Creative Commons affiliate team at Notre Dame University—Louaize (NDU) in Lebanon held a two-day symposium on “Open Educational Resources (OER): Trends and Prospects” from September 15-16, 2016 as a part of their 2017 roadmap to create awareness and cultivate openness culture within the university . The symposium highlighted the University’s strategic commitment to the integration of openly-licensed educational resources in the teaching and learning process. The occasion also marked the one-year signing of the Affiliate Agreement between Creative Commons and NDU.
To commemorate the event, NDU hosted Naeema Zarif, Creative Commons Regional Coordinator for the Arab World. Ms. Zarif met NDU President Fr. Walid Moussa, who expressed the importance of capitalizing on recent trends in open education to broaden access, foster innovation, and alleviate student textbook costs.
During the symposium, Dr. Fawzi Baroud, Assistant Vice President for Information Technology, described the history of NDU’s involvement with open education beginning with his own participation in the U.S. State Department sponsored Open Book Project in 2014 and the continued collaboration with Creative Commons to create awareness and devise capacity building projects for an optimal OER culture within the university. He also traced the University’s future trajectory with regard to OER and the role it will play in advancing OER in Lebanon and the region. Ms. Zarif went on to speak about CC licenses in a panel titled “Creative Commons Licenses and the Future of Open Education in the Arab World.”
The symposium’s second day (titled “NDU Student Attitudes toward the Use of OER”) focused on the piloting of OER in a university-wide English course targeting close to 600 students in more than twenty sections across three campuses. Dr. Kamal Abouchedid, Dean of the Faculty of Humanities, highlighted the integration of OER as a strategic initiative at NDU and as a means of fostering open education.
The design of the course was described by Dr. Sandra Doueiher, Assistant Professor and Coordinator of English. Joining the discussion from Denmark via Skype, Dr. Ena Hodzik spoke about the scholarship of OER, specifically about the issue of quality and utility in the integration of OER. Dr. Hodzik went on to explain that the student survey administered by NDU closely aligned with the major themes in the literature of OER.
Survey results were presented by Dr. George Abdelnour, Chair of the Department of English and Translation. The extensive survey sought student feedback on the use of OER based on general attitudes, effectiveness, quality, and learning outcomes of the resources used. By a 2 to 1 margin, he explained, students showed high levels of satisfaction and engagement with OER. The findings also showed a favorable inclination toward enrolling in courses using OER in the future.