Expert panellists from Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Europe, North America, and the Pacific joined the initial OER4COVID consultations to discuss smoothing the transition to online learning during the pandemic by using open educational resources (OER).
Discussions identified diverse needs and priorities across the regions - highlighting the need for OER4COVID collaborators to act locally while cooperating globally.
Established by COL in partnership with the OERu, the OER4COVID support group is gaining momentum now with over 800 registered participants from 67 countries. The initiative is supported by the International Council for Distance Education (ICDE), the UNESCO Institute for Information Technology in Education, World Bank Group Open Learning Campus, and Open Education Global.
“COVID-19 has resulted in a learning crisis that needs our collective support,” said Professor Asha Kanwar, COL President and Chief Executive Officer. “The principles of openness, sharing, and collaboration that characterise the OER movement will guide us in our collective response to this crisis.”
The OER4COVID initiative will establish an international network of working groups led by volunteer coordinators at the institutional, regional, and national levels developing OER in areas, including curriculum and learning design, technology, online facilitation, resource curation, research and educator health, and wellbeing.
The New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO has offered funding support for the OER Foundation to provide web-conferencing capabilities – using BigBlueButton – allowing educators under lockdown to communicate synchronously while working on local OER4COVID actions.
Recordings of the first consultation webinars can be viewed here:
Some participants have volunteered to act as coordinators in each country, and OER4COVID organisers will now build a network of teams to commence local in-country actions. Community discussions are coordinated on the community.oeru.org website.
To support capacity development, COL, OERu, and ICDE have joined forces to provide free access to an online micro-course on "Open education, copyright, and open licensing in a digital world" (LiDA103) commencing on 6 May 2020. Registered participants will also receive free access to an online competency allowing them to earn the Certificate of Competency in Copyright and Creative Commons Licensing.
OERu will also share a number of OER-enabled online courses to assist with the rapid transition to online learning. Because they are openly licensed, institutions will be able to reuse and modify assessments for in-country use and award of credit towards local degrees.
To minimise the impact of COVID-19 the initiative is supporting education institutions around the world to smooth the transition to online learning using OER. All educators are welcome to join the initiative.