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Empirical-based Analytical Insights on the Position, Challenges and Potential for Promoting OER in ODeL Institutions in Africa

Empirical-based Analytical Insights on the Position, Challenges and Potential for Promoting OER in ODeL Institutions in Africa Prof. C.K. Muganda and Dr. A.S. Samzugi Open University of Tanzania and Brenda Mallinson, OER Africa / Saide

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Prof. C.K. MugandaProf. C.K. Muganda and Dr. A.S. Samzugi
Open University of Tanzania
and Brenda Mallinson, OER Africa / Saide
Empirical-based Analytical Insights
on the
Position, Challenges and Potential
for Promoting OER
in ODeL Institutions in Africa
2nd
International Conference of the
African Virtual University
Nairobi, Kenya. July 2-3, 2015
Outline
2
Introduction
• Rationale for the Paper:
– To share insights on the Position, Challenges and Potential for
Promoting OER in ODeL Institutions in Africa based on the
case study of OUT.
• Motivation for Study:
– Recognition of immense benefits of OER materials in
promoting wider access to education and improving the
quality of programmes offered by education institutions in
Africa.
– Using the case study of OUT to inform on the use of
experience sharing workshops as a strategy for identifying
untapped potential for developing, integration and use of
OERs in African institutions.
3
Objectives of the study
• Specifically, the study aimed to:
– analyse the current status of OERs at the OUT;
– share lessons learned in OER creation, development and
production; integration and use; hosting and dissemination
– discuss the rationale for an institutional OER policy
– Identify the existing potential for OER development and
use in Africa.
4
Methodology
• Descriptive qualitative research design
• Conducted at the Open University of Tanzania
• Participants were purposively sampled
• Methods used to collect data:
– questionnaires, focused group discussion, workshop presentations
and panel discussions
• Data gathering events:
– Focused Group Discussion
– OER Institutional Practice Analysis - workshop 1
– OER Experience Sharing – workshop 2
5
Findings and Discussion
• Status of OER at OUT (FGD / Workshop 1)
• OER Experiencing Sharing (Workshop 2)

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Empirical-based Analytical Insights on the Position, Challenges and Potential for Promoting OER in ODeL Institutions in Africa

  • 1. Prof. C.K. MugandaProf. C.K. Muganda and Dr. A.S. Samzugi Open University of Tanzania and Brenda Mallinson, OER Africa / Saide Empirical-based Analytical Insights on the Position, Challenges and Potential for Promoting OER in ODeL Institutions in Africa 2nd International Conference of the African Virtual University Nairobi, Kenya. July 2-3, 2015
  • 3. Introduction • Rationale for the Paper: – To share insights on the Position, Challenges and Potential for Promoting OER in ODeL Institutions in Africa based on the case study of OUT. • Motivation for Study: – Recognition of immense benefits of OER materials in promoting wider access to education and improving the quality of programmes offered by education institutions in Africa. – Using the case study of OUT to inform on the use of experience sharing workshops as a strategy for identifying untapped potential for developing, integration and use of OERs in African institutions. 3
  • 4. Objectives of the study • Specifically, the study aimed to: – analyse the current status of OERs at the OUT; – share lessons learned in OER creation, development and production; integration and use; hosting and dissemination – discuss the rationale for an institutional OER policy – Identify the existing potential for OER development and use in Africa. 4
  • 5. Methodology • Descriptive qualitative research design • Conducted at the Open University of Tanzania • Participants were purposively sampled • Methods used to collect data: – questionnaires, focused group discussion, workshop presentations and panel discussions • Data gathering events: – Focused Group Discussion – OER Institutional Practice Analysis - workshop 1 – OER Experience Sharing – workshop 2 5
  • 6. Findings and Discussion • Status of OER at OUT (FGD / Workshop 1) • OER Experiencing Sharing (Workshop 2)
  • 7. Status of OER at OUT (FGD /Workshop 1) • Findings – AVU, TESSA and MIT materials are mostly used because they are compatible with OUT programmes, but need to be better promoted – There is a need to create awareness on OER potential – No comprehensive policy yet to directly address OER issues – OUT staff are willing to develop, integrate and use OERs • Discussion – Need for capacity building for staff in developing, integrating and using OERs. i.e. via Professional Development – Content experts be used to ensure quality of OERs developed and used by OUT staff and students – Proper citation and acknowledgement of source(s) required to abide by intellectual property issues. 7
  • 8. OER Experience Sharing (Workshop 2) 8 Lessons learned (a): OER Development and Production •Basic ICT skills and competences are a prerequisite •Institutional support required - provide time, budget and recognition of staff effort •A plan to guide the OER development activities is essential •Analysis of the educational context of the target users is important. •Collaboration at international, national and institutional levels desirable. •Capacity building is a necessity. •Funding is a major aspect. •Quality assurance aspects need to be considered and adhered to. •Determining the appropriate creative commons (CC) license to use is vital.
  • 9. OER Experience Sharing (Workshop 2) 9 Discussion (a): OER Development and Production •OER writing needs knowledge sharing, collaboration and commitment of the team members. •OER Development and production is a process •Review for quality and relevance should be conducted at all stages of development, integration and use •Quality assurance for content and relevance is important. •A policy/policies to guide the process is vital.
  • 10. OER Experience Sharing (Workshop 2) 10 Lessons learned (b): OER Integration and Use •Central aspects were again: collaboration, institutional support, funding, capacity building, creating awareness, sensitization and supportive policies. •Willingness to adapt/adopt OERs (buy-in) need to be worked on because this may mean change in pedagogical practice. •In integrating OER in a new programme the curriculum need to be present and clearly understood by the material developers •Planning on how and what to adopt/adapt is a requirement •Agreement on plans/structure/format for integration is required •Make relevant OERs accessible to instructors and learners.
  • 11. OER Experience Sharing (Workshop 2) 11 Discussion (b): OER Integration and Use •There is a need to build capacity in synchronizing the curriculum •Materials produced in Africa (e.g. AVU materials ) are used more in Asia and Brazil than Africa – WHY? • Mitigating factors including limitations inherent in Africa such as low bandwidth, irregular internet connectivity, unreliable electricity supply, poor awareness and insufficient information literacy / digital fluency. •Need to seek a national-wide solution to inaccessibility to OERs due to limited bandwidth, internet connectivity, and electricity.
  • 12. OER Experience Sharing (Workshop 2) 12 Lessons learned (c): OER Hosting and Dissemination •Some OERs are hosted on the OUT website – including MIT, AVU, TESSA and OUT materials •OUT Online study material portal is available and working. •Information literacy training is continuing –During orientation and face 2 Face (students) and Panel marking (staff) •Low bandwidth is limiting access.
  • 13. OER Experience Sharing (Workshop 2) Discussion (c): Hosting and Dissemination •OERs fall under Creative Commons licensing and are designed to be reused. •Acknowledgement through proper citation and observing the CC license is vital.. •Authors, editors can be consulted for permission to use sources. •Plagiarism check software and citation software can assist. •There is a need to train staff and students to avoid unintended plagiarism. 13
  • 14. OER Experience Sharing (Workshop 2) (6/6) 14 Lessons learned (d): Institutional Policies: Rationale and Possibilities •OER related issues are mentioned in some institutional policies such as ICT Master Plan, Study material policy, Quality Assurance, and IP. BUT there is no comprehensive OER policy. •At national level the Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act, 1999 in section 35. The distance education environment is not considered.
  • 15. OER Experience Sharing (Workshop 2) Discussion (d): Institutional Policies: •There is a need for OUT to develop an OER policy. •ODL institutions including OUT to influence amendment of section 35 0f the Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act, 1999. •OUT to learn from other institutions that already have an independent OER policy. 15
  • 16. Recommendations (1/3) • Institutions in Africa need to develop an OER policy to guide procedures and operationalize OER practices • Institutions in Africa need to organize on a regular basis awareness and sensitization workshops on OERs production and use. • Institutions in Africa need to Integrate the shared experiences into improving the OER practices. • The institutions should be proactive in building capacity to its staff members on production, integration and use of OERs. • Lecturers should be encouraged to incorporate and recommend OERs to their students. 16
  • 17. Recommendations (2/3) • Collaborate with other institutions within and outside Tanzania in production, integration and use of OERs.(e.g. MOU between OUT/SAIDE. • OUT identity and curriculum should be considered in the collaboration. • Publish, publicize and market OUT OERs • Ensure quality of OERs. Incorporate OER issues in the review of QA policy and study materials policy. • Develop and institutionalize a systematic work flow process for OERs production 17
  • 18. Recommendations (3/3) • Strengthen theory and practice on OERs. – Encourage and promote systematic research on the field of OERs. – Engage with network and communities of practice on OERs eg. GO-GN, Creative Commons etc. • Institutions in African countries to collaborate and support each other via MOU in the area of OERs. • Institutions to identify statutes that limits OER practices and influence changes • Institutions should work to ensure consistent access to online resources in their repository/websites. • Publish, publicize and market OERs • Ensure quality of OERs. • Develop and institutionalize a systematic work-flow process for OERs production 18
  • 19. Concluding Remarks • Open Education Resources can make significant contributions in enhancing the access to quality education • African ODeL institutions have staff who have participated in the development, production, versioning, integration and use of OER. • OER focussed action workshops have made a significant contribution to understanding the current status and furthering the institutional practices of OER at the Open University of Tanzania. • The significance of this research and practice is that an institutional participatory action approach such as that described can assist in identifying such potential while taking stock of what we need to move forward. • This approach can be extrapolated to other institutions, followed by national and regional initiatives to provide opportunities for institutionalisation and cross-institutional sharing of OERs. 19
  • 20. Thank you for your attention! Discussion 20 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported License. Prof Cornelia Muganda cornelia.muganda@out.ac.tz These slides are available on SlideShare: http://www.slideshare.net/brenda6

Editor's Notes

  1. OERs play an important role in supporting teaching, learning and community services. In developing countries like Tanzania, which is largely devoid of current teaching materials, students and staff tend to use outdated books and poorly designed learning resources. Such situations are caused by the increased cost of textbooks and other printed resources from commercial companies. OERs are needed to widen access and enhance quality teaching and learning, and therefore, for the African academic community, the use of OERs is not optional but a necessity. Advantage of removing the barriers of accessing current and relevant materials which have been prepared, developed and reviewed by various experts.
  2. The criteria used in formulating the categories of respondents were information-rich people who are knowledgeable in developing OER and lecturers who have integrated and used OER materials for teaching and learning at the OUT. These included ten (10) academic staff who participated in developing AVU and TESSA materials. A further fourteen (14) were drawn from faculties; departments that use OER materials to complement study materials generated by the University, and three (3) were from the OUT library and facilitator from OER Africa. The 2nd event again drew on faculty who had participated previously in OER production and integration, and senior members of the University such as Deans, Directors, and the DVC LT & RS
  3. These results indicated that although the OUT staff were willing to participate in OERs they had limited awareness, skills and competences in creation, development, integration and use of OERs. Thus, OUT staff were less confident and hesitant to develop and use OERs. Also lack of a comprehensive policy which is directly addressing OER issues creates a vacuum in undertaking OER endeavours. This may lead into not giving due priority to OERs in the process of enhancing teaching and learning. The results indicate emphasises the fact that OER in most is a new phenomenon developing countries. Issues of credibility and quality of OERs were also discussed and it was agreed that these need to be addressed.
  4. Planning includes drawing a roadmap with proposed dates to accomplish certain activities. OER development is a collaborative activity because multiple expertise in content, curriculum design, and instructional design and Information technology is required. Knowledge and skills on how to appropriately use OERs to develop OERs are important (remixing). Using OERs limits the time spent on seeking permissions /waivers of copyrights from authors or publishers. Developmental testing (TESSA and AVU) or pilot study (DF) are important quality assurance exercise. Production of materials in different formats – print, audio, video, CDs, online, widens accessibility.
  5. Need to be able to adopt and adapt what is required from OER into the existing or new programme. Do Africans not want to consume what they have produced? It was agreed that more awareness raising, sensitization and capacity building, and support to students and instructors to use OER materials is required.
  6. Also to incorporate OER in some existing policies that are relevant to OER e.g. ICT Policy, QA Policy, IP and Study Material Policy in order to avoid conflicting policies. Or could include pointers to the OER policy from with the other related policies. OUT to learn from other institutions in Africa or abroad (e.g. UNISA, Stanford University) that already have an independent OER policy.
  7. While OERs are increasingly being embraced in Africa we are still lagging behind in terms of engaging holistically in the OER movement. The challenges highlighted in this paper notwithstanding there still exist untapped potential in terms of human resources. These are rich experiences that can be harnessed for OER production integration and use in Africa. The significance of this research and practice is that an institutional participatory action approach such as that described can assist in identifying such potential while taking stock of what we need to move forward. The authors believe that this approach can be extrapolated to other institutions, followed by national and regional initiatives to provide opportunities for institutionalisation and cross-institutional sharing of OERs.