13.10.2011 - UNESCO

Open Educational Resources to be discussed at conference in Namibia next week

NOLNet, in collaboration with the British Council, UNESCO and the Namibia Open and Distance Learning (ODL) institutions, is organizing a conference on Open and Distance Learning Institutions in Windhoek on 18 and 19 October 2011. The two-day Conference will be held under the theme: Open Educational Resources and the Opportunities for Expanding Open and Distance Learning. The deputy Minister of Education will officially deliver a keynote address at the opening ceremony.

The Conference aims at repositioning ODL as a discipline that can continue to play an important role in the development of societies across the globe and to assist in meeting the Education for All goals. Further, it will explore, among others things, issues of access, equity, quality and how Open Educational Resources (OER) can enhance best practices among ODL institutions and partners worldwide.

In addition to the main activities of the Conference, a dedicated session on understanding the philosophy of OER, facilitated by UNESCO, is scheduled for the morning of 18 October. The OER concept and philosophy is still not widely understood, especially in Africa, and its value for open and distance learning is rarely recognized. Therefore, this session will address:

  • economic analyses of how OER can be developed and sustained;
  • creation of OER and their location;
  • quality assurance;
  • finding and using OER; and
  • policy issues that are necessary to advance OER.

The OER session will also highlight the comprehensive UNESCO OER Programme including:

  • UNESCO OER Platform;
  • UNESCO – Commonwealth of Learning (COL) OER Policy Guidelines;
  • OER Community on the WSIS knowledge communities platform;
  • OER Research Chairs;
  • OER Projects such as UEMOA; and
  • 2012 World OER Congress.

The Conference is organized around keynote addresses and paper presentations that would stimulate as much discussion and learning as possible. Various papers on the following themes will be presented:

  • Access, Equity and Quality in ODL;
  • Collaboration and Partnership in ODL;
  • Experiences, Challenges and Opportunities in ODL Systems Review and Development; and
  • Research and Evaluation Needs.

As can be seen from above, the Conference will traverse a variety of topics, bringing together scholars of diverse backgrounds and interests. The event is open to all interested people, including opinion and policy makers, officials from the Ministry of Education, NGOs, development partners, senior management at ODL institutions, professors and lecturers, researchers in ODL and OER, as well as individuals with interest in advancing the ODL and OER agenda in their societies.

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