Session 5 - Recruiting and Managing Contributors

@may20-cohort another week has gone by, and our next session on recruiting contributors will take place tomorrow at 3:30pm ET on Zoom. We’ll look at job descriptions, writing calls for participation, and the work that goes into introducing someone new to the team. Please look at your direct messages for a reminder about the meeting password.

These are the resources for this week’s session:

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

I look forward to chatting with you all tomorrow! :slight_smile:

@may20-cohort - thank you all for your time yesterday! As we wrap up our sessions on team building, please take a moment to share the composition of your own team here, so we can all learn who is involved and in what roles. Link out to your project team meet and greet threads too! For those of you who have not yet connected with partners on campus, I strongly encourage you to reach out to:

  • your OER librarian or program manager
  • copyright, permissions, or subject librarians
  • instructional designers or staff at your Center for Teaching and Learning
  • accessibility practitioners at your office for students with disabilities

@RobinArmstrong, @karenrege, @fcincotta — we missed you at our session, and would love to hear an update from one of you about how the Globalmusix project is coming along.


These were some of the questions raised during our discussion yesterday:

  1. @mbranson asked a very thoughtful question about how we can approach recruitment without too much gatekeeping: making sure that project participation is inclusive while still meeting the needs/goals outlined.
  2. @poritzj asked @communitywellnessins about their experience posting a call for participation (cfp) in the APA listserv. Were there restrictions, or permissions to obtain?
  3. @wernerwestermannj asked about booksprints, and how useful this approach can be for OER creation. Our next Office Hours session is all about booksprints, so Werner, hopefully you can attended to hear experienced speakers shed more light on this quicker approach to creation: Office Hours: Sprinting to Publication - OER Production via Textbook Sprints.

Chat Transcript and Resources

There were a few resources in the chat transcript for this week to highlight, plus some mentioned on the call:

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. Particularly leverage existing networks you are a part of:

  • The Open Textbook Network: use their platform to announce the project and help direct others to CFPs
  • Maryland team: use the MOST network, by contacting Annika at to share CFPs and announcements

Take a look at our example mailing list document for more channels you can tap into, and be sure to add in more that are subject or discipline appropriate. Eg.: We identified the following math groups to target: Mathematical Association of America, The American Institute of Mathematics. You can even look at contacting creators of existing OER, and tapping into their networks!

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 that!

@w.j.palmer - could you share a link to or upload an image of the flowchart that the Children’s Literature team has been using to plan and think through the different chapters, pins, and connections?