2nd World OER Congress
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First results from Regional Consultations on OER

April 19, 2017

During the regional consultations, the participants were engaged in group discussions and presented their recommendations. While the process is still in progress, some of the key recommendations emerging out of the four regional consultations are outlined in this news item.

Policy

  • Policies are needed at both national and institutional levels.
  • Governments must help universities to change. Governments must provide the mechanism for universities to change both mindset and culture. This can be done by funding incentives, new paths for career progression and development within academia, embracing Open Education Practices and accepting the development of OER as a contribution to knowledge rather than judging performance based on publications alone.

Capacity Building

  • Mindset is a big barrier to capacity building and it is necessary to create an appropriate environment to support OER.
  • People need training on how to create and handle OER. Encouraging students to use OER can create a culture of openness.
  • Mobile apps can be used for capacity building.
  • Involve teachers to support colleague teachers to use OER in their own environment

Ensuring Equitable Access to OER

  • Focus on increasing Internet connectivity and broadband.
  • Provide offline access to educational materials.
  • Use mobile devices to provide access to OER.
  • Develop OER in accessible formats.

Business Model

  • Political will is necessary to change existing business models and implement new ones.
  • Governments need to conduct experiments with alternative business models by devoting part of their budgets for educational resources and experimental schemes.
  • Use different models of delivery of OER to learners.
  • Examples of commercial actors implementing open business models need to be better analysed (for example: Sesamath, Lumen Learning, OpenStax), especially in terms of potential mainstreaming.
  • Use collaborative and consortia approach to OER production and sustainability.

Language and Culture

  • Institution-level initiatives needed to build capacity in faculties and technical staff.
  • Language barriers can be reduced through capacity building for the contextualization and localization of OER.
  • Institutions should have policies to handle culturally sensitive resources.
  • Governments should support and encourage development of flexible curricula that would embrace language and cultural diversity.
  • Educational Institutions should encourage cross cultural collaboration at institutional level and at the level of teaching staff.
  • Technology innovations can be harnessed to translate OER into different languages.

The report can be found here.