Posted on October 28, 2009 · Posted in FHSST

As part of the launch of OpenPress, the FHSST Grade 10 Mathematics book is getting printed. We felt that we needed a fresh set of covers for the books. They will be printed with a colour cover and we felt that the all the Maths covers should have a theme; similarly for the Physical Science books.

The covers will need to be available in the next 10 days or so and we were discussing the best way to get them done. The obvious way to go is to commission the work from a designer and go with that. We also considered the option of crowdsourcing the covers and have had a lot of debate about the merits of crowdsourcing.

To resolve the issue, once and for all (maybe), we’ve decided to run our own internal competition. The prize will be bragging rights as the optimal process for future covers for OpenPress / FHSST texts. We are going to allocate the same budget to the Maths and Physical Science covers, but we are going to have the Maths set commissioned by a regular design firm and we’ll get the Physical Science ones created on 99Designs.

Although it isn’t really a competition it will be fun to see the results. The only way to keep the results comparable is to give both processes the same:

  • budget,
  • brief,
  • quantity and quality of feedback, and
  • the same timeline.

I’ll post the brief a little later and the results as well so you can decide which you think is the best set and whether we’ve chosen the best process based on this little experiment. If nothing else this should be fun.

About the Author

Mark Horner is the CEO of Siyavula Education, a social enterprise working in the school sector in South Africa. While working as the Shuttleworth Foundation Fellow for Open and Collaborative Resources, Mark was able to transform the Free High School Science Texts (FHSST) project, which he co-founded, into Siyavula Education. In this process, openly-licensed, collaboratively authored textbooks have been printed and distributed nationally in South Africa. Working at the intersection of community, openness and technology; Mark intends to leverage this success to make Siyavula an innovative, technology provider in education that works effectively as part of the education community to ensure better learning opportunities for all. A recent notable event being the delivery of Siyavula's textbooks over Mxit, the most popular mobile chat solution in South Africa. Mark has a PhD in physics from the University of Cape Town and conducted his research at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California on the results from the STAR experiment at Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York. His work is carried out in the belief that the liberation of information and support of education in South Africa will lead to a peaceful and prosperous future for all South Africans.