Open Education Links #18
These Open Education Links are based on the Open Education Policy Forum community call, which took place on April 22. During the meeting, 15 activists from countries around the world shared updates on how open education is helping to overcome the educational crisis caused by the lockdown. The next call will be on May 13 at 6 pm UTC. If you would like to join, please write to me: firstname.lastname@example.org
The need for more openness is raised by many institutions and organizations, not just educational ones. Open COVID Pledge is one of such public calls for openness. The aim of the initiative is to make the intellectual property available free of charge for use in ending the COVID-19 pandemic and minimizing the consequences of the disease. The impact of this action is enormous with “not-open-friendly” companies like Facebook, Microsoft and Amazon joining this initiative and pledging to make all of their patents freely available to the public for use in the fight against COVID-19.
During our meeting on April 22, we talked about other examples of institutions, publishers, and local communities, who make their content open in order to support students and make educational resources more accessible during the time of the coronavirus pandemic. As Jennryn Wetzler noted:
One of the beautiful things I’ve seen emerge from this pandemic is the immediate, peer-to-peer learning and sharing–which is a powerful form of community resilience. OE and open access communities are uniquely positioned for this kind of immediate response and resilience-building.
However, the questions that were raised during the meeting concerned long-term goals: “How to maintain this shift into open resources?”, “How to convince the publishers, universities and others to keep their repositories open also after the lockdown?”, “How to deal with the risk that those entities now opening their resources in the immediate future will try to retain the users but offer them resources for a fee?”. What is also challenging in time of emergency is the fact that is difficult to find the right moment to work on a long-time strategy. In an effort to answer the question how to make open education resources the “new normal”, as Fabio Nascimbeni put it, we need to be ready with a stronger narrative for open education than the one about affordability. Hillary Miller noted that after short-term opening, the paywalls will come back and we need to be prepared for this. Because of financial crises and budget cuts, publishers will receive lower revenues and they will keep pushing the exclusive access model.
Welcome new members of our team – parents
In this crisis, we’ve seen that educational materials are not only needed to support teachers and students but also parents at home. And the promise of open education includes anyone. Thanks to open education we have materials that parents can use and anyone can use from everywhere even from home and this message needs to be more amplified,
as Paul Stacey pointed out during the conversation. Also Jennryn Wetzler emphasised that it is essential to cooperate more with the home-schooling movement. So maybe into this new, powerful narrative about open education and its impact, we should also include parents’ perspective?
Act locally and share globally
Open education networks offer an additional support to strengthen our community resilience and “know-how” to share community knowledge efficiently. During our online meeting, we discuss new initiatives proving that our movement has the “know-how” and “openness” indeed is the way to solve difficult problems. In the meeting, Ebba Ossiannilsson shared more info on “Keeping the doors of learning open” action and #OER4COVID.
Commonwealth of Learning is running an action: “Keeping the doors of learning open”. On the COL website you will find a curated list of resources for policymakers, school and college administrators, teachers, parents and learners that will assist with student learning during the closure of educational institutions. Most of these are available as open educational resources under different licenses.
One option for being involved in #OER4COVID is to take part in a demographic survey: We are requesting help from educators to identify and prioritise local needs for OER, and to gain a better understanding of the diversity of our community as we collectively respond to the COVID19 pandemic. The results of the survey will be shared with the volunteer coordinators of the OER4Covid working groups in each country to assist with their work in planning local in-country activities and will also be published openly on the OER4Covid website. Take part in the survey here: https://oer.nz/oer4covidsurvey
Dominik Theis from Germany shared with us very inspiring news ,. The new open education platform “Wir lernen online” (we learn online) was launched in Germany in late April. This project has been run by Wikimedia Deutschland e. V. and edu-sharing.net e. V. and was funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung). The basic idea behind this platform is to scan the whole German internet and get together every open education content there is and make it searchable. There are countless individual offers on the internet, but it is often very difficult to find suitable content. Therefore, an educational search engine is needed to access relevant sources and websites, to compile content appropriate to the target group and their curriculum. Free content and free software solutions, such as Open Educational Resources (OER), are used for this purpose. To provide an open solution to support educational institutions with learning content, Wikimedia Deutschland e. V. and edu-sharing.net would like to cooperate with central stakeholders in the field of free education and key individuals from the entire education sector, also from different countries.
Hans Poldoja told us more about the result of The Global Hack which happened April 9-12 and was founded by Estonians. During this event a digital solution was developed which will enable hospitals and public institutions to monitor personal protective equipment (PPE) stockpiles and demand. New platform facilitates the collection of open data on the reserves of personal protective gear, as well as predictions of further demand and provides visualised results. The platform will be launched on April 21 and is intended to be used by all public sector institutions with the idea to offer the platform to other states.
In France, the Fun-Mooc opened “plateforme solidaire“, a platform where people can post only OER with re-usable content. Dassault Systems, a private company specialised in new technologies, has also launched “Open Covid 19” and is invitingengineers, designers, makers and manufacturers around the world to work together and share resources in the Open COVID-19 Community. Some changes and series of webinars will be organised by the OER World Map team. If you want to participate, we recommend contacting them.
More links worth checking
OPEN GAME aims to contribute to the uptake of Open Education Resources and Open Education Practices among educators in Higher Education. Find here all the news, events and information related to the project.
Toward a Critical Approach for OER: A Case Study in Removing the ‘Big Five’ from OER Creation. This paper examines the role of proprietary software in the production of open educational resources (OER).
UNICEF and Microsoft Corp. today announced the expansion of a global learning platform to help children and youth affected by COVID-19 continue their education at home. More info.
OpenWHO is WHO’s new, interactive, web-based platform that offers online courses to people preparing to work in epidemics, pandemics and health emergencies or already doing so.Can Colleges Survive Coronavirus? ‘The Math Is Not Pretty’. Most campuses in the United States are sitting empty. Courses are online, students are at home. And administrators are trying to figure out how to make the finances of that work.