Monday, September 12, 2011

UNESCO-COL Guidelines for Open Educational Resources in Higher Education

As we have discussed many times earlier, the Higher Education Sector (all over the world) has not yet started to exploit the merits of Open Educational Resources in its full ambit and true spirits.  One of the major reasons for this situation is the absence of appropriate guidelines/policies/statutes at the level of Governments and Higher Education providers on the production and use of OER.

Now UNESCO along with Commonwealth of Learning (COL)  has taken up the challenge of developing guidelines for Open Educational Resources in Higher Education to help the entire key stakeholders in the sector to establish a successful Higher Education system with the support of OER. The preparation of these Guidelines was a continuation of the COL-UNESCO initiative 'Taking OER Beyond the OER Community: Policy and Capacity' that involved a number of face-to-face and online workshops in 2010 and 2011. A Policy Forum on OER was also held at UNESCO, Paris on 1 December 2010. The present Guidelines are a follow-up to that event.

The guidelines has separate sections intended to help all key stakeholder groups viz governments, higher education institutions, teaching staff, student bodies, quality assurance/accreditation bodies and academic recognition bodies as they assess the implications of OER for their future policies and actions. The guidelines also aim at alerting governments, in particular, to the importance of  OER and inviting them to develop policies that grant open access, wherever possible, to materials of educational value developed with public funds. The Guidelines have been developed through a broad consultative process.

Now UNESCO and COL have extended further consultation by inviting comments on the draft guidelines (to be furnished by 21 September 2011) from the wider society.  The draft Guidelines can be downloaded from http://oerworkshop.weebly.com/guidelines-for-oer-in-higher-education.html . Further details are available on the above web page.

They will also organize an online forum from 19 - 23 September 2011 to further deliberate on and discuss the draft guidelines.

( click here to see the approved version of the guidelines launched on Nov 1, 2011)