Towards OER university: Free learning for all students worldwide
The OER Foundation will host an open planning meeting on 23 February 2011 in Dunedin, New Zealand, for the project, Open Educational Resources (OER) for Assessment and Credit for Students. UNESCO will provide support for streaming the meeting on the Internet to enable virtual participation by education leaders and interested persons.
OER encapsulates a simple but powerful idea that the world's knowledge is a public good. The Internet provides unique opportunities for everyone to share, use, and reuse this knowledge.
The OER Foundation, Otago Polytechnic (New Zealand), the University of Southern Queensland (Australia) and Athabasca University (Canada) are collaborating in this project as founding anchor partners to provide flexible pathways for OER learners to earn formal academic credit and pay reduced fees for assessment and credit.
"We extend an open invitation to all post-secondary institutions that care about sharing knowledge as a core value of education to join us in planning these sustainable learning futures," said Dr Robin Day, Chair of the Board of Directors of the OER Foundation.
Phil Ker, Chief Executive of Otago Polytechnic in New Zealand, highlights that "OER is the means by which education at all levels can be more accessible, more affordable and more efficient".
WikiEducator, a flagship initiative of the OER Foundation, administers the Learning4Content project - the world's largest training project to provide free wiki-skills' courses for the collaborative development of OER to thousands of educators from 140 different countries. "The Learning4Content model demonstrates that OER is cost effective and infinitely scalable," said Dr Wayne Mackintosh, Director of the OER Foundation and founder of WikiEducator.
The challenge is to find robust mechanisms for academic credit for these OER learners. "Students seek flexible study opportunities, but they also want their achievements recognised in credible credentials," said Sir John Daniel, President of the Commonwealth of Learning. "This important meeting will tackle the challenges of combining flexibility with rigour, which requires clarity in conception and quality in execution."
"The concept of free learning for all students is well aligned with UNESCO's global mission to provide education for all, which now seems imminently more doable with the mainstream adoption of OER in our formal education institutions," said Dr Visesio Pongi, Director of the UNESCO Office in Apia.
For more information on the meeting please contact:
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