Session 5 — Recruiting and Managing Contributors

@feb20-cohort, I hope you are all doing okay. It’s time for our next session tomorrow, at 9am ET on Zoom (at our usual meeting link). We’ll share some updates and check-in as we normally do, and then get into our second session on teams, and focus this time around on recruiting and managing new collaborators.

Take a look at the resources we’ll be referring to:

  1. Handout: Recruiting and Managing Contributors
  2. Slides: Recruiting and Managing Contributors

I’ll share a recap of the session afterwards, for anyone who cannot make it or has to leave in-between. :slight_smile:

Here’s our first attempt at a call for contributors:

Thank you for the MOU template, we put it to good use. Here is Contributor MOU 3R_PSU.docx (16.3 KB) to our project at PSU.

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Thanks for sharing this, Michael! I’ll bring it up during our session today, so others can also look to it as an example. :slight_smile: I’m pleased to hear that you found the MOU template useful.

@feb20-cohort - thanks for another great session and for bringing some positivity during what feels like dark times. Thank you also for the work you’re doing outside the sessions — this is more valued than you might realize!

Lesson Recap

There are a lot of people who will want to join forces with you on your project. Before you start recruiting, we advise you to take a step back and begin by reflecting on project needs and gaps. Consult with your leadership or existing team about what phases are next, what roles are needed and whether these roles can be combined. Then, write out the details of what you’d want this person to do — this forms the basis of the job description, which you can edit later on. Keep the job description precise and concise, look at our slides for what to include. Welcoming and explicit language in your job description and call for participation is critical to encourage participation from all groups. You can link out to this job description in your official call for participation (#cfp ). While there’s a lot to include here, highlight what the role is, why they should be interested, and how they can get in touch. Take a look at a sample cfp for a detailed breakdown on how to structure your call. Prior to sending out your cfp, you should also plan out the logistics of writing, sharing, and responding to the call, so you don’t end up rushing to figure this out after the call is out. This ranges from setting up tracking sheets to see how the call is faring with the community to preparing onboarding workflows (look at how we’ve broken it down in the slides). With all this ready, you can finally share the call widely (in field-specific or Open Education channels depending on the role), and begin responding to any interested parties. Make sure you get back to people quickly and clearly explain next steps. If someone is not the right fit for a particular role, see if there are other ways they can be involved, or at the very least, keep them in the loop. And in both cases, don’t forget to thank them for taking the time to respond. Take a look at our full list of strategies when responding to a potential contributor. If you’re not receiving as many responses as you’d like, don’t despair. Review and revise the cfp and job description, and look at whether there may be other channels to target or a better time to post the call. Once you have recruited and onboarded the contributors you need, it’s good to keep them continuously engaged. In our experience, the most successful projects are the ones that keep the initial buzz around the project and team alive, so take a look at our suggestions to engage your team. Repeat this process with new team members as needed, and remember that adding someone new to the project is an exciting milestone. It demonstrates that your project is resonating with others, so much so that they are willing to volunteer their time and skills to help it succeed. Celebrate in that!

Resources and Chat Transcript

We also had a few resources shared in the chat transcript today, and I’ve compiled them in a list below:

@mattruen also mentioned a conference presentation about OER where an author described offering extra credit to any students who found errors/typos in their OER — we’re yet to track down the presentation but this is a great idea.

Feedback & Suggestions

There were lots of great updates shared on the call, and I didn’t quite get the chance to share my feedback on what everyone has been working on. Below, I’ve compiled a list of specific responses that I couldn’t share at the session, along with some other questions that were raised by you. Feel free to comment on or answer any of the questions, and I hope this is useful for many of you!

  • @Daniel-Hauptvogel was looking at print-on-demand providers, and we suggested looking at in addition to IngramSpark. There’s also an Office Hours session that might be useful: More than a Button: Getting Open Textbooks into Print. I was also looking at your book in Pressbooks, and I noticed that creating alternative text for the images and diagrams in the book will be very important. Our next session is about Accessibility & Inclusivity, so we’ll get a chance to talk about this in more detail then. Sorry I couldn’t bring it up today.
  • @gladja0 was thinking about importing H5P exercises into Pressbooks. I suggested looking at the Pressbooks guide chapter about H5P - it looks like they focus more on creating new content, but I know that there is an upload option in H5P on Pressbooks where you can import H5P exercises that you might have created elsewhere.
  • @mfp11 - feel free to post any questions you have about updating your project homepage here. I or one of my Rebus colleagues will be happy to help! And as for your cfp, I think you could leave a general thread open on your project for volunteers/collaborators (I know the Introduction to Philosophy project has a general volunteer sign-up thread). But if you’re looking to recruit someone for a specific role, might suggest that you make the cfp a bit more detailed.
  • @cvengrin — I had a chance to look at your book in Pressbooks, and it’s coming together very nicely! You have quite a few sections in already. Similar to Daniel, I think you’re in a position to think about some edits that you could make in the formatting for accessibility, like using heading styles in the book (instead of relying on bold or italics formatting to separate sections). I’ll cover this in next week’s topic, so feel free to come with questions!
  • @wrs15 was wondering if there’s an average number of reviewers that works well on a project, and @alminervini asked whether you could think of a student or two as a reviewer - what do you all think? Have you found a number that works as a standard for your discipline?
  • @vbsisson asked for example MOUs. I know Michael Polgar shared a file in the chat, but unfortunately, it looks like the document didn’t save along with the chat. Michael, could you reshare? And Jinny, since you’re working with some students on the book, I’d also like to point out to this MOU for Students & Faculty in A Guide to Making Open Textbooks with Students. There’s also some great case studies in there with additional resources if you were interested.
  • @paulbelue mentioned on the GEM thread that a colleague Gary Thomas may be interested in joining your team. Paul, have you and @Lashleyed had a chance to discuss this yet?

I believe those are all the questions and updates from my end. Apologies if this was a bit of a long message! Hopefully I’ve covered it all. Let me know if not.

Hi Apurva,
The recap of today’s lesson looks great.

Thank you. Could you make one for this interesting lecture that you gave about marketing? I was truly impressed.


Thanks, Valia! Yes, I’ll be posting recaps for our first few sessions soon and will notify you all once they are up. :slight_smile:

Hi Apurva,
Thank you for walking the mile for me and my colleagues. I really appreciate it.


Hi Apourva,
You may just do the recap of the lessons that you feel are very important for us to advance with our project.some of us do not know anything about marketing or publishing. For example two important topics would be Marketing and the Licences. You may want to pick 3-5 topics and develop them the way you did the last lesson. I really appreciate your effort.

Thank you


I’ll try to get these to you as soon as possible, Valia! Thanks for your patience.

No problem Apurva. Take your time and enjoy what you are doing. Teaching others what you know is always a process of improving and finding the best way of delivering your knowledge to others no matter how old you are.


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