Rapporteur Report: Webinar 12 (Inclusive and Equitable OER, Building Capacity)

Rapporteur Report

Session: Webinar 12 (Inclusive and Equitable OER, Building Capacity)

UNESCO OER Action Areas: The webinar addresses the following two UNESCO OER Recommendation Action Areas:

  • Building capacity of stakeholders to create, access, re-use, adapt and redistribute OER. The webinar covered this focal area especially from the perspective of how OER can increase access to educational and research resources, improve learning outcomes, and empower educators and learners to become co-creators of knowledge.
  • Encouraging effective, inclusive and equitable access to quality OER. This focal area was covered especially in the webinar presentations and discussions on ensuring access to OER that most suitably meets both the needs and material circumstances of target learners and the educational objectives for which the OER are being provided.

Day: 29th September

Language: English

Presenters:

Shironica P. Karunanayaka and Som Naidu: Reengineering open educational practices for systemic change

Martin Dougiamas and Paul Hodgson: MoodleNet 2.0 as a platform for sharing and curating OER

Claire Goode, Wayne Mackintosh and Simonne Wood: Radical openness, incremental design: Maximising the reach of OER capacity development through open principles

Session chair: Gino Fransman

Number of webinar participants: around 60

Key OEGlobal Connect statistics on the webinar: 160 views

About the participants: The webinar participants (both the speakers and the attendees) seemed highly knowledgeable and familiar with the discussed topics both on the strategic level as well as from the practitioners’ perspective. Most were representatives of the educational ecosystem (teachers, professors, OER developers and IT support staff). The discussion revealed they are open to establishing platforms and new networks at the level of their institutions and/or internationally.

1. SUMMARY OF EACH PRESENTATION

Shironica P. Karunanayaka and Som Naidu: Reengineering open educational practices for systemic change

Shironica and Sam presented four initiatives implemented at the Open University of Sri Lanka (OUSL) which addressed the need to strategically plan and support OER capacity building, awareness-raising, use, creation and sharing of OER at the institutional and national levels, targeting all sectors. These initiatives were implemented by raising awareness among relevant stakeholders, providing systematic and continuous capacity building, and facilitating the integration of OER. They shared their approach towards the adoption of OER and OEP to bring about systemic change through these initiatives.

Among the key results of their initiative are:

  • Shifts observed in the perspectives and practices of the practitioners towards openness
  • The educators’ gradual progression towards OEP while applying knowledge
  • Changes in teachers’ OER use and
  • The development of competencies in understanding, searching, identifying, creating and sharing of OER and adopting OEP.

Link to the recording of this presentation: OEGlobal 2021 Webinar 12 Inclusive and equitable OER, Building capacity - YouTube

Martin Dougiamas and Paul Hodgson: MoodleNet 2.0 as a platform for sharing and curating OER

Martin and Paul presented the latest news on MoodleNET as an Open Edtech solution, developed by Moodle, that attempts to address the problems in the development of OER, e.g. the fragmented nature of what gets developed, the variable quality and the suitability of older content.

They emphasized that MoodleNet will be a federated network of multiple MoodleNet instances of quality educational resources. This will offer multiple benefits for learners, educators and educational institutions. MoodleNet will support by default different levels of access for end-users to ensure maximum accessibility and content quality. Everybody will be able to access MoodleNet as an anonymous/guest user and so be able to search and detect resources of their interest. As an Open Source project, MoodleNet will allow all organisations to create their own MoodleNet instances, with multiple benefits for the educators, e.g. allowing them to contribute a very small amount of resources that will collectively lead to the fast development of quality content in any language, sharing their OER and getting recognition for their work.

Link to the recording of this presentation: OEGlobal 2021 Webinar 12 Inclusive and equitable OER, Building capacity - YouTube

Claire Goode, Wayne Mackintosh and Simonne Wood: Radical openness, incremental design: Maximising the reach of OER capacity development through open principles

Claire, Wayne and Simonne reviewed how the OER Foundation’s award-winning ‘Open education, copyright and open licensing in a digital world’ free online micro-course has evolved and contributed to building the capacity of stakeholders to create, access, re-use, adapt and redistribute OER since the course’s inception in 2011. They presented the course’s origins and its evolution as the team has identified several shortcomings of the initial iteration of the course. Additionally, they emphasized how the pedagogy underpinning the micro-courses, embracing active learning and open educational practices, is itself designed to promote digital literacy skills and OER capacity, by offering learners both a pathway towards independent learning through the internet, and encouragement to create their own digital OER. Currently, the team is collaborating with OEGlobal to host an instance of the course on OEGlobal’s course site, as well as with UNESCO and the ICDE, who is leading a consultation for developing a French instance of the course. In this way, the process of refining and adapting the course both pedagogically and technically helps to develop the passion and capacity of the individuals and institutions involved.

Link to the recording of this presentation: OEGlobal 2021 Webinar 12 Inclusive and equitable OER, Building capacity - YouTube

2. KEY FINDINGS

  • For the capacity-building tools and processes to be effective, the online and face-to-face options have to be combined and complement each other.
  • The engagement of the key stakeholders (e.g. teachers and other practitioners) in creating OER is of major importance for the successful promotion of openness and the adoption, use and creation of OER among the broader groups of stakeholders.
  • Open is better for equity. It allows more possibilities for getting access and sharing and for people taking part in modifying and improving OER.

3. RELATION TO THE UNESCO OER RECOMMENDATION’S ACTION AREAS

Positive point:

  • To build the capacity of the stakeholders, OER should not be treated as a parallel process but be integrated into the ‘core business’ (e.g. into the core activities of the teachers, researchers, practitioners etc.).

Negative point (challenge):

  • A cultural shift is needed. In higher education, the reward systems are mostly based on individual outputs, therefore there is often a lack of motivation for the sharing of OER which highly impacts the inclusive and equitable access to learning resources. Therefore, learning how to share is of crucial importance – a big step and daunting for many stakeholders. But taking small steps can cover a big distance and build capacity.

4. COMPLEX ISSUES DISCUSSED IN THE WEBINAR

  • Activating an ecosystem (instead of operating in a vacuum): It is crucial to develop a framework that conceptualizes how we can engage people in the adoption of OER. Only in this way, the high-level questions can be answered: How and to what extent have the OER-related capacity development approaches resulted in bringing about systemic change? (for more information see the Learning Engine Framework by Maidu & Karunanayaka, 2014, slide 4 in their presentation).
  • Orchestrating the adoption of OER by developing an educational-focused approach that academics can relate to, as opposed to bringing in the OER-related solutions only from a technical perspective; applying a systematic approach to systemic change by getting high-level support and recognition. It is important to engage senior management of the institutions to support the OER-related capacity-building projects and initiatives, eg. by rewarding academics for the engagement in OE practices and the creation or use of OER. The sixth R – ‘Recognition’ has to be taken into consideration as a critical element. Namely, the systems we operate in don’t get us promoted and awarded outside the community.
  • Release early, release often: The radical openness philosophy represents the transformation from ‘sharing to learn’ (i.e. most of the open educators are comfortable with sharing their OER for the benefit of others) towards ‘learning to share’. The notion of actually learning how to share is a cultural shift and the key for successful capacity building as well as for encouraging inclusive and equitable OER.
  • Relate OER’s content to the SDGs. The initiative was given to connect OER content to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and their interrelated targets. This can support the interactions between engineering, social science and natural science topics (e.g. showing the good purposes of specific engineering projects). In this way, also the OER-related capacity building could take place in a more interdisciplinary way.

5. FINANCIAL ISSUES

  • Public funding is important for the successful engagement in capacity building activities of key stakeholders, whose contributions (once integrated into the OER and, if necessary, translated and adapted) can be promoted among their peers and other interested groups, to motivate them for their own OER creation, adaptation, reuse, remix etc.
  • But above all, it is important to make sure that all learners can complete all learning activities using free and open-source software, without the need to purchase a proprietary software license or sacrifice personal data by subscribing to the so-called ‘no cost services’. On the other hand, the freedom of choice needs to be respected and those learners who choose proprietary solutions should not be denied access to any of the learning activities.
  • Besides financial support also other forms of support by the key stakeholders are important, e.g. public authorities as project’s ambassadors, giving permission or sharing data to be used.
  • Quality support for the OER capacity building takes people’s time and people’s time is valuable. One should always pay for people’s time, but the resources and software should be open source and free.

6. TECHNOLOGICAL ISSUES

  • Collaborative platforms and learning management systems can help improve the social impact of OER projects and increase the sustainability/longevity of their content, even if it’s created as part of short-term or medium-term projects. These platforms and systems should be considered as sustainable containers for content that enable and empower stakeholders to easily create and curate content and to significantly improve access to content to a diverse set of stakeholders.
  • Real-time technological support for users is crucially important for building the capacity of stakeholders to create, reuse and adapt OER. E.g. the MoodleNet example shows the importance of designing the platform as an open-source project actively engaging the early adopters from the very beginning. In this way, the development of tools and platforms can be driven by actual OER creators and practitioners.