Funded by The William and Hullett Foundation, OER Africa embarks on an impactful project to support the effective development and use of Open Education Resources in higher education systems in Africa.
As part of Saide’s OER Africa initiative, Ashton Maherry (Saide) and Neil Butcher (Neil Butcher & Associates) recently visited UnISCED to establish a partnership to promote the use of Open Education Resources (OER) at UnISCED. UnISCED (translated as Open University Institute of Sciences and Distance Education) is a Mozambican private higher education institution dedicated exclusively to open and distance education and was established in 2014.
The current William and Flora Hewlett Foundation grant in support of OER Africa, continues its focus of supporting effective development and use of OER in higher education systems in African universities. The project has four outcomes:
The visit to UnISCED forms part of a planned collaboration with at least four Universities including, Botswana Open University, the University of Namibia and UnISCED and hopefully one other, still to be determined.
Figure 1: Representatives from OER Africa and the UnISCED.
Several areas of the strategic partnership were identified during the UnISCED visit, these include, the development, implementation and evaluation of policies that support the use of OERs, capacity building of senior management, academics and academic librarians to use OERs to strengthen teaching and learning, the identification of possible free or commercial online resources that can help academics with their teaching and learning materials, such as simulators and virtual labs, and the exciting challenge of translating predominantly English resources to Portuguese. In addition, the possibility of UnISCED becoming a member of the African Association of Librarians (AfLIA) was explored and will be taken forward in the next three months.
UnISCED and Saide are in the process of finalising the Memorandum of Understanding. OER Africa and UnISCED are planning a survey to UnISCED staff to identify focus areas for professional development in relation to OER. A second visit to UnISCED is planned in the next few months to finalise the CPD framework, conduct an awareness raising session on open licencing to Senior Management and to facilitate a training session on how to find, use and adapt OER for academics.
Figure 2: Neil Butcher presenting on Harnessing OERs at UnISCED to UnISCED staff.