The African Health OER Network is a sub‐programme of OER Africa. The Network seeks to enable participants to develop, adapt and share health educational resources to augment limited human and other resources in the health sector, and thereby to impact positively on overall health provision in Africa and beyond.
The Network is co‐facilitated by OER Africa, an initiative of the South African Institute
for Distance Education (Saide), and the University of Michigan (U‐M). Since 2008, the
following partners to the Network have been engaged in OER development:
- Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST).
- University of Ghana (UG).
- University of Cape Town (UCT).
- University of the Western Cape (UWC), with the project functioning independently in two different units, namely, the Faculty of Dentistry and the School of Public Health.
A formative evaluation of the Design Phase completed at the end of 2009 focused mainly on OER ‘take-up’ and production in the partner institutions. This evaluation concluded that expectations and contractual targets had been met, or exceeded by an impressive margin, with project coordinators and participants in each partner institution having engaged OER in creative ways that were most appropriate to their own contexts.
The second evaluation, a mid-term evaluation titled ‘Phase 2 Evaluation: Consolidation and Sustainability’ (OER Africa 2011),reinforced the finding that individual and institutional participants in the project had made significant progress in producing OER as well as in developing OER-supportive policy environments. This they had done in their own distinctive ways, in a manner that was consistent with their own ethos, contextual realities, strategies and resources.
The Prime Minister’s Office has initiated a program for the use of free digital textbooks under Creative Commons License in the polish schools.
The government has endorsed the value of open education in today’s digital society: Their digital school program, the largest government-sponsored open education program in Polish history, has created a full set of educational materials for grades 4-6 licensed under cc-by license (the fully free creative commons license).
The “Digital School” program with the “Digital Textbooks” component was initially drafted and proposed to the Prime Minister Office by the Modern Poland Foundation, the Center for Civic Education, and Creative Commons Poland (with the cooperation of the Prime Minister’s Office). All those organisations are members of the Coalition for Open Education (KOED), a network of NGOs and educational institutions promoting open education in Poland.
One of the most ambitious features was the creation of a national repository of training materials. Teachers in all of the test schools will have access to this nationwide database.
The first draft was accepted by the Ministry of Education, but at a later stage of the negotiations, the free licensing requirement was left out. Both the Coalition for Open Education and the Modern Poland Foundation took part in the public consultation process; their comments in support of free licensing were agreed and accepted.
As a result of the adopted regulation, schools will be computerized and all educational materials for grades 4-6 will have a Creative Commons license (CC BY 3.0) to allow for easy sharing and attribution. By accepting the regulation and now also accepting the materials, polish schools will soon be fully adopting the open education model.
The textbooks are available under the Creative Commons Attribution license, in an open format (with the full specification being freely available both technically and legally), and for Web access as required by the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. so far, it appears that the only non-accessible material may be some of the images, which contain embedded text and thus may be inaccessible to blind students.
The initiative is a success for the KOED movement, ending several years of hard work.
The Wikiwijs program has received two grants from the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. For the first period (May 2009-February 2011), € 4.385.000 was made available. For the second periode (March 2011 – December 2013) € 3.682.890 is available, totaling to € 8.067.890.earning materials.
The high cost of commercial print textbooks is a major concern for both students and their parents. To address these concerns, the Provost’s Office and the University Libraries launched the Open Education Initiative in the Spring of 2011. The Open Education Initiative is a faculty incentive program that encourages the use of existing low-cost or free information resources to support our students’ learning. Information Literacy will also be emphasized, creating opportunities for students to develop and practice the skills of critical thinking, reasoning, communication, and integration of knowledge and perspectives.
Now in its third phase, the Open Education Initiative has generated a total savings of over $750,000 for students in classes that utilize open educational resources and library material.
Following a successful pilot in Spring 2012, the Ohio Board of Regents has signed a partnership deal with publisher Flat World Knowledge to to “improve affordability, access and learning outcomes for college students”:
“We see real value and potential to scale the textbook pilot program so that more Ohio students can enjoy the benefits of lower costs, higher engagement levels, and improved learning,” said Chancellor Petro. “We encourage administrators and instructors across the state to learn how they and their students can participate.”
A case study at The University of Cape Town found that greater sharing of teaching materials under open licence led to higher quality materials as a result of greater focus on quality.
There is awareness among faculty that teaching materials shared under an open licence will be subject to far greater scrutiny than those created only for use within the relative privacy of the classroom. This realization has encouraged faculty to focus more on the overall quality of the finished OER.
A number of other benefits are identified, including:
- Increased visibility for the authors and their institutions
- Greater collegiate collaboration
- Greater awareness of OER from elsewhere
Following a successful pilot programme where 11 faculty members were each given $1,000 to create a digital textbook has proved successful enough to warrant further investment. Steven J. Bell, the associate university librarian for research and instructional services at Temple, said:
… discussions were under way for a second round of the alternative-textbook program, which will likely include another 10 grants. For the next set of projects, Mr. Bell said faculty members would be encouraged to experiment even more with their alternative textbooks, incorporating student suggestions and using social media.
In 2010, Khan Academy introduced badges as part of a program to promote gamification of learning (Wikipedia). Khan Academy Stories is a collection of unedited testimonials from people whose lives have been impacted by Khan Academy. As of April 10th 2014, the website contains 208 stories from January 1st 2010 to March 27th 2014; 13 of these make reference to the motivating aspect of badges. The following quotes are some examples:
I also love the tracking and levels. I actually look forward to math on your website. It may sound silly for an adult, but the badges and levels really do make a big difference. I am working to beat MY best, not keep up with instruction or other students (or worry about slowing down the class). From Brook, February 25, 2014
I am 25 and planning on changing careers, which will require me to take 10 courses at a community college – mostly in math and science. I haven’t practiced math since high school (so it’s been about 8 years), and have a lot of catching up to do. I’ve only been using Khan academy for 3 days, and I am addicted! The challenges, energy points and badges are really motivating, and I almost can’t stop practicing. Already, I am feeling more up to speed, and am excited to continue learning. It is also really helpful that whenever you are stuck, there is an explanation with steps for each problem. Thanks for taking the frustration out of math! From Brianna, December 2, 2013
My 3rd grader like it because of the interactivity, earning points and badges. It keeps his attention unlike books. From Shane, August 2, 2012
My teaching partner = the other fifth grade teacher – started using it too. The kids loved the points and the “rivalry” was on. When our classes were about to hit 2 million points, there was a huge competition to be the first – when else would you hear whooping and the sound of furious problem solving at 2:30pm on a Friday? From Sonya, April 19, 2012
Results from an open online survey with 59 responses from individuals in 15 countries show evidence that the majority of users of the Learning to Teach Online materials were higher education teachers in Australia, the project’s target audience. However, results also reveal that these videos proved relevant to teachers in other educational sectors around the world –school 21%, adult education 15.8% and vocational training 7%.