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Open Educational Resources and Repositories

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Site: Tenegen
Course: TC05 - Sharing Open Learning Objects
Book: Open Educational Resources and Repositories
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Date: Saturday, 2 March 2024, 3:09 PM

The "Open Educational Resources" world

The Open Content model, which was described in the previous book, is a general idea that has been developed and implemented in different fields.

Specifically in the educational sector, the term Open Educational Resources (OER) is directly related to the more general concept of open content.

Even though the term "Open Educational Resources" was coined in 2002 -- which was when the Sloop project started -- the term was not widely used, and it was not adopted in the Sloop project itself, since very few people would have recognised it.

By contrast, the Learning Object concept was well known in educational settings, and in order to include the main principles of OER, the concept of Open Learning Object was defined.

In this book we will show how the two concepts are closely related.



Creative Commons License
Open Educational Resources and Repositories Book by Giovanni Fulantelli is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribuzione-Non commerciale-Condividi allo stesso modo 2.5 Italia License.

The origin of the concept

Unesco Logo
At the conclusion of the 2002 Forum on the Impact of Open Courseware for Higher Education in Developing Countries, organized by UNESCO, the participants expressed their satisfaction and their wish to collaboratively develop a universal educational resources available for the whole of humanity, to be referred to henceforth as Open Educational Resources.

The idea was to promote an open provision of educational resources, enabled by information and communication technologies, for consultation, use and adaptation by a community of users for non-commercial purposes.

Note: you can read the Report of the Forum (English version - French version)

Since then, a movement of thought has developed that considers it necessary to allow everyone free access to knowledge for educational purposes.

However it is really only since 2007, following the publication of 3 important documents on this subject, that the importance of OER become central to the political agenda of many countries around the world. Many now strongly believe that it is extremely important to involve teachers not only in the debates surrounding the production and sharing of OER, but above all, in the active production of educational content.

In the following, there are references to website with free learning content and to documents  (click on the pictures or follow the link if you want to download the publications; they are in English)

Using deep web search engines for academic and scholarly research

 




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Open Educational Practices and Resources: OLCOS Roadmap 2012 (OLCOS - Open e-Learning Content Observatory Services)


Following these publications, the Council of Europe specifically highlighted the strategic importance of policies that promote the adoption and development of OER in the school system.

Even the United Nations have highlighted the strategic value of OER.


If you are interested in better understanding the relevance of OER for international policies, please refer to the booklet: "OPEN EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES. THE WAY FORWARD. DELIBERATIONS OF AN INTERNATIONAL
COMMUNITY OF INTEREST
", by Susan D'antoni (in English only).


Cape Town Open Education Declaration

During the same period, the importance of "opening" education has been central to several debates around the word.

These debates have produced important strategies to expand the open education concept. Amongst other things, it is worthwhile to mention the:

The Cape Town Open Education Declaration

The Cape Town Open Education Declaration arose from a small but lively meeting convened in Cape Town in September 2007. The aim of this meeting was to accelerate efforts to promote open resources, technology and teaching practices in education.

Convened by the Open Society Institute and the Shuttleworth Foundation, the meeting gathered participants with many points of view from many nations. This group discussed ways to broaden and deepen their open education efforts by working together.

The first concrete outcome of this meeting was the Cape Town Open Education Declaration. It is at once a statement of principle, a statement of strategy and a statement of commitment. It is meant to spark dialogue, to inspire action and to help the open education movement grow.

Open education is a living idea. As the movement grows, this idea will continue to evolve. There will be other visions, initiatives, and declarations beyond Cape Town. This is exactly the point. The Cape Town signatories have committed to developing further strategies, especially around open technology and teaching practices.

(originally published in http://www.capetowndeclaration.org/)


Read the Declaration

Cape Town Open Education Declaration:
Unlocking the promise of open educational resources

We are on the cusp of a global revolution in teaching and learning. Educators worldwide are developing a vast pool of educational resources on the Internet, open and free for all to use. These educators are creating a world where each and every person on earth can access and contribute to the sum of all human knowledge. They are also planting the seeds of a new pedagogy where educators and learners create, shape and evolve knowledge together, deepening their skills and understanding as they go.

This emerging open education movement combines the established tradition of sharing good ideas with fellow educators and the collaborative, interactive culture of the Internet. It is built on the belief that everyone should have the freedom to use, customize, improve and redistribute educational resources without constraint. Educators, learners and others who share this belief are gathering together as part of a worldwide effort to make education both more accessible and more effective.

The expanding global collection of open educational resources has created fertile ground for this effort. These resources include openly licensed course materials, lesson plans, textbooks, games, software and other materials that support teaching and learning. They contribute to making education more accessible, especially where money for learning materials is scarce. They also nourish the kind of participatory culture of learning, creating, sharing and cooperation that rapidly changing knowledge societies need.

However, open education is not limited to just open educational resources. It also draws upon open technologies that facilitate collaborative, flexible learning and the open sharing of teaching practices that empower educators to benefit from the best ideas of their colleagues. It may also grow to include new approaches to assessment, accreditation and collaborative learning. Understanding and embracing innovations like these is critical to the long term vision of this movement.

There are many barriers to realizing this vision. Most educators remain unaware of the growing pool of open educational resources. Many governments and educational institutions are either unaware or unconvinced of the benefits of open education. Differences among licensing schemes for open resources create confusion and incompatibility. And, of course, the majority of the world does not yet have access to the computers and networks that are integral to most current open education efforts.

These barriers can be overcome, but only by working together. We invite learners, educators, trainers, authors, schools, colleges, universities, publishers, unions, professional societies, policymakers, governments, foundations and others who share our vision to commit to the pursuit and promotion of open education and, in particular, to these three strategies to increase the reach and impact of open educational resources:

1. Educators and learners: First, we encourage educators and learners to actively participate in the emerging open education movement. Participating includes: creating, using, adapting and improving open educational resources; embracing educational practices built around collaboration, discovery and the creation of knowledge; and inviting peers and colleagues to get involved. Creating and using open resources should be considered integral to education and should be supported and rewarded accordingly.

2. Open educational resources: Second, we call on educators, authors, publishers and institutions to release their resources openly. These open educational resources should be freely shared through open licences which facilitate use, revision, translation, improvement and sharing by anyone. Resources should be published in formats that facilitate both use and editing, and that accommodate a diversity of technical platforms. Whenever possible, they should also be available in formats that are accessible to people with disabilities and people who do not yet have access to the Internet.

3. Open education policy: Third, governments, school boards, colleges and universities should make open education a high priority. Ideally, taxpayer-funded educational resources should be open educational resources. Accreditation and adoption processes should give preference to open educational resources. Educational resource repositories should actively include and highlight open educational resources within their collections.

These strategies represent more than just the right thing to do. They constitute a wise investment in teaching and learning for the 21st century. They will make it possible to redirect funds from expensive textbooks towards better learning. They will help teachers excel in their work and provide new opportunities for visibility and global impact. They will accelerate innovation in teaching. They will give more control over learning to the learners themselves. These are strategies that make sense for everyone.

Thousands of educators, learners, authors, administrators and policymakers are already involved in open education initiatives. We now have the opportunity to grow this movement to include millions of educators and institutions from all corners of the earth, richer and poorer. We have the chance to reach out to policymakers, working together to seize the opportunities ahead. We have the opportunity to engage entrepreneurs and publishers who are developing innovative open business models. We have a chance to nurture a new generation of learners who engage with open educational materials, are empowered by their learning and share their new knowledge and insights with others. Most importantly, we have an opportunity to dramatically improve the lives of hundreds of millions of people around the world through freely available, high-quality, locally relevant educational and learning opportunities.

We, the undersigned, invite all individuals and institutions to join us in signing the Cape Town Open Education Declaration, and, in doing so, to commit to pursuing the three strategies listed above. We also encourage those who sign to pursue additional strategies in open educational technology, open sharing of teaching practices and other approaches that promote the broader cause of open education. With each person or institution who makes this commitment -- and with each effort to further articulate our vision -- we move closer to a world of open, flexible and effective education for all.

(originally published in http://www.capetowndeclaration.org/)



Sign the Declaration

 

By pointing to the http://www.capetowndeclaration.org/ website, you can see the list of individual and organizational signatories who have already signed, and you can also sign the declaration.




Budapest Open Access Initiative

A similar initiative in the academic field was initiated in Budapest in 2001.

Budapest Open Access Initiative

The Budapest Open Access Initiative resulted from a small but enthusiastic meeting convened in Budapest by the Open Society Institute (OSI) on December 1-2, 2001. The purpose of the meeting was to accelerate progress in the international effort to make research articles in all academic fields freely available on the internet. The participants represented many points of view, many academic disciplines, and many nations, and had experience with many of the ongoing initiatives that make up the open access movement. In Budapest they explored how the separate initiatives could work together to achieve broader, deeper, and faster success. They explored the most effective and affordable strategies for serving the interests of research, researchers, and the institutions and societies that support research. Finally, they explored how OSI and other foundations could use their resources most productively to aid the transition to open access and to make open-access publishing economically self-sustaining. The result is the Budapest Open Access Initiative. It is at once a statement of principle, a statement of strategy, and a statement of commitment.

The initiative has been signed by the Budapest participants and a growing number of individuals and organizations from around the world who represent researchers, universities, laboratories, libraries, foundations, journals, publishers, learned societies, and kindred open-access initiatives. We invite the signatures, support, and participation of the entire world scientific and scholarly community.

(originally posted in http://www.soros.org/openaccess/index.shtml)

If you are interested in the initiative, point your browser to: http://www.soros.org/openaccess/index.shtml, and sign it!

Repositories of Open Educational Resources

During the past few years, hundreds of repositories of learning resources, freely available to everyone, have been developed.

In this part of the book, you will explore repositories of educational reosurces, which are strictly related to the idea that learning contents should be developed by having in mind a learning strategy, specific learning objectives and outcomes, and a clear learning approach.

In the previous modules, you have been told that there are several repositories of digital content in the so-called Web 2.0 world (e.g. YouTube, Flickr, SlideShare). The main difference with the repositories that are presented here is that Web 2.0 repositories are not specialized for educational purposes, but are general purpose. This does not mean that resources found in these repositories are unsuitable for educational purposes! It means that it is necessary to make a further effort in using these contents, in order to integrate them in an specific learning path.

International repositories

The following is a list of repositories of Open Educational Resources.

though you can find many more repositories listed at the Exemplary Collection of Open eLearning Content Repositories page of WikiEducator (in turn, a good source of materials that you can use to produce your Learning Objects)

Visit them, and try to find resources that could be useful for you. 

You should be aware, if you are not a native English speaker, that all these repositories are in English! Nevertheless, try to search through them. The interface is very intuitive, and you can start by searching for "Hungarian" or whatever your language is.  if you are lucky, you'll find something! If not, you could try the Hungarian repositories listed on the following page.

By the way, now you have one more reason to prepare your own learning materials: most of the resources on the Web are in English!

Hungarian repositories

This is a short list of Hungarian repositories (that is, repositories that have been developed by Hungarian organizations).

Conclusions

The potential of free access to repositories of educational resources is the result of several theoretical and technological advances which have occurred during the past decades, including:

  • The Open Source / Free Software Movement, that has influenced the development of similar initiatives in the field of Open Content;
  • The Internet, as the infrastructure to exchange digital content;
  • The Open Educational Resources initiative
  • Copyleft licenses which allow the sharing of digital content

However, we think that the most important factor that can make the sharing of educational resources possible is the teacher who wishes to produce and share educational resources, who wants to cooperate with colleagues thoughout the world to build repositories of resources, and who has the skills necessary to produce Open Educational Resources.

One of the aim of the Sloop project, as well as of the Tenegen project, is to provide teachers with the necessary competences and skills, and to encourage them in producing Open Educational Resources.