NZ National Commission for UNESCO supports OER mOOCs for capability development at OERF

Posted by Wayne Mackintosh on 15 December 2014

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The New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO has called on the Open Education Resource Foundation (OERF) to use their tested micro Open Online Course (mOOC) technique to deepen the understanding of open educational practices among educators in New Zealand and around the globe. Open educational resources (OER) and practices (OEP) encourage the rediscovery, reuse, and recontextualization of the world’s best teaching materials. Just as Open Source has revolutionized the software industry, open educational practices are providing exciting, classroom-refined options for teaching at all levels.

The Open Education Resource Foundation leads by putting all this into practice, mixing these top materials and social networking technologies to produce bite-sized courses that can be engaged in by busy educators at different depths. All of the material is open and can be read and studied by anyone interested, at any time. Learners are encouraged to engage with others to deepen their understanding and spur collaboration. And, for those that are interested, assessment of the course assignments is available for a nominal fee, which can result in credit toward the Graduate Diploma in Tertiary Education offered through the OERu at Otago Polytechnic.

The 2012 Paris OER Declaration convened by UNESCO calls on governments worldwide to openly license publicly funded education materials for the benefit of society. However, few educators have the necessary skills or experience in designing open courses using OER. The OER Foundation will develop two mOOCs: First, Dimensions of Openness in Education which will explore the concepts of OEP, open policy, open source and open teaching to achieve more sustainable education for all. The second course, Digital Skills for Collaborative OER Development will offer learners a hands-on experience using digital technologies for collaborative OER development to publish an online OER learning pathway.  These courses will supplement the popular Open Content Licensing for Educators mOOC developed with funding support from the UNESCO Apia Office which to date has provide free learning opportunities to +3000 learners around the world.

The New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO has awarded a grant to support the Dunedin-based Open Education Resource Foundation in gathering materials, authoring to fill any gaps, structuring into a course format, and providing the technical infrastructure to make these micro courses available for free to anyone with an Internet connection. The courses in turn spread the knowledge and techniques required for educators to duplicate these successes in their own fields. The project will also convene a two-day workshop for ten New Zealand tertiary educators from OERu partner institutions.

 “The OER Foundation project is well aligned with the strategic priority of the National Commission to contribute to quality life-long education for all in the area of technological change. Developing these courses as OER also promotes UNESCO’s global strategic priority of facilitating universal access to information and knowledge for educators worldwide."

Elizabeth Rose, Secretary General of the Commission

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“This grant from the National Commission will enable us to configure OER materials for delivery using two popular open source platforms including Open edX and WordPress,” says Dr. Wayne Mackintosh, UNESCO, Commonwealth of Learning and International Council Open and Distance Education Chair in OER at Otago Polytechnic and the OER Foundation. “The experience we gain from these implementations will enable us to share lessons learned for New Zealand institutions and the OERu international partners who would like to innovate by augmenting delivery options in parallel with their local learning management systems. ”