OERu partner Unisa approves OER strategy
|Prof Narend Baijnath at the first meeting of founding OERu anchor partners.
“As the African University in service of humanity, we have a responsibility to share the gift of knowledge” said Narend Baijnath, Pro Vice-Chancellor at Unisa. “OER provides the vehicle for our institution to lead by example in widening access to educational opportunity.”
Unisa acknowledges that the vast quantities of content and teaching materials, especially openly licensed content, have significant potential to enhance the teaching and learning experience of its students. Unisa recognises that OER can therefore no longer be restricted to a marginal, socially acceptable, and ‘nice-to-have’ activity that a few academics dabble in on the fringes. Unisa’s realisation is that their use must be integrated into mainstream institutional teaching and learning activities if their true potential is to be harnessed in the process of pedagogical transformation.
Unisa’s OER strategy will guide the institution in terms of its use of OER, licensing of teaching and learning materials, and the management of its intellectual property, while charting new pathways for the development of high quality OERs.
Unisa has committed to align itself with the current educational landscape and to give attention to the imperatives of the White Paper for Post-School Education and Training in South Africa, the most recent policy from government. The White Paper sets out strategies to improve the capacity of the post-school education and training system to meet the country’s human resource needs. Significantly, OER are accorded high priority for the future. Through the strategic priorities included in the university's OER strategy, Unisa will harness existing resources available under open licenses, as well as subsequently releasing materials as OER.
The OER Strategy, recently approved by Management, encompasses five priorities. These are: managing teaching and learning material; harnessing OER for teaching and learning; releasing of openly-licensed materials; contributing towards global knowledge; and the review of institutional policies to incorporate values of openness.
The Unisa OER strategy also commits the University to our contribution agreement with the OERu network as a founding anchor partner. Unisa recognises that our engagement with the OERu and other open models is a viable strategy to expand University's reach without increasing cost.
About the Author
Kerry de Hart, OER coordinator in the Office of the Pro Vice Chancellor, Unisa
Unisa: Corporate logo of OERu partner, all rights reserved. Used with permission on the OERu website.