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Open Education in Developing Countries [clear filter]
Friday, November 4

1:15pm EDT

Local OER: developing collections for developing nations
This session discusses the development of the Darakht-e Danesh Library for Educators in Afghanistan, a repository of open educational resources in Dari, Pashto, and English - the three languages taught in Afghan public schools. We are creating a multilingual collection of teaching and learning materials for teachers, education organizations, and others with an interest in education in Afghanistan, a region in which teachers have limited access to learning resources. We describe the process of seeking permissions not only to include content in our collection but also to translate it from English (by far the most common language for OERs) into Dari and Pashto, as well as the work done with volunteer translators to produce said translations. We believe that OER collections in the local language, which can be developed and adapted to fit the local context, present untapped potential for supporting teachers in developing countries and promoting literacy in the mother tongue(s) of students in these countries. We pursued partnerships with local organizations such as the Afghan Women's Writing Project to facilitate the development of locally contextualized educational materials. The incorporation of crowdsourcing principles allows for the creation and sharing of local learning materials by educators for each other, although education of contributors around issues such as licensing is required for such a system to work effectively. The systems and processes the Darakht-e Danesh Library has developed through the trial-and-error of applied practice may serve others interested in exploring this model as one strategy to generate a pool of relevant local language content that helps to vitalize the teaching and learning of mother tongue languages in developing nations.


Nicole Askin

Darakht-e Danesh Library

Friday November 4, 2016 1:15pm - 1:40pm EDT

1:40pm EDT

How to FLOSS, but not for your teeth!
Free libre open source software (FLOSS) has the potential to be a powerful open educational ICT tool, particularly in the developing world, but also any community where educational resources and services are challenging to come by. In spite of considerable potential gains for education in rural or inadequately funded areas, FLOSS is under-utilized, under-staffed, and unsupported. Both educators' and students' perspectives must be understood if this gap is to be ameliorated. Toward supporting open educational resources in the world's education systems, this research investigates usage and perception of FLOSS as well as pedagogical preferences from a sample of participants (N=40) at the Gaeddu College of Business Studies in the Kingdom of Bhutan. Although the unified technology acceptance and use theory (UTAUT) guides this research and is supported in organizational settings, it is not supported in the context of higher education in Bhutan. Statistically significant results indicated that students and faculty or staff have disparate perceptions of FLOSS. Interviews elaborated that there was a relationship for this sample between how technology is used and incorporated with attitudes toward technology. The research's validity is limited by low participation, frequent lack of electricity, and low bandwidth. However, results imply that pedagogy, attitude, and especially teachers' roles, are relevant constructs for understanding educational technology acceptance and use in Bhutan and potentially other communities with similar barriers to education. This work aims to contribute to the growing body of investigation of open education resources, including ICT acceptance, in areas where education is especially difficult to support. Despite formal centers and programs in Bhutan for technology and computer training, one of the most interesting findings of the research was that students eschew these in favor of informal networks among themselves in their social groups to learn and share ICT resources, including those for education.

avatar for Cathryn Bennett

Cathryn Bennett

Director of International Programs, Greensboro College
Open, international, and cross-cultural higher education are my focal areas. Current research projects and collaborations with experts from the U.S., Europe, and South Asia continue to hone my expertise and interest in research methodologies for various settings, culturally-situated... Read More →

Friday November 4, 2016 1:40pm - 2:05pm EDT

2:15pm EDT

'Open Education in the Indian context : new approaches and challenges'
India has the largest population of University-age students in the world and the growing numbers by 2025 may challenge the inadequacy and quality of the Higher Education system. "New Education policy" is taking adequate measures to address this challenging task of providing world class education to the youth of India and steer the economy of the country on an upward trajectory, by taking initiatives to link higher education with employability, skill development and entrepreneurship.

Due to lack of physical seats in higher education institutions, open and distance education plays an important role to provide access to the masses in terms of quality education for degree programs and skill enhancement certificate courses e.g. University of Delhi ( http://www.du.ac.in) .Open education can make higher education more accessible to working students with limited financial resources , and encourage them for "Earn while you Learn". The students pursue degree programs through distance learning mode and simultaneously, take up industry linked professional certificate courses which makes them employable. With millions of Indians leap-frogging technologies, going from limited access to electricity to ownership of smart phone technologies; even rural and impoverished Indians are connected to the world like never before and therefore, ODL is a sustainable approach to achieve the target of educating large numbers.

In developing countries like India, MOOCs( Massive Online Open Course) could help towards building a new model of higher education which is away from a Bricks and mortar model of an Institution of higher learning. There could be MOOC on basic general components in respective subject fields. Also, e-learning and MOOC courseware could be used by Indian Universities to lower the cost of instruction even for the science labs. However, the rise and potential decline of MOOC educational system in the developed world presents a unique challenge for the Indian system to learn from; as educational institutions attempt to connect and educate these population. Apart from MOOC, there can be online- onsite courses with subsidized fees, e -learning manuals and use of flipped class.

With a robust system of accreditation and credit transfers; Open and Distance learning is the key to meet the needs and aspirations of higher education system in developing countries.

However, the major challenge of implementing massive open education source and industry oriented online courses , lies in the fact that firstly the country's economy should be able to support and promote digital literacy for the masses and envisage provision for access devices to institutions and learners. Other challenge lies in quality content creation as per global standards and also to overcome impediments like the bandwidth issue, online assessment, credits transfer to Universities, certification etc. The use of ICT and Cloud Technology can leverage their potential for the benefit of all learners in educational institutions by encouraging "learning anywhere anytime" mode and also promote lifelong and continuous learning that will contribute to global knowledge economy.

avatar for Mamta Bhatia

Mamta Bhatia

Associate Professor, Acharya Narendra Dev College,University of Delhi
Dr. Mamta Bhatia is a recipient of Fulbright – Nehru International Education Administrator’s Award for 2014 and attended the Seminar under which she visited several community colleges in Washington, New York and Florida; to understand the concept and challenges of community colleges... Read More →

Friday November 4, 2016 2:15pm - 2:40pm EDT

2:40pm EDT

Extending Open Textbook Usefulness Through Reformatting and Multimedia
The high cost of commercial textbooks has become increasingly newsworthy as a significant obstacle for students, even in wealthy countries. This is even more the case in economically developing countries, where the price tag even on international editions of commercial textbooks often leaves them hopelessly out of reach. As a result, one reason that OER textbooks are rightfully gaining ground, in wealthy and developing countries alike, is that they are freely accessible, as in costless to the user.

While the pool of OER textbooks is steadily growing, often they are only available in PDF or Word formats. Because many students in economically developing countries use a mobile phone as their primary Internet device, and have uncertain access to computers, those textbooks are not easy to view on the screens that are most readily available, which can hinder their adoption by those who need them the most. One way to solve this problem is to convert OER textbooks into mobile-friendly formats such as the EPUB format to make them more accessible and thus easier to adopt.

Moreover, commercial publishers often justify the high cost of their textbooks by including digital enhancements such as simulations and videos. By creating custom videos and creating playlists of readily accessible online resources that supplement OER textbooks, they can be more engaging for students and more appealing to instructors and institutions.

This presentation discusses these two categories of textbook extension, primarily in the context of economically developing countries. Our institution has built curricula around OER textbooks, and has an interest both in extending their usefulness for our own students as well as in releasing those extensions under as permissive a license as possible to give back to the community.

avatar for Steve Foerster

Steve Foerster

President, New World University
I'm a writer, technologist, and educator. Currently I am President of New World University in Roseau, Dominica, reaching students worldwide through distance learning and partner organisations. I have a longstanding interest in OERs which stemmed from my interest in open source so... Read More →

Friday November 4, 2016 2:40pm - 3:05pm EDT

3:15pm EDT

Opening Content for Developing Countries (www.oc4d.org)
Come discuss successes, strategies, and challenges for opening content in developing countries. We hope this session will provoke hearty dialogue and opportunities for collaboration.

Open Content for Development (www.OC4D.org) fills a specific niche for OER access by facilitators of lower- literate learners in low-tech areas with a paucity of critical content tools related to community development and self reliance (e.g. health, human rights, environmental stewardship, income generation and community action).

OC4D was created in 2006 with support from Utah State University's Instructional Psychology & Technology (IPT) Department and the Center for Open and Sustainable Learning (COSL). OC4D gained encouragement from the Hewlett Foundation together with Dr. David Wiley (founder of the concept of "open content") for specific launch in Nepal (2007) to find ways to improve access to critical content in remote Himalayan community centers.

During the past 10 years, technology has leapfrogged and mobile devices have proliferated. The scaffolding of OC4D is transforming to improve mobile responsiveness and user-friendliness for peoples across the globe. Our reach is now expanding in Africa and the Middle East as well as for Islamic communities and Arabic-speaking users.

OC4D hosts literacy materials in disparate languages (French, English, Spanish, Portugese, Kiswahili, Xhosa, Tagalog, Nepali, Hindi, Haitian Creole, Guyanan Gulu and more). We have just agreed with Interweave Solutions to host their self reliance modules and manuals for open access in 60 countries around the world. We anticipate that the new OC4D will increase opportunity for even more users with expanded access to content and improved capacity to house more iterations of localized tools to grow the repository. But, are we ready for the growth? What questions must be considered?

Friday November 4, 2016 3:15pm - 3:40pm EDT

3:40pm EDT

Lessons Learned from the African Scholarship Cohort
The Darden Graduate School of Business is a leader in providing massive open online courses (MOOCs) on the Coursera Platform. There are 2 specializations, almost a dozen courses, and over a million learners to date. In partnership with the Mbarara University of Science and Technology, we did a pilot providing a free specialization to accepted applicants to the African Scholarship Cohort. Over 100 learners started the specialization, all from sub-Saharan Africa. There were several goals: developing a stronger partnership with Mbarara, increasing learner enrollment in Africa, understanding persistence of African students in specializations, and trying to transform lives through open educational resources (OER). We've learned a lot in this program with 70 active students and it has been an amazing journey. This presentation will review some of our lessons learned, some transformative stories of learners, and a general overview of the program.

avatar for Kristin  Palmer

Kristin Palmer

Director Online Learning Programs, University of Virginia
Take a wild guess - online learning. Getting faculty fired up. Improving the student experience at UVa. Having great conversations about increasing the quality of teaching and building high quality open educational resources. I'm also a mom of 3 boys commuting to UVa from the... Read More →

Friday November 4, 2016 3:40pm - 4:05pm EDT