Open Educational Resources: Building a Culture of Sharing


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Speech given by Susan D'Antoni of UNESCO on 23 April 2009 at "Open Educational Resources in Poland" - a one-day conference at the Parliament of the Republic of Poland, organised by the Polish Coalition for Open Education (KOED). To download the full text of the speech, go to

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Open Educational Resources: Building a Culture of Sharing

  1. 1. Koalicja Otwartej Edukacji OER conference Warsaw, 23 April 2009 Open Educational Resources: Building a Culture of Sharing Susan D’Antoni UNESCO
  2. 2. I <ul><li>Open Educational Resources: </li></ul><ul><li>Building a culture of sharing </li></ul>
  3. 3. Challenges… <ul><li>Challenges facing societies </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Globalization </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rise of knowledge-intensive societies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Demand for increasingly skilled population </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Challenges to education systems </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Extend reach of education </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Improve quality and flexibility </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Could technology offer the solution? </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. New developments… <ul><li>An important convergence </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Increasing connectivity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Growing numbers of low-cost devices </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Expanding body of open digital content </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Together they facilitate the sharing of knowledge </li></ul>
  5. 5. Open Educational Resources <ul><li>What are they? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Digitized educational materials offered freely and openly for use and re-use in teaching, learning and research </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Why are they important? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Contribute to building a culture of sharing </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. II <ul><li>The growing OER movement: </li></ul><ul><li>Evidence of a culture of sharing </li></ul>
  7. 7. MIT OpenCourseWare <ul><li>1999: faculty response to challenge of online education </li></ul><ul><li>2000: OCW initiated </li></ul><ul><li>Goal: make accessible all primary course material on the web </li></ul><ul><li>2002: launched 50-course pilot </li></ul><ul><li>2009: almost 1,900 courses available </li></ul>
  8. 8. 2002 UNESCO meeting <ul><li>Academics convened to assess potential of open courseware for developing countries </li></ul><ul><li>Positive response </li></ul><ul><li>Participants coined the term Open Educational Resources for this “universal resource for the whole of humanity” </li></ul>
  9. 9. Growth of a movement… OpenCourseWare Consortium <ul><li>2005: consortium established to assist the OCW movement </li></ul><ul><li>Goal: support collaboration among 200+ member institutions worldwide </li></ul><ul><li>mid-2008: 6,200 courses available </li></ul>
  10. 10. OpenER… responding to national objectives <ul><li>Goal: 50% participation in higher education by 2010 </li></ul><ul><li>2006: Open University of the Netherlands launches OpenER </li></ul><ul><li>Objectives </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Bridge gap between informal and formal learning </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reduce barriers to higher education </li></ul></ul><ul><li>2008: Minister of Education launches national OER infrastructure </li></ul>
  11. 11. III <ul><li>UNESCO action: </li></ul><ul><li>Promoting awareness of OER </li></ul>
  12. 12. The need for awareness raising <ul><li>Potential of OER to contribute to building knowledge societies – especially knowledge-sharing societies </li></ul><ul><li>But… </li></ul><ul><li>No awareness of availability  resources not utilized and potential not realized </li></ul>
  13. 13. Building the OER Community <ul><li>Objectives </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Increase awareness </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Support capacity building and decision making </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Activities </li></ul><ul><ul><li>2005: first forum 500 participants from 90 countries </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2005-2007: regular topic-specific discussions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2007: Way Forward consultation </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Characteristics of the community <ul><li>600+ members </li></ul><ul><li>98 countries </li></ul><ul><li>67 developing countries </li></ul>
  15. 15. Community members… organizations represented <ul><li>Over 50% from higher education institutions </li></ul><ul><li>Over 20% from international organizations and NGOs </li></ul>
  16. 16. Community members… positions held <ul><li>Almost 40% held high-level positions </li></ul><ul><li>Almost 20% teaching professionals </li></ul>
  17. 17. 2007 consultation: 14 issues <ul><li>Advancing the movement </li></ul><ul><li>Awareness raising </li></ul><ul><li>Communities and networking </li></ul><ul><li>Research </li></ul><ul><li>Enabling creation and re-use </li></ul><ul><li>Policies </li></ul><ul><li>Standards </li></ul><ul><li>Technology tools </li></ul><ul><li>Quality assurance </li></ul><ul><li>Capacity development </li></ul><ul><li>Enabling learning with OER </li></ul><ul><li>Learning support services </li></ul><ul><li>Assessment of learning </li></ul><ul><li>Removing barriers to OER </li></ul><ul><li>Accessibility </li></ul><ul><li>Copyright and licensing </li></ul><ul><li>Financing </li></ul><ul><li>Sustainability </li></ul>
  18. 18. What are the priorities?
  19. 19. 6 priorities <ul><li>Awareness raising and promotion </li></ul><ul><li>Communities and networking </li></ul><ul><li>Capacity development </li></ul><ul><li>Sustainability </li></ul><ul><li>Quality assurance </li></ul><ul><li>Copyright </li></ul>
  20. 21. Who should take action? <ul><li>Academics </li></ul><ul><li>Higher education institutions </li></ul><ul><li>International organizations </li></ul><ul><li>National government </li></ul>
  21. 22. IV <ul><li>Strengthening a culture of sharing at the national level </li></ul>
  22. 23. The need for stimulus funding <ul><li>Need for new funding models </li></ul><ul><li>Examples from Europe </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Funding for OpenER from Dutch ministries </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>UK funding call: £4.7m for pilot OER programmes </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Educational materials developed through public funding should be available to all </li></ul>
  23. 24. The importance of accessibility <ul><li>Investment needed in infrastructure and technology </li></ul><ul><li>Challenge to public archives: respond to increasing demand for storage and access </li></ul><ul><li>Reach new audiences and enable new use through collaboration with online platforms (Flickr, Wikimedia Commons…) </li></ul>
  24. 25. The need for enabling policy <ul><li>A national culture of sharing must be enabled by policy </li></ul><ul><li>Output of government-supported work should be open </li></ul><ul><li>Degree of openness could be used to determine awarding of grants and contracts </li></ul>
  25. 26. The need for champions <ul><li>A key stakeholder role: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>OER champion! </li></ul></ul><ul><li>A role taken up with energy and commitment in Poland: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Modern Poland Foundation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Open Education Coalition </li></ul></ul>
  26. 27. Thank you for your attention <ul><li>Join the Community </li></ul><ul><li>Email </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>Consult the resources </li></ul><ul><li>Wiki </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>