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UNESCO celebrates Open Education Week: Identifying quality OER using emerging technologies

The key question: How to find quality open educational resources (OER)? was at the forefront of the UNESCO OER Dynamic Coalition webinar held on 10 March 2022, during Open Education Week.
Quality contents

The UNESCO OER Recommendation is the first UNESCO legal instrument that focuses on supporting technology and open education. Action Area 3 of this Recommendation, Encouraging effective, inclusive and equitable access to quality OER, calls for regular quality assurance reviews of OER through evidence-based standards, benchmarks and related criteria for the quality assurance of OER.

This webinar provided an overview of the state of OER quality models, the impact of metadata on OER as well as the role of innovative technologies such as AI in this area.

State of the art OER

The webinar highlighted the Encore+ European Catalyst Network project which aims to amplify existing OER initiatives and platforms. The project noted major challenges to quality OER such as the fragmentation of the OER community at the detriment of a regional or global repository ecosystem, the lack of innovative approaches based on OER, and the need for further work on the OER quality paradigm.

Greater involvement of the private sector, interoperability between OER repositories, coordination of initiatives within the education sector, and awareness of the potential of open education and OER to serve higher education and lifelong learning were highlighted in this discussion as critical elements for further development in this field.

Ensuring the quality of OER should be a fundamental concern of the community and not only of educators.
Ellen Francine Barbosa Associate Professor, Institute of Mathematics and Computer Science, University of São Paulo, Brazil

Towards scalable quality assurance of OER

The webinar also provided an overview on the impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) on OER. In this respect, the EU X5GON project emerged as a good practice as it enables a convergence of OER platforms, providing equal accessibility to all, and leverages AI to index, understand and match content lifelong learners with some 100,000 materials indexed in the system.

We need to use AI to improve the user experience in OER search and to achieve quality OER.
Sahan Bulathwela Research Assistant, for Human AI and X5GON, University College London, UK

Background

The OER Dynamic Coalition was established further to the adoption of the UNESCO OER Recommendation by Member States at the 40th Session of the UNESCO General Conference in November 2019. The objective of the Dynamic Coalition is to support governments in implementing the OER Recommendation by promoting and reinforcing international and regional cooperation among all stakeholders in the first four areas of the UNESCO OER Recommendation.

Open Education Week was launched in 2012 by Open Education Global as a collaborative, community-built open forum. Every year OE Week raises awareness and highlights innovative open education successes worldwide.