Co-creation is increasingly being proposed as the solution for many of the current challenges in higher education. It offers a congruent educational technique for letting students acquire 21st century skills such as innovation, creativity, entrepreneurial skills, multidisciplinary collaboration and self-directed learning.
In return, co-created courses allow educators to integrate and build on the knowledge of their students, who bring their own skills to the table and who increasingly have supplementary degrees or prior work experience.
In addition, opening up the course content for the input from colleagues in related disciplines as well as experts in the professional field, allows educators to keep up with the rapidly changing body of knowledge and required interdisciplinary skills.
However, even though co-creation is all the buzz, developing educational content in collaboration with students, colleagues and the professional field remains a daunting task from an organisational point of view.
The co-creation process typically requires a considerable amount of input management and integration by the educator (i.e. combining different versions, coordinating contributors and communicating updates), leaving little time to actually focus on content curation. Thus, although co-creation is a compelling idea, it still remains a hard nut to crack in practice.
The COCOS project therefore aims to make course co-creation accessible and user-friendly by drawing from open source methods and tools.
First, we draw inspiration from the co-creation methods used by web developers who create openly available web tools in large collaborative networks. Through well-established version control mechanisms and project management platforms, they are able to collaborate seamlessly in large groups with minimal organisational hustle.
Second, we opt to use open source educational tools and platforms. By opting for open source web tools and open educational resources (OERs), the COCOS project is open to all potential users, including educational institutions that are smaller in scale and stakeholders who have a limited budget. In this way the COCOS project is open in many ways, in the sense that educators are open to the input from students, colleagues and the professional field, while simultaneously using open source methods and tools to facilitate the co-creation process, allowing for true open innovation.