Announcement of a series of Online Discussion Forums
The capacity building workshops to date have identified a number of key issues that require further discussion. These include the following:
1. Advocacy and promotion of OER
2. Capacity building for the OER process
3. Quality assurance mechanisms and standardisation
4. Sustainability, specifically around funding and technological issues
5. Issues around "Where does one begin?" and "Which subject area does one start with?"
6. Copyright, licencing and the publishing industry
7. Incentivising faculty members and changing the nature of assessment for tenure
8. Accessibility and ICT skills
Similar issues were identified in discussions that took place amongst the OER Community. These have been captured in a set of UNESCO/IIEP publications published in 2009 under the title Open Educational Resources: Conversations in Cyberspace, edited by Susan D’Antoni and Catriona Savage
As part of the unfolding process THREE online discussion forums will be held over the coming months. These forums, which will have objectives similar to the aims of the two workshops, will address the above issues by broadening the discussion and extending it beyond the workshops themselves.
Rationale for the Forums
Raising awareness, on the one hand, and promoting informed discussion and debate, on the other hand, can contribute to promoting informed decision making on the part of stakeholders in Higher Education. There is, however, a greater need to open the debate to a larger body of stakeholders around the globe so as to have the best possible inputs.
Who should participate?
· Higher Education Institutions
· Members of the International Network for Quality Assurance Agencies for Higher Education
· Stakeholders in Higher Education
· Members of the OER Community
· Representatives of national Ministries responsible for higher education
Organisation of the Forum
The three forums are scheduled for the period September - November 2010 and will be organised in sessions of a week each, each week focusing on a different broad theme. For each forum knowledgeable persons (discussants) have been identified to draft short papers that will be used in introducing the theme. They will also participate in the discussion during the course of that week.
The scheduled dates and broad themes for the online discussion forums are:
23 – 29 September 2010 Taking OER beyond the OER Community: Policy and Capacity
20 - 26 October 2010 What works, what does not and under what conditions?
10 - 16 November 2010 Copyright and the development and re-use of OER
Please note that the nature of the discussion on any particular forum might necessitate a change in the broad theme and content of the following forum(s).
Documentation prepared by the discussants on each of the themes will be “posted” to each of the participants registered on the discussion forum about a week before the forum begins. This will enable participants to engage with the theme and prepare themselves for the discussion.
The forums will be moderated so as to keep discussion on track and, if necessary, the moderator might intervene. Subsequent to each of the forums the moderator will provide COL and UNESCO with a summary of the key points made by participants. These summaries will be made available to participants.
How to register as a participant
Should you be interested in participating in the forums please register at: http://lists.esn.org.za/mailman/listinfo/oer-forum A request for confirmation will be sent to the e-mail address that you used in the registration process to complete the registration process.
On registration you will be sent a welcome message and a document explaining how to participate, initiate a discussion thread and respond to posted messages.
We hope that you will be able to join us and look forward to your input on what is considered by many to be a crucial issue in Higher Education.
Trudi van Wyk (Commonwealth of Learning)
Zeynep Varoglu (UNESCO)
Mike Chiles (Moderator)