ICDE Panel on OER

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Patrick McAndrew
4 October 2011

Panel Discussion
Moderator: Denise Kirkpatrick, Pro-Vice Chancellor Learning, Teaching, and Quality, The Open University, United Kingdom

  • Manfred Antoni, Senior Publisher in the German Klett Verlag
  • Naveed M. Malik, Rector of Virtual University of Pakistan
  • Liu Dailin, Director of the Supervisory Committee, Open Unversity of China
  • Barney Pityana, Former Principal and Vice Chancellor of UNISA, South Africa

Liu said that in China there is lack of the enthusiasm and passion evident in the talks of Larry Lessig and Hal Plotkin, and the policy setting of the Netherlands. But there has been consistent investment in last few years - the production on 4000 "Best courses" but these have not been well shared. New work on repositories at the OUChina will also need to see what sustains. But there is enthusiasm by the learners.

Barney: there is a division between the "elite" involved in OER and those who face the "digital divide" withe expensive and limited connectivity. His fundamental critique is cultural - need to show sensitivity and opening up to cultural issues. Otherwsie will end up with one way flow. OER has the potential to overcome this - but needs to be more than joining in to be a real participant in an inclusive manner.

Naveed cited MIT OCW to make public exisitng content, that has been followed by OER by design. Now have OER as a side effect. Lack of faculty has led to greater use of technology to spread expertise through video lectures. Careful design means they are happy that they are of high quality ocw.bu.edu.pk has launched. Many are in Urdu/English and may not transfer but some such as Computer Science are world class and likely to apply more widely. Are there any users out there? The Not invented here syndrome does exist.

Manfred as a publisher described the OER world in Germany briefly.

When is the tipping point - Naveed it is still some time away. Started from "MIT content is not an MIT education" which limits impact. Need to decide that the "content" is the education. Manfred - the biggest publisher of OER is a German publisher "Springer-Verlag" but money is still needed from foundations or elsewhere. Barney - no tipping point until the playing field is leveled. The focus in teaching needs to be able to move from content, while in discipline terms content remains important. Liu - MIT OCW is very popular in China but videoed classroom allows some transfer of experience. Fascinated by seeing approach but just an early stage. Open, social, participatory material has yet to arrive.

The tweets [paraphrased by me]:

Naveed: Accessible, world-class education delivered to your doorstep. Bring your motivation.

Barney: Get rid of OER altogether and go back to basics and start all over again!

Manfred: @publishers @universities come here, learn, be open to OER

Liu: Integrate the culture of sharing in to higher education

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