Membership White Paper

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The model we have taken is one of a tree, which grows up from its roots (the core team) up to the leaves (individual educators). Various levels of participation considered include:

  • the core team
  • project leaders
  • project members
  • schools and other organizations running OWEA programs
  • individual educators, students and web professionals

A separate kind of participant is a "patron" or "sponsor", who would help resource the organization, but not necessarily participate directly in the activities of OWEA.

The goals of OWEA in regard to participation are:

  • to create a sustainable community, with succession always in mind, and is not overly reliant on the efforts or drive of any individual members
  • to distribute responsibility as much as possible toward the "leaves" of the OWEA tree
  • to be a fundamentally practical organization - project and outcome based
  • to continually identify future leadership within the organization, and promote such members to more responsible positions within the OWEA structure
  • to always work toward making the current level of "root" decision makers redundant

We are mindful of challenges around the term "membership" and "member" and use these as shorthand for various kinds of participation in OWEA activities. We do not see a direct overlap in terms of W3C membership and OWEA "members"; the terminology used for OWEA participation is very much open to finessing.

Core team

Membership of this core team is a responsibility, not a privilege. The core team will comprise very experienced "emeritus" members of OWEA, along with the leaders of each of the current OWEA projects.

The role of members of the core team is to ensure the difficult tasks are done, among them:

  • maintaining resourcing
  • making challenging decisions
  • taking responsibility for the direction of OWEA by deciding which new projects will be undertaken
  • deciding who will replace current members of the core team


As an outcome-based organization, one of the most significant parts of the OWEA will be its projects. These would be short-to-medium term activities focused on specific goals, such as the development of a particular course. Some activities, like outreach or curriculum development, may be ongoing efforts with periodic goals.

Examples of the kinds of project that OWEA may charter would include:

  • outreach to schools and individual educators
  • organizational projects such as marketing and communications, and membership
  • curriculum development - from individual courses to whole curricula
  • developing accreditation schemes

Project leaders will form a part of the core team, while project participants will hopefully form the basis of future leaders within the organization. Projects would typically be undertaken by small teams of volunteers, with expertise in the area of the project and a commitment to the core OWEA principles.

Project participants will be expected to:

  • Use best practices and open web standards as much as possible in personal and professional work
  • Regularly read OWEA communications, participate in discussions and provide timely feedback

"School" participants

"Schools" - whether high schools, colleges, universities, or commercial providers, can participate in OWEA in a number of important ways:

  • by implementing OWEA curricula and courses
  • by making the core principles of the open web a key part of their courses and training
  • by contributing courses and curriculum materials to OWEA
  • by making material contributions (venues, staff, financial and other) to furthering OWEA's aims

We have yet to finalize discussion on is whether school, organizational and institutional membership might fall into two categories

  • A "supporter" level, for organizations who embrace the principles of OWEA, or are using OWEA's courses
  • A "partner" level, for organizations which make material contributions to sustain OWEA

Note that there should never be a cost associated with using OWEA courses, curricula or resources for institutions or individual educators.

Individual Participants

There are several ways in which individuals will be able to contribute to and participate in OWEA.

  • leaders in the core team, including project leaders
  • participants volunteering their energy and expertise to various OWEA projects
  • champions, who organize at a local level to promote the principles of OWEA through local "chapters"
  • participants in local chapters who put into practice the principles of open web education in their schools and organizations, are industry professionals keen to ensure the best possible educational outcomes for future professionals, or are students in the field.


OWEA champions (or "evangelists") not only embrace the principles and practices of OWEA in their work as educators, web professionals or students, but promote these ideals to their colleagues and peers. One significant way they will do this is via local "Chapters" along the lines of AIGA local chapters (


OWEA "members" participate at a local chapter level - meeting on a semi-regular basis and sharing their experiences, knowledge and expertise as educators. They may share as educators, as web professionals sharing their expertise, or as students.


OWEA Chapters are loosely modeled on AIGA Chapters, but also Refresh, Ignite and other semi-regular meetups of associated professionals. Their goals are to:

  • promote the ideals of OWEA
  • connect like-minded educators and students with professionals in the industry


"Sponsors" are companies, schools and other organizations which embrace the principles of OWEA, and participate in OWEA activities, while making material contributions to OWEA (their employees may be core members, or they may provide financial or other support to OWEA).


Patrons are individuals and organizations who believe strongly in the principles of OWEA and make material contributions to the organization. These may be financial, or in kind contributions which directly help further the efforts of OWEA.

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