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On Wednesday 3 April 2019, Neil Butcher of OER Africa conducted a webinar for librarians, hosted by the African Library & Information Associations & Institutions (AfLIA). The webinar was the first in a series of three on open education resources (OER) for librarians. In the webinar, Butcher introduced librarians to OERs, and described the Creative Commons licences licensing conditions. Butcher explained that librarians need to spend time understanding the licences to be able to explain them to library users, so that these users can get maximum value from OERs and also create and share their own work. Butcher discussed the opportunities presented to librarians, students, and academics through the use of OER, as well as various OER repositories to be found online. These OER repositories provide a platform for content creators to show African content to the world, and ensure that African content creators are active in global knowledge networks. Butcher presented examples of African OERs in practice, and explained how institutional policies on OER use and Internet access are essential for African academic libraries. The webinar was well received, and over 100 librarians participated.

In Webinar 2 in the series, held on 17 April 2019, Lisbeth Levey introduced Open Access (OA) publishing and licensing models. Lisbeth described how to determine reputable OA publishers. Dr Tony Lelliott explained how OER and OA intersect, and how good research can help educators prepare up-to-date and relevant learning materials. He identified African institutional repositories and discussed the importance of institutional OA policies and repository management. By the end of this webinar, librarians understood the ramifications of high-cost journal subscriptions, how they can help researchers identify high-quality OA journals, and how to manage institutional repositories. Librarians should be able to situate themselves as champions of OA within the university community. Webinar participants responded with many questions for the presenters, indicating deep engagement with the topic.

Webinar 3, on 2 May 2019, closed out the series by contemplating the implications of OER for librarians. In the first two webinars, librarians learned how to find and assess openly licenced resources. In the final webinar, presented by Kirsty von Gogh, librarians discovered how to integrate what they learned about openly licences resources into their work. With access to openly licenced resources, librarians need to establish processes for managing this content and to find ways of supporting academics and students to access and use high-quality research and resources.

For more on the webinars series, visit: http://web.aflia.net/open-educational-resources-oer-webinar-series-for-african-librarians/

The webinars are available on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPaQeggWf7gVPSkLhYl9_8g

What's New

As the spread of COVID-19 continues around the world, face-to-face lectures have ceased in many countries and academics are trying to find practical ways of delivering curricula remotely. In response to this, the Association of African Universities (AAU) and OER Africa presented a series of four webinars on Emergency Remote Teaching (ERT) strategies.

As the spread of COVID-19 continues around the world, face-to-face lectures have ceased in many countries and academics are trying to find practical ways of delivering curricula remotely. In response to this, the Association of African Universities (AAU) and OER Africa presented a series of four webinars on Emergency Remote Teaching (ERT) strategies. In contrast to online learning, which is an experience that is planned from the beginning to be delivered online, ERT refers to ‘a temporary shift of instructional delivery to an alternate delivery mode due to crisis circumstances.’[1]

The webinars were intended to assist academics to implement ERT effectively. They covered a broad range of topics, including how to teach remotely; what content to cover; how to ensure that students are learning effectively; and how to communicate with students. We targeted academics with limited knowledge of online learning, aiming to provide a simple and practical guide to help them implement effective ERT for their students.

Recordings of all four webinars, along with their downloadable resources, are accessible here. To access information for individual webinars, click on the links below.

Webinar 1: Teaching effectively during the campus closure – Tips and tricks
Webinar 2: What to teach during campus closure
Webinar 3: How to know if learning is happening during campus closure
Webinar 4: Communicate effectively during campus closure

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To further support educators and students, OER Africa is also publishing regular communications on Open Educational Resources (OER) and their relevance within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. Click on the links below to access articles in this series.
OER Africa COVID-19 Statement (3 April, 2020)
Understanding OER in a Context that Necessitates Remote Learning (9 April 2020)
Showcasing OER Platforms: OER Africa (15 April, 2020)
Online (and offline) reading resources for children (23 April, 2020)
How to Find Open Content (30 April, 2020)
OER Repositories in Africa (8 May, 2020)

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OER courseware is also available on the website. Follow us on social media for links to our news and events.
       

 

[1] Hodges, C., Moore, S., Lockee, B., Trust, T. and Bond, A. (2020). The Difference Between Emergency Remote Teaching and Online Learning. Educause Review. Retrieved from https://er.educause.edu/articles/2020/3/the-difference-between-emergency-remote-teaching-and-online-learning

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, most African higher education institutions have halted face-to-face classes. But learning can continue, so OER Africa would like to share resources to help you to keep the doors of learning open.

 

Photo courtesy of Trust Katsande, Unsplash

 

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, most African higher education institutions have halted face-to-face classes. But learning can continue, so OER Africa would like to share resources to help you to keep the doors of learning open. In contexts with limited educational means, Open Educational Resources (OER) can contribute to the accessibility of education and can encourage a culture of flexible and collaborative learning, particularly if the learning materials are reused, customized, and shared. 

A useful way of accessing such resources is via online knowledge repositories. A knowledge repository is an online database that systematically captures, organizes, and categorizes knowledge-based information. A few examples of OER repositories for the African context are:

 

 

 

Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) OER – KNUST OER seeks to promote open learning through an open exploration that enables faculty, students, and the global academic community to access open licensed educational resources to maximize the impact and reach of their scholarly work through open sharing.

FundaOER, an initiative of VVOB, provides a repository of OERs to advance teaching and learning in Initial Teacher Education and Continuing Professional Development in South Africa. Articles, factsheets, videos, and other types of materials, covering different themes and phases, are freely and openly available on the platform.

The African Veterinary Information Portal (AfriVIP) contains materials pertaining to veterinary science. All its course materials, videos, animations, and images carry an open licence.

OpenUCT is the open access institutional repository of the University of Cape Town (UCT). It makes available and digitally preserves the scholarly outputs produced at UCT, including theses and dissertations, journal articles, book chapters, technical and research reports, and OER. These resources are organized into collections that are mapped against the university's organizational structure.

University World News recently published a list of South African OER, available here

For higher education courseware, the following resources are useful:

 

Following adoption of the UNESCO Open Educational Resources (OER) Recommmendation, UNESCO launched the Dynamic Coalition for the OER Recommendation on 2 March 2020

Following adoption of the UNESCO Open Educational Resources (OER) Recommmendation, UNESCO launched the Dynamic Coalition for the OER Recommendation on 2 March 2020.

The multi-stakeholder coalition aims to expand and consolidate commitments to actions and strategies, as well as reinforce international cooperation among all stakeholders in the four areas of the Recommendation:

1.     Building capacity of stakeholders to create, access, re-use, adapt and redistribute OER;

2.     Developing supportive policy;

3.     Encouraging inclusive and equitable quality OER; and

4.     Nurturing the creation of sustainability models for OER.

The work of the Dynamic Coalition has become more pertinent amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, as countless educational institutions have closed in response to various lockdown requirements. Millions of students and educators are required to study and work from home, thus necessitating greater use of freely available open and online learning resources.

In support of this, UNESCO has issued a call to support learning and knowledge sharing through OER amidst the COVID-19 crisis. Details about the call are available here.

In recognition of the importance of digital technologies, UNESCO has also launched a page featuring initiatives that it and its partners are involved in to harness the potential of digital technologies against COVID-19. You can access the page here.