UNESCO Forum on the Impact of Open Courseware for Higher Education in Developing

Read the article at http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0012/001285/128515e.pdf

Background

The term “open educational resources” was first adopted for the first time at UNESCO’s 2002 Forum on the Impact of Open Courseware for Higher Education in Developing Countries. The forum was convened following MIT’s high-profile and revolutionary push to create “Open Courseware.” (Hopefully you, as a wonderful studious learner, have already read the previous section of this book where we touched on that.)  In order to garner popular support for this new area of education and increased collaboration, several representatives came together in Paris to hold the forum. Hundreds of delegates from many countries and higher educational institutions attended the forum.

Key Points

Because the forum focused on collaboration across institutions, countries, and cultures, many of the key points center around synergistic action verbs.

  • Foster awareness and use of OER – contributing to social inclusion and lifelong learning
  • Facilitate enabling environments for ICT – bridge the digital divide
  • Reinforce the development of strategies of policies on OER
  • Promote the understanding and use of open licensing frameworks
  • Support capacity building for the sustainable development of materials – support institutions and teachers in building OER
  • Foster strategic alliances for OER
  • Encourage the development and adaptation of OER in a variety of languages and cultural contexts.  This is important because many educators were worried that open courseware would be used to make developing countries dependent on first world countries for content and that content would westernize educational practices.
  • Encourage research on OER
  • Facilitate finding, retrieving and sharing OER
  • Encourage the open licensing of educational materials produced with public funds 

Discussion Questions

  1. Take a look at the breakdown of countries who attended the forum.  How may the country demographics have an effect on the development of open courseware?
  2. How do differences in culture affect the purpose and implementation of open courseware?

Additional Resources 

Grad student discussion YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6huxQ_s84c8&list=UU6VZ0eRBdOMrJwU4EtjxjQg