access to OER

Global Access to OER – A report by UNESCO

Jane Park, October 26th, 2009

The UNESCO OER Community attempts to put OER in light of not one, but many cultural contexts around the world. Connecting 900 individuals in 109 countries, the community runs on a wiki platform and communicates centrally via its listserv. Earlier this year in February and March, they held a discussion on the various barriers to accessing OER in different jurisdictions, with one of its ultimate aims to develop concrete proposals in this area. The outcomes of the discussion are now compiled into a report in both PDF and wiki versions.

From the announcement by Bjoern Hassler,

“The first proposal is about “Introducing digital Open Educational
Resources into Zambian primary schools through school-based
professional development”. Through this project we seek to overcome
access barriers, and engage with OER for Zambian primary/secondary
school mathematics teaching. The barriers are manifold, including
infrastructural, awareness, appropriateness of materials, etc, but we
hope that we’ll be able to draw on the various experiences and
solutions to make this successful… Further information is available here

http://www.educ.cam.ac.uk/centres/cce/projects/ictzambia/index.html

The second outcome is continued engagement through the UK National
Commission for UNESCO. Within the Information Society Working Group,
OER has been a long-standing theme. However, based on the experience
of the discussion, we are now focussing on issues around OER access
and collaboration. The aims for this are concrete: We are running a
series of meetings to further focus on feasible projects in this area.
The first meeting will take place on 25th/26th in conjunction with the
Nottingham Open Learning Conference (
http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/olc/ ) and in conjunction with OER Africa
( http://www.oerafrica.org ).”

The report, as all content on the UNESCO OER wiki, is available via CC BY-SA.

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Access to OER Discussion Launched

Jane Park, February 9th, 2009

by the UNESCO Open Educational Resources Community today. For those of you who don’t know, the UNESCO OER Community is an international online community “[connecting] over 700 individuals in 105 countries to share information and discuss issues surrounding the production and use of Open Educational Resources – web-based materials offered freely and openly for use and reuse in teaching, learning and research.” (We blogged about them last October.) The new discussion will run for three weeks and is open to all. From their community’s wiki:

OER is seen as having the potential to extend access to knowledge worldwide, but there exist certain barriers to its achieving this objective. Access is one potential barrier – and a crucial challenge.

Although our initial interaction on the issue started with the consideration of limited or no connectivity, lack of electricity was identified as an even more basic barrier to access to OER. However, there are many other potential barriers or constraints and it will be useful to identify the range of them, for there are emerging solutions or approaches that would mitigate the problems. Developers of OER will benefit from having these in mind – donors and other agencies may be able to contribute to addressing them.

This week the discussion will focus on “Identification and description of the main problems associated with access, and an initial development of a classification scheme.” The discussion is already underway, moderated by Bjoern Hassler, a senior research associate at the University of Cambridge, so if you have something to say, go join it now!

All content on the UNESCO OER Community wiki is licensed CC BY-SA. Like ccLearn, UNESCO’s work on open educational resources is generously supported by The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

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