The OER movement to date, has grown organically and through the stimulation of funding agencies, most notably the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. The movement still comprises a range of individual projects and the most visible form of coordination and cohesion is the annual Hewlett Foundation grantees’ meeting at which specific issues are discussed and a selection of projects are showcased.
Elements the movement appear to be missing is a large-scale understanding and following amongst the multilateral organizations such as the UN Agencies (with the exception of UNESCO) and the national funding agencies. To help to bridge the missing information in the multilateral agencies, a process of orientation workshops is proposed that will be hosted regionally, in a major city in each of these regions:
- East Asia And Pacific
- Europe And Central Asia
- Latin America & Caribbean
- Middle East & North Africa
- South Asia
Orientation of staff in multilateral and other organizations (2-year horizon)
The overall purpose of the orientation workshops will be to provide a broad understanding of the background and potential of OER, a series of orientation workshops will be hosted in each region. These will follow a broad outline agenda, but will aim to provide participants with a background on:
- The concepts and strengths of OER;
- Creative Commons licenses to make sharing of educational content possible;
- How the quality of global education can be improved through OER;
- The issues around the skills and infrastructure required for sharing of OER, with a focus on ‘what works’ and ‘how to’;
- How the policy environment in institutions, countries and multilateral organizations must exploit the power of OER.
This agenda will require a series of intensive orientation workshops conducted in each region. The convening organization will need to invite all key organizations to send two representatives who are able to participate fully. The representatives will become the organizations' ongoing focal point for OER. A broad workshop outline for this workshop series is included in Appendix 1.
Setting the International scene (5 to 10-year horizons)
A second phase will be needed to convert the raised awareness and interest into pragmatic funding of existing and new projects. This phase will need to be adopted by a global organization that has both the interest and the core funding to take this forward at the desired scale. The details of this will need to be set out so that all global and regional stakeholders have the opportunity to fully participate in further awareness and capacity building of staff both in the multinational agencies and in institutions and governments.
A typical, top-level agenda should at least include the following:
- Motivating funding to create base OER for all remaining topic areas not already covered by existing and past projects;
- Motivating funding to establish global guidelines for curriculum outlines in all subjects areas, beginning with those that are taught most in secondary and higher education;
- Set up of a global monitoring system to ensure that all topic areas get the appropriate attention;
- Identification of the range of platforms to be used in different parts of the world (based on factors such as home language of the platform) and motivating funding to ensure that the platforms are developed timely;
- Research the existing world inventory of OER, in all languages and for all subjects and levels;
- Orchestrate the creation of all remaining components of OER to be available to all citizens through multiple channels.
A matrix structure will need to be formed of at least three groups of organizations or people, including those who focus primarily but not exclusively on:
- Educational content to be created;
- Technical platforms and how they are to interact with each other across standards, languages and metadata;
- Agencies willing to fund programs, projects and activities.