domain and give recommendations to learners and educators?
There is a clear rationale for promoting engagement with OER in the context of the enhancement of teaching and learning. Along with modernising education it provides professionalisation of teaching and learning by enabling Open Educational Practice (OEP) and increases digital capacity through the development of educational technology and digital literacy skills. In the context of the enhancement of teaching and learning worldwide, any OER initiative should have an OEP component. For the success of OER, OCW and Open Education a comprehensive OER component should be built into all professional development for faculty staff and teachers.
 Reference: National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, Focused Research report No. 1 2015, Learning Resources and Open Access in Higher Education Institutions in Ireland, Scholarship in Teaching and Learning funded by the National Forum: Strengthening Ireland’s evidence base for teaching and learning enhancement in higher education, https://www.teachingandlearning.ie/national-forum-focused-research-project-reports-1-5/