Vol 2 No 3 Newsletter

Latest resources
Website redesign
New discussion lists for health OER and OER technology
Building the Health OER Network at the OER Africa Convening
Sharing topics of OER under development

Health OER Request: Help HP find health OER animations and interactive content 


In July, Monica Mawoyo and Neil Butcher published an article in the Medical Educational Partnership Initiative (MEPI) monthly newsletter, explaining the concept of OER and its value to health education. Following this, Neil Butcher conducted a webinar for MEPI on 22 July 2011.


In every issue, this newsletter will be profiling a different health OER project to raise greater awareness of various organizations and individuals producing health OER.

Sickle Cell Anaemi

The Sickle Cell Open, Online Topics and Educational Resources (SCOOTER) (http://www.sicklecellanaemia.org/) is run by staff at the De Montfort University, UK, and focuses exclusively on creating and sharing resources on sickle cell anaemia and thalassaemia under open licences. The project, funded by the UK Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), was launched in 2010 on the 100th anniversary of the first publication that described the condition of sickle cell anaemia. The staff at De Montfort work with external collaborators to produce the OER. Resources available on the SCOOTER project include lectures which can be downloaded in Word and PDF format, can be viewed as narrated PowerPoint presentations, or listened to as podcasts.




Show your support by signing the declaration which indicates a commitment and support to open education and the African Health OER Network.



Latest resources

Since the May Newsletter, we have published 13 new resources, including:

To access these and other resources, click here.

Website redesign

The African Health OER Network website has a new look! We have refined the design, and also made other basic improvements, including cleaning up the layout, simplifying the navigation, improving search, and making the content more accessible, interactive and dynamic.

With the new features on the website, we’ve made it easier to:

  • View and download learning materials from our vast collection of resources and browse links to several other repositories.
  • Ask for assistance in finding specific Health OER through our request facility.
  • Share your own lectures and learning materials by using our tools and guides.
  • Use our collection of brochures, graphics, presentations, multimedia, and publications to inform colleagues about OER and help build a case for open sharing at their institution! 
  • Show your dedication in helping to improve the provision of African health education by signing the declaration, which indicates a commitment to support open education.

We invite you to explore some of the new features and write us to let us know what you think.

New discussion lists for health OER and OER technology

Connect with others who have similar roles to you in Health OER activities at other organizations and institutions through one of our three discussion lists.

In the January newsletter, we announced the debut of the dScribe group to discuss student engagement and copyright. This month, we launched two new groups: one for general health OER discussion (oer-health) and another for technology and multimedia (oer-tech). The oer-health list is for sharing any topics related to health OER, such as ideas for new learning materials, policies to support OER, relevant repositories and research, and more. The oer-tech list is for learning technologists, multimedia specialists, and other technology experts. This group discusses methods, software, and equipment for creating and distributing OER. Members of the oer-tech group also meet periodically for a community conference call.

Building the Health OER Network at the OER Africa Convening

From 16 - 18 May 2011, OER Africa hosted an OER convening at the Safari Park Hotel in Nairobi, Kenya. The purpose of the convening was to share experiences in OER and to discuss how to advance uptake of OER across Africa, as well as how to sustain current initiatives. The convening showcased OER projects in teacher education, agriculture, and health.

On May 18, there was a dedicated session for participants currently working in or interested in health education. Twenty-one participants attended the health session, including individuals from African universities currently developing and using health OER (University of Cape Town (UCT), University of Ghana (UG), Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), and University of Malawi (UNIMA); representatives from universities interested in health OER but not yet involved in the development and use of OER; as well as participants from University of Michigan (U-M), Open University UK Health Education and Training (HEAT), the U.S. National Institutes of Health Medical Education Partnership Initiative (MEPI); the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation; and Stanford University. At the session, Neil Butcher explained that OER Africa and U-M’s strategy for growing the African Health OER Network is to form partnerships with existing health consortia. The Network seeks to play a demand driven supportive role to consortia and institutions. Network participants from UCT, KNUST, and UG spoke about their experiences of developing and using OER, including OER policy developments underway at their institutions.

Sharing topics of OER under development

Creating OER, and any teaching and learning materials for that matter, can take a long time. Usually, people do not learn about OER that is under development until the final versions are completed and posted onto a website. Resources are often developed in isolation within a single institution, foregoing immense opportunity for collaboration. At the OER Africa Convening earlier this year, Greg Doyle, the Education Information Technology Manager from the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Cape Town (UCT), encouraged participants to share OER in progress. Below is a guest article from Greg about the benefits of sharing OER in progress and the materials currently under development at UCT.

UCT has been participating in the Health OER Network since 2009, and have completed OER that are posted on the UCT OpenContent website (as well as the Health OER Network spaces on OER Africa and Open.Michigan). We have also compiled a list of other repositories with Health OER content http://www.tinyurl.com/healthoerwiki.

During the development of the 8 resources that we have published, I realised that the time spent on creating OER, from development to publishing, was very long. This got me thinking about what advantages were possible if other health practitioners had known about the resources we were developing, and I speculated that they could have:

  • Notified us they were working on OER for a similar project and shared or recommended existing openly licensed content, enabling expeditious completion of the materials;
  • Offered quality assurance during development which would enhance the quality of our final product; and
  • Increased demand and usage of our materials if they had become aware beforehand of the resource topics under development.

We are currently working on 10 new resources that we aim to publish by early 2012:

  • Teaching material from 7 postgraduate courses: Occupational Medicine and Toxicology, Occupational Health Services Management, Sociology of Work and Industrial Relations, Environmental Health, Clinical Physiotherapy, a Clinical Educator’s Course and Pesticide Risk Management
  • 2 websites:  Dealing with Abuse in Women’s Health and Health and Human Rights, and
  • Collection of digital pathology images
Based on the envisaged advantages highlighted above, I feel it is potentially beneficial to discuss OER under development, and encourage other institutions to share what OER they are working on. This can be done via the new general health OER discussion list.

Health OER Request: Help HP find health OER animations and interactive content 

The Health OER Request Facility has received a request for health OER animations and interactive content from Hewlett-Packard (HP). HP is looking for content suitable for practicing health professionals and for use in continuing education. This request is in support of HP’s philanthropic activities through the Office of Global Social Innovation (OGSI). Two key areas of focus for OGSI include HIV/AIDS in children and maternal and child health. HP’s request is available here for your comments and contributions.

OER Africa U-M