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On Wednesday 3 April 2019, Neil Butcher of OER Africa conducted a webinar for librarians, hosted by the African Library & Information Associations & Institutions (AfLIA). The webinar was the first in a series of three on open education resources (OER) for librarians. In the webinar, Butcher introduced librarians to OERs, and described the Creative Commons licences licensing conditions. Butcher explained that librarians need to spend time understanding the licences to be able to explain them to library users, so that these users can get maximum value from OERs and also create and share their own work. Butcher discussed the opportunities presented to librarians, students, and academics through the use of OER, as well as various OER repositories to be found online. These OER repositories provide a platform for content creators to show African content to the world, and ensure that African content creators are active in global knowledge networks. Butcher presented examples of African OERs in practice, and explained how institutional policies on OER use and Internet access are essential for African academic libraries. The webinar was well received, and over 100 librarians participated.

In Webinar 2 in the series, held on 17 April 2019, Lisbeth Levey introduced Open Access (OA) publishing and licensing models. Lisbeth described how to determine reputable OA publishers. Dr Tony Lelliott explained how OER and OA intersect, and how good research can help educators prepare up-to-date and relevant learning materials. He identified African institutional repositories and discussed the importance of institutional OA policies and repository management. By the end of this webinar, librarians understood the ramifications of high-cost journal subscriptions, how they can help researchers identify high-quality OA journals, and how to manage institutional repositories. Librarians should be able to situate themselves as champions of OA within the university community. Webinar participants responded with many questions for the presenters, indicating deep engagement with the topic.

Webinar 3, on 2 May 2019, closed out the series by contemplating the implications of OER for librarians. In the first two webinars, librarians learned how to find and assess openly licenced resources. In the final webinar, presented by Kirsty von Gogh, librarians discovered how to integrate what they learned about openly licences resources into their work. With access to openly licenced resources, librarians need to establish processes for managing this content and to find ways of supporting academics and students to access and use high-quality research and resources.

For more on the webinars series, visit: http://web.aflia.net/open-educational-resources-oer-webinar-series-for-african-librarians/

The webinars are available on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPaQeggWf7gVPSkLhYl9_8g

What's New

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected 363 million learners worldwide (UNESCO, 2020). The Commonwealth of Learning's (COL’s) experience shows that open, distance and online learning, if done well, can have the same outcomes as campus education without requiring teachers and learners to be in the same place at the same time. COL has compiled a selection of resources and tools as a first response to this crisis.

The Commonwealth of Learning (COL), an inter-governmental organisation headquartered in Burnaby, Canada, is committed to promoting learning for sustainable development. It does this through the use of distance learning and online learning technologies. For more than 30 years, COL has used innovative approaches to open the doors of learning not just for formal education but non-formal and informal learning that is accessible, affordable and available to the last person in the queue.

With an increasing number of states, provinces and even whole countries closing institutions of learning as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, 363 million learners worldwide are being impacted (UNESCO, 2020). How can we ensure that valuable time is not lost and our learners at all levels continue to learn wherever they are?

Many countries are planning to offer online learning as an alternative. COL’s experience shows that open, distance and online learning, if done well, can have the same outcomes as campus education without requiring teachers and learners to be in the same place at the same time. However, we recognise that not all schools, colleges and universities are currently well-prepared to fully utilise these approaches, and COL stands ready to share its expertise and resources to enable stakeholders to keep the doors of learning open for all.

In this time of crisis, a suitable response requires a renewed commitment to sharing and re-using open educational resources (OER); exploring novel ways to enable interaction between learners and other learners, learners and teachers, learners and content using online platforms; and to use appropriate technologies so that no one is left behind.

Some guidelines to consider include:

  1. Institutions should take emergency policy decisions to adopt alternative ways of teaching, including online learning.
  2. Ensure that learning is delivered using ICT tools such as radio, TV, mobile devices so that no learner is disadvantaged.
  3. Identify and use existing OER to provide quality learning.
  4. Develop and implement strategies for synchronous/asynchronous approaches.
  5. Encourage teachers to use free resources such as MoodleCloud to conduct online classes.

COL has compiled a selection of resources and tools as a first response to this crisis. The resources can be accessed below.

The eLearning Africa Report 2019 is a leading source of news, information, and analysis about ICT, EdTech, digital technology, learning and development.

The Report looks at the state of education, training, development and technology at this moment of unparalleled change.

The eLearning Africa Report 2019 is a leading source of news, information, and analysis about ICT, EdTech, digital technology, learning and development.

As African leaders seek to make a reality of the African Union's vision of a ‘transformed continent’ by 2063, setting their sights on the creation of the largest single market in the world and, as businesses assess the implications of a ‘fourth industrial revolution,’ the eLearning Africa Report looks at the state of education, training, development and technology at this moment of unparalleled change.

Founded in 2013 by the Open Education Global (previously Open Education Consortium), the goal of Open Education Week is to raise awareness and showcase impact of open education on teaching and learning worldwide. Open Education Week has become one of the most foremost global events recognizing high achievement and excellence in open education.

What is Open Education Week?

Founded in 2013 by the Open Education Global (previously Open Education Consortium), the goal of Open Education Week is to raise awareness and showcase impact of open education on teaching and learning worldwide. Open Education Week has become one of the most foremost global events recognizing high achievement and excellence in open education.

The week-long event spotlights amazing work from over a dozen categories including live, face-to-face events, webinars, projects, and resources.

For more information, visit the Open Education week website: https://www.openeducationweek.org/

For resources and projects, see: https://www.openeducationweek.org/resources

For Open Education Week 2020 online and offline events, check out: https://www.openeducationweek.org/events

Is your organization hosting any events for OE Week? Let us know in the comments below or let us know on Twitter: https://twitter.com/oerafrica