You are here

Apereo Micro Conference: December 13, 2023

 Registration is closed for this event

Reflecting on anomalies in OER: Is ‘Open’ broken, and if so, can education fix it?

Despite UNESCO's introduction of the Open Educational Resources (OER) concept two decades ago and the unanimous adoption of the UNESCO OER Recommendation by member states in 2019, which requires government reporting on its implementation, OER still remains outside the mainstream in the majority of countries. This presentation will explore several anomalies in OER practices, suggesting that the concept of 'Open' in education is facing challenges. However, it posits that working examples of practical solutions, operating at the intersection of OER, free and open source software (FOSS), and cooperative practices, could offer valuable insights. These examples may serve as lessons (‘education’) for governments in small island developing states to help them overcome the current impasse in achieving sustainable open education solutions.

This brief presentation will illuminate anomalies, such as:

  • The reliance of most OER projects on donor funding for sustainability in the absence of government funded support despite the unparalleled opportunities for publicly funded education systems to lower costs and enhance equitable access to educational resources. 
  • Many governments reporting actions to support OER policies at the national and/or institutional level, but with scarce published research evidence demonstrating meaningful implementation of OER practices resulting from these policies.
  • A notable presence of mainstream OER initiatives whose replicability is limited by proprietary software dependencies.
  • Using artificial scarcity to drive competitive behaviours, rather than fostering cooperation for social good as evidenced during the transition to emergency remote teaching at the peak of the pandemic.

In conclusion, this session will draw upon the OER Foundation's experience in the Pacific region to demonstrate a component-based solution crafted from 'best-of-breed' FOSS technologies. This solution informs the early stages of developing the ‘FOSSDLE Commons’, which we hope will become a cooperative platform for shared open infrastructure, facilitating the sustainable implementation of the UNESCO OER Recommendation by small island developing states.

Wayne Mackintosh is managing Director of the OER Foundation headquartered at Te Pūkenga –  the New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology and holds a UNESCO Chair in OER.

Wayne is a committed advocate and user of free software for education. He has extensive international experience in educational technology, learning design and the theory and practice of open and distance learning (ODL). Previously, he was Education Specialist, eLearning and ICT policy at the Commonwealth of Learning (COL), an intergovernmental organisation based in Vancouver, Canada. Before joining COL he was Associate Professor and founding director of the Centre for Flexible and Distance Learning (CFDL) at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. Prior to moving to New Zealand, he spent eleven years working at the University of South Africa (UNISA), a distance learning institution and one of the world’s mega-universities. Wayne has participated in a range of international consultancies and projects including work for COL, the International Monetary Fund, UNESCO and the World Bank.

Wayne is the recipient of the 2019 International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE) Individual Prize of Excellence and in 2020 was conferred the Open Education Global Leadership Award for significant long-standing contributions to Open Education.

Please Note: The start time is 3:00 pm Eastern U.S. time

December 13th, 2023 from  3:00 PM to  4:00 PM
Online Event