OERu 19-10 Group 3, Session 8: Decisions for action

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Strawdog objective

OERu recruits and provides free membership to 20 selected institutions in the developing world during 2020 through the OERu Outreach Partnership Programme targeting Africa, Asia, the Pacific and the Caribbean

Outreach partners

  • are selected from low and lower-middle income countries, as well as small states in developing countries,
  • are invited to contribute to the development of an OERu course in promoting South-North knowledge-sharing, and
  • commit to participating actively in the OERu, for the mutual benefit of the network and the learners it serves.
  • Sign the Memorandum of Understanding

OERu provides

  • Free hosting for OERu open micro-courses
  • Free access to OERu’s relevant professional development courses and scholarships for Outreach Partner staff seeking assessed certification towards the OERu Practitioner Qualification and who are working on the design and development of OER courses for use in the OERu network.

What opportunities do YOU see for making progress on this challenge?

  • Must work within the university culture
  • Is there a way to “sell” OERu as an opportunity to meet the institution’s other goals (revenue, distance-learning infrastructure-building)?
  • Students demand low- or no-cost textbooks; this helps to change expectations and institutional culture.
  • Professional development, for instructional faculty/staff as well as students, is a good selling point
  • First how to teach with OER, then how to develop, then how to assess the quality, then managing/QA/curation
  • Offering courses are materials to be framed/transformed; giving professors the opportunity to feel in control
  • Facilitate localization and accessibility of materials
  • English is okay for materials, but the framing and understanding is best in local languages

What are the barriers YOU see for making progress on this challenge?

  • Primary challenge: university culture (see following)
  • Institutions don’t have capacity to go into distance learning
  • Look at open education in terms of making money
  • Growing number of students
  • Dwindling funding from government
  • Contact universities are competing for students; offering distance learning on their own terms
  • Buy-in to the “open education” ethos
  • View of distance learning as low-quality
  • The mindset of “who owns knowledge”; instructor-based teaching is central and inhibits efforts to use OERu curriculum
  • Language; localization and translation of courses/materials

Decisions for action

List your decision proposals including who is assigned to take this forward:

  • Promote a story/case study (that itself can be translated and localized)
  • Create and offer support structures for an existing OER course to be adopted and localized/“owned” – market a structure that must may be adapted to be adopted – this addresses language issues and other issues in the space
  • Market to smaller, less-formal groups – independent instructors and learning groups or non-academic organizations
  • Promote OERu objects as a foundation to learn and practice digital skills (annotation, transcription, translation, etc.)