The Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks invites submission of papers for a special issue focusing on Online Learning and Open Educational Resources (OER) for international development. The articles will focus on reaching rural or other hard-to-reach populations using education technologies that work for these populations. Some of the tools will include OER, online learning, blended learning, and mobile learning. OERs are learning resources made publically available and free to use, modify and redistribute. These include books, presentation materials, assessments and other types of resources. Online and blended learning is being used throughout the developing world in formal and informal learning in a variety of contexts from classrooms to mobile platforms. The issue will also focus on educational transformation where students will be engaged in the creation of resources and participatory research that helps communities develop.
Traditional vocational institutions, colleges and universities in emerging countries are facing unprecedented demand. Likewise, the demand for informal training is growing. Internet growth is on the verge of exploding and mobile platforms are already ubiquitous in many countries. Yet the scarcity of financial resources requires practitioners to develop creative solutions and innovative practices. Online and blended learning, and OER, offer promising solutions to meet demand and improve quality within the context of developing nations.
This special issue will explore current applications, research and future directions for online learning and OER in the context of developing countries. Papers should present a research study, an analysis or detailed case study on the topic, including data where possible. Papers might focus on trends, project outcomes, road-tested methods and promising models including implications for online education where appropriate.
Manuscripts are due January 14, 2013 for the May issue.
Full Text: Special JALN issue on Online Learning and Open Educational Resources for International, Rural and Hard-to-Reach Populations, CFP | The Sloan Consortium.
by Ishan Sudeera Abeywardena (Author)
COL (June 2012)
Open Educational Resources (OER) are a relatively new phenomenon which is fast gaining academic credibility as well as the attention of policy makers on a global scale. With increased funding by governmental and non-governmental organisations paired with generous philanthropy, the volume of rich OER available freely to the masses has grown exponentially. As with any new academic movement, the initial challenge for the OER movement was to spread this new philosophy into mainstream academia whereby the use of OER in teaching and learning becomes accepted practice. With strong advocacy by Open Distance Learning (ODL) institutions buttressed by organisations such as the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) and UNESCO, OER is currently achieving this objective and is rapidly gaining acceptance as a credible source of knowledge in many an academic community.
The whole philosophy of OER rests on a foundation consisting of two fundamental concepts which are (i) free and open access to knowledge; and (ii) the ability to freely adapt and re-use existing pieces of knowledge. Even though the OER movement has been quite successful in firmly planting the first concept in the academic community, the second concept of re-use and adaptation is still to take flight on a larger scale. Although there are many inhibitors to the wider adoption of the re-use concept of OER, one of the major inhibitors is the current lack in capacities among the various stakeholders to effectively utilise existing technologies to adapt and re-use OER. This in turn has created a community of passive OER consumers who are not contributing to the expansion of the movement.
The objectives of this report are to (i) explore the current technology landscape with respect to both proprietary as well as Free and Open-source Software (FOSS) technologies; (ii) identify techniques, actual and in development, for re-use of OER materials; and (iii) discuss the implementation in the context of a typical ODL agency.
This peer-reviewed report is a detailed catalogue of technologies available to teachers as well as learners for the re-use of OER material in the forms of text, HTML, audio, video and data. It also compares the technologies based on access, openness, usability and availability. The report will serve as a resource for teachers and learners for re-using OER mater.
Download: Commonwealth of Learning – A report on the Re-use and Adaptation of Open Educational Resources (OER): An Exploration of Technologies Available.
Open educational resources are a mainstay at Open High School of Utah, a Salt Lake City, UT-based public charter school that opened its virtual doors to students in 2009. Free for students, the institution was founded by David Wiley, an associate professor of instructional psychology and technology at Brigham Young University and the founder of OpenContent.org.
Wiley said he wanted to create a school that relied completely on open content for its instructional subject matter. His vision is playing out successfully at Open High School, which gleans about 90 percent of its coursework from such resources. Teachers are given six to nine months to gather materials and develop their own curriculum before presenting the content, which is housed entirely on the Web and accessible to users on a 24/7 basis.
Being one of the first high schools in the nation to rely almost entirely on open resources has been both challenging and rewarding for the staff at Open High School. Here, DeLaina Tonks, director, discusses the school’s OER strategies and reveals how the innovative institution works through the challenges associated with open content.
Full Text: Running a School on Open Educational Resources — THE Journal.