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OER10: Siyavula

Cynthia Jimes from ISKME speaking about the research carried out on communities in the Siyavula OER...

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Patrick McAndrew
24 March 2010

Cynthia Jimes from ISKME speaking about the research carried out on communities in the Siyavula OER project. OER10 24 March 2010

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Cynthia is from ISKME – who developed the OERCommons and carry out a range of research activities linked to OER. The work Cynthis reported is the Siyavula initiative in South Africa, started by Mark Horner in 2003 with support from the Shuttleworth Foundation. Siyavula uses the Rice Connexions platform for its content – focussed on producing collection of Science material. ISKME’s roles was to evaluate the way in which the community acted to support the project. A methodology of establishing a baseline, then building up through observations to interviews with teachers and others involved.

The survey and observations revealed worries about the technology and a fair level of availability, but only 39% have Internet into their schools. However there is also that the culture of collaborative development of teaching material that was already in place through “swap and share” groups around paper based content.

OER fit into this as sources for finding content and implementing it in their teaching. Workgroups on Connexions were used to establish communities such as a “Literature Circle” to discuss the methods. One teacher gave a great description of the reasons to use OER – to release material that otherwise is hidden in a folder.

There remain barriers in Technology, Culture and Mindsets. There was a lower level of actually uploading in Connexions than hoped for though most would be prepared to do it.


  • Engage by starting from what they know
  • Inspire to form OER communities
  • Support a hybrid practice model
  • Integrate discussions of cultural barriers

Patrick McAndrew
09:25 on 24 March 2010

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