Access2OER:Open Educational Resource Centres

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The original OERWIKI seems to be offline (December 2012). The Access2OER discussion pages are preserved here for reference! The final report in pdf is available here: Access2OER_Report,


The report:
Contents
Introduction
Introduction to the report
Part 1 - Issues
What is access?
Issues and classification
SuperOER
Part 2 - Solutions
Solutions
Solutions criteria
Stories and solutions
Case studies
Part 3 - Proposals
Proposals
Conclusion
Conclusion and next steps
Appendix
Links
Blogs
Additional sections:
Introduction
Welcome
Invitation
Solutions
Stories 1
Stories 2
Stories 3
Case studies v1
Access initiatives v1
Proposals
OER Training proposal
Open Educational Resource Centres
OER exchange infrastructure
OER exchange infrastructure diagrams
Additional materials
Access2OER:Additional Considerations
HowTos
Index
Wiki only
Contents
Welcome
Invitation
Some technical notes
Discussion Log and Quotes:
Contents
Contents
Discussion Week 1
Issues
Classification
Comments on SuperOER
Overview of week 1 activities
Discussion Week 2
Discussion related to solutions put forward
Snippets from the general discussion
Overview of week 2 activities
Discussion Week 3
general discussion
OER training discussion
resource centre discussion
oer exchange discussion
stories discussion
All discussion on one page.
Additional pages
OER
Glossary
For authors:

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The present page is used for writing the proposal. It includes some comments from the discussion, but these will be ruthlessly edited to form the proposal. The full discussion discussion thread itself is recorded here. Please edit the present page ruthlessly, to shape it into a proposal!

1 A proposal to build documentation that supports setting up Open Educational Resource Centres

This proposal is a variation on the 1st proposal (Access2OER:OER training proposal). This proposal emphasises infrastructural needs, that may need to be met before useful OER use can take place. This proposal goes somewhat beyond just OER. However, in my opinion OER materials could be a key incentive for embarking on setting up on Open Educational Resource Centre.

In terms of the classification of access issues, this proposal addresses:

  • Technical: Receiving OER
    • Access in terms of infrastructure (Lack of power/computers makes access hard.)
    • Access in terms of ability and skills. (Does the end user have the right skills to access?)
  • Technical: Access in terms of internet connectivity / bandwidth (Slow connections pose a barrier to access.)

There are also a significant amount of discussion around the one-laptop-per-child initiative, and it may thus be justified to frame a proposal on more infrastructural issues.

1.1 Establishing (Open Educational) Resource centres

The following message was sent to the list:

Quote image 1. Look into the existing structures in different countries and build on it where one exists. For example, some years back, Nigeria use to have National Educational Technology Center (NETC) in Kaduna, some States Ministry of Education use to have Education Resources Center (ERC) in their capitals, Some Universities do have Audio-visual centers (AVC) or the like, and some Local Government use to have Local School Management Boards LSMB). Cooperative Societies (CS) existing in many communities. UNESCO could look into these or similar structures in developing countries and map out how to networked them together to connect the rural communities.

NETC and ERC/AVC should have access to the internet and create browsing rooms for teachers for free or at very minimal costs. LSMBs should have dedicated server or even intranet to archive materials. Community learning centers should have at least one computer with solar energy system with enough power to run the computer or small low cost generator.

2. OER persons. You will need people with dedicated time. Existing staff member at each level can be purposely trained, and form a network or community of practice. Let us look at a scenario for upscaling and/or downscaling. The NETC professionals look into OER sites available on the internet. Seek permission from content owners in collaboration with UNESCO and similar agencies and other donors allow NETC to make replicates on Servers that can be distributed down the line up to the LSMBs intranet. NETC and ETC has the responsibility to update information their server on weekly bases at the latest. Teachers or resource person within the proximity of ERC should be free to go and browse both online and off-line content. Where the city school teachers found suitable materials for example geography lessons, ERC should be able to gather popular OER resources that many geography teachers are downloading. Burn them on CDs/DVD and send copies to LSMBs who in turn should make copies for each of the community learning center in their jurisdictions for remote community teachers to use as well. And where a remote community teacher sees a need that is not fully met. The resource person at the community level could send catalogue of such request to ERC via the LSMB.

3. Mobile phone is spreading very fast in developing countries, where telephone access is available, communities could take advantage of it to connect LSMBs and ERCs and vice versa.

4. The “one laptop per child” project or the proposed “one PSP per child” can be connected. I expect “one laptop per school” to be in place, at the least, or how are the teachers expected to prepare for educational effectiveness of the “one laptop per child”?

1.2 Further thoughts

How could the current OER community be helpful with such a proposal. One question is "How do you improve existing structures?", including "How do you connect the rural community?"

There are various strategies, and one proposal would be to develop OER training materials on this. For instance, the training materials might address:

  • How do you connect a rural school? How do you get affordable connectivity? How do you share a connection?
  • How do you bandwidth manage the connection, to make optimal use of the bandwidth?
  • How do you put together robust, maintainable, low-power ICT equipment? (What are the cost implications of solar power, deep cycle batteries, generator?)
  • How do you obtain OER materials for local use?
  • What training do you provide on ICT and OER?
  • How do you overcome 'brain drain', where trained persons leave for better jobs?

Of course much has already been written on this, but often documentation focusses either just on the ICT/hardware/connectivity aspects or on the OER aspects. For instance, there are plenty of instructions on installing Ubuntu, and there are plenty of instructions of installing Moodle. However, a while back I was struggling to put something together that goes like this:

  • Here's a blank computer.
  • Here's how you install Ubuntu/Edubuntu/LTSP
  • Here's how you install moodle
  • Here's how you get an OCW content package from MIT
  • Here's how you get that content package into moodle.
  • Here's how you do meaningful training / learning with that content package.

On their own, each of these issues has got recipes and solutions on the Internet, but they pertain to different communities, and in my view it's actually quite hard for a single individual to bridge that whole spectrum. However, in a rural ICT situation, the above spectrum is only a subset of the required skills. So there could be a call for training (and associated OER materials), that try to give a holistic picture, going all the way from an empty, rural building, to an OER equipped training centre.

1.3 A comprehensive guide?

Kim Tucker suggested that it would be useful to have a comprehensive, integrated guide.

It might also be useful to list existing components which may be adapted and updated for any specific implementation situation.

Here are a few:

OCW Toolkit: http://www.ocwconsortium.org/share/toolkit.html

WirelessAfrica: set up a wireless mesh network http://wirelessafrica.meraka.org.za/wiki/index.php/HowTos

tuXlab Howto: http://www.upfrontsystems.co.za/Members/jean/cookbook/docbook/cookbook.html

and perhaps others could be shared on the list and added to this page: Access2OER:HowTos

It might turn out to be a significant challenge to list all the resources and design a tool to compose/select a set suitable for a given situation. Our classification (for a purpose) issue arises again: here the purpose is to select resources in terms of their suitability in certain types of access to learning scenarios.

This task (designing a solution and selecting relevant learning and other resources) could be done when needed, and the project could focus on Methodology, research, collaboration, preparation (of the next custom guide) and mobilising multidisciplinary teams for implementation.

1.4 Add-on Proposal: the guidelines in action and research

Facilitate/convene events in communities for hands-on learning leading to a new situation.

For example, by the end of a one week event a community has

  • one of their schools networked with
  • a Moodle server, perhaps on a "digital doorway" or equivalent
  • a host of free/libre learning resources,
  • a mobile learning kit,
  • a custom eGranary library,
  • a facility to print and produce CD/DVD collections,
  • etc.

and the skills/knowledge to

  • reinstall the software,
  • administer/use the system,
  • get help,
  • develop their own locally relevant learning resources and on-line

knowledge resources

  • set up another school similarly
  • use and adapt the guides we develop for local conditions and

mobilise social entrepreneurs and others to generate further success stories.

(or some other solution appropriate for the context)

The community may also be primed in the months leading up to the event in terms of readiness (awareness, preparation, on-line learning, identifying business opportunities around sustaining the initiative, etc.).

In some cases, the school (for example) could become a hub for community wireless networking with links to other public facilities which may become similarly (internally) networked.

Ideally, the event should be locally led/run, optionally with a few "imported" experts for train the trainer type sessions.

During the lead-up to an event (several weeks/months with prospective participants), the new, peer-produced learning materials may be shared widely to enable pre-event preparation and permit others to apply the knowledge.

Lists and considerations, etc.:

  • Logical Analysis (or other approach to conceptualise the event/initiative)
  • Principles of engagement
    • cultural sensitivity
    • community-initiated and community-led
    • communicate, collaborate, cooperate, learn from/with and augment

existing initiatives

      • asset based/ appreciative approach
    • embracing change (agile)
      • on-going learning and sharing (action research, ...)
  • Curriculum elements
    • localisation
    • etc. (see below)
  • Existing relevant learning resources to adapt and include
  • Partners (educational, cultural, local communities, event organisation, ...)
    • NB It takes a special combination of people to pull off something like this
      • engage with people who have the relevant experience.

Funding for developing the initial set of integrated resources and for the events could come from various sources.