Backchannels | What a new university in Africa is doing to decolonise social sciences | Society for Social Studies of Science

“#1: By 2019, everything we assign our students will be open source

Like most institutions of higher education in Africa (and across much of the world) ALU’s library is limited. Students often deal with this by flouting copyright and piracy laws and illegally downloading material. We don’t want to train our students to become habitual law breakers. Nor do we want them to accept second-tier access to commodified knowledge.

Our aspiration is that by 2019 everything we assign in our programme will be open source. This will be achieved by building relationships with publishers, writers and industry leaders, and negotiating partnerships for equitable access to knowledge. This will ensure that a new generation of thinkers is equipped with the analytic tools they need.

It will also move towards undoing centuries of knowledge extraction from Africa to the world that has too often taken place with little benefit to the continent itself….”

Open Textbooks | Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources

“Find open and free textbooks that may be suitable for use in community college courses from the list of Subjects provided. For descriptions of these open textbooks, see listings in MERLOT and OER Commons. Most of the textbooks on this list have Creative Commons (CC) open licenses or GNU-Free Document License. Others are U.S. government documents in the public domain (PD)….”

Bologna Open Recognition Declaration (bord)

“Open access to knowledge and education is widely recognised as an irreplaceable factor for social and human growth and an indispensable component to consolidate and enrich citizenship, capable of giving citizens the necessary competencies to face the challenges of the new millennium, together with an awareness of shared values and of belonging to diverse social and cultural spaces. The importance of education and educational cooperation in the development and strengthening of stable, inclusive, peaceful and democratic societies is universally acknowledged as paramount. We now need to add open recognition to this list….This can be supported by encouraging the adoption of more open currencies to capture and share learning achievements whether in formal, informal or nonformal settings….Our consortium is coordinating its actions to reach the following objectives in the short term, which we consider to be of primary relevance in order to establish an Open Architecture for the Recognition of Learning Achievements: [1] Open recognition for all: First, we encourage everyone—learners, educators, citizens and organisations—to actively participate in and take ownership of the emerging open recognition movement. Participating includes: taking personal responsibility in one’s own learning and in the recognition of others’ achievements, contributing to the design, implementation and/or exploitation of local and/or global systems of recognition. [2] Open recognition technologies and infrastructure: Second, we call on the community of learning practitioners and technology developers to establish a trustworthy system of human and machine verifiable learning credentials and to adopt open standards facilitating the comparability and transferability of learning credentials. [3] Open recognition policies: Third, we call on governments, public authorities and educational stakeholders to implement inclusive policies facilitating and encouraging the recognition of learning achievements whether in formal, non-formal and informal settings, with bridges between all three. Those policies should ensure the existence of multiple developmental pathways, increased flexibility and accessibility and the inclusion of socially excluded and disenfranchised groups….”

Horizon Report: 2017 Higher Education Edition

“Learning ecosystems must be agile enough to support the practices of the future. In using tools and platforms like LMS, educators have a desire to unbundle all of the components of a learning experience to remix open content and educational apps in unique and compelling ways….While emerging technological developments such as digital courseware and open educational resources (OER) have made it easier to engage with learning resources, significant issues of access and equity persist among students from low-income, minority, single-parent families, and other disadvantaged groups….”

MOOCs as accelerators of social mobility? A systematic review

“Due to their perceived scope and openness to socially underprivileged groups, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have been presented as tools to enhance social mobility. However, there has also been evidence to suggest that MOOCs are mainly beneficial for privileged groups and could even contribute to an increasing gap in educational opportunities between privileged and underprivileged populations. This systematic review has evaluated 31 empirical studies to examine how MOOCs benefit the socially privileged in comparison to underprivileged groups. The literature has pointed out specific formal barriers that might make MOOCs less accessible for underprivileged learners. In addition, enrollment demographics displayed that the majority of MOOC learners is well educated, employed and from developed countries. Finally, the literature suggested that privileged learners could be more likely to complete a MOOC. Nevertheless, the literature indicated a notable share of underprivileged learners that would otherwise not enjoy higher education. Moreover, it is suggested that certain MOOCs might serve underprivileged learners more than other MOOCs. The implications of these findings and recommendations for future research will be discussed.”

Open Educational Resources – Hewlett Foundation

“In 2002, the Hewlett Foundation began investing in open educational resources (OER), which are high-quality teaching, learning, and research materials that are free for people everywhere to use and repurpose.

We were one of the first institutions to invest in the field, at a time when MIT’s Open Courseware initiative and Creative Commons were in their infancy. Since then, the foundation has partnered with several content producers as well as technical assistance advisors and policy groups to support the creation of an ecosystem of OER groups.

In addressing the costs and quality of learning in the U.S. and the dearth of high-quality course materials, we see an unprecedented opportunity to scale OER and unleash its potential to improve education for the future. Our grantmaking supports mainstream adoption and effective use of openly licensed educational resources that provide students around the world greater access to a world class education….”

Open Course Library – Home

“The Open Course Library (OCL) is a collection of shareable course materials, including syllabi, course activities, readings, and assessments designed by teams of college faculty, instructional designers, librarians, and other experts. Some of our materials (also called open educational resources, or OER) are paired with low cost textbooks ($30 or less). Many of the courses can be taught at no cost to students. Unless otherwise noted, all materials are shared under a Creative Commons (CC BY) license.OCL courses and materials have undergone testing for accessibility and have been designed using the industry-standard Quality Matters (QM) rubric for assessing the quality of online courses….”

GO-GN Global OER Graduate Network

“The Global OER Graduate network is a global network of PhD students involved in projects, policy development and implementation strategies on open educational resources (OER).  At the core of the network are doctoral students whose research projects include a focus on openness in education through, for example, OER, MOOC, open data, open licensing and open access publishing. Around these students is a network of experts, supervisors, mentors and interested parties. The aim of the GO-GN is to both raise the profile of OER research, and offer support for those conducting PhD research in this area.

In addition to publishing details of events, funding opportunities, publications and webinars, the site provides a space for members of the network to discuss research activities with peers and experts….”