OER Advocacy – Some Reflections

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Contributed by: Paul Bardack, ICDE OER Advocacy Committe, Chair Emeritus of the United States Distance Learning Association, Senior Solutions Architect, Education and Training, Advanced Analytics, Training, and Simulation Service Line, SAIC

The other day I was asked an interesting question by a colleague:  what  should advocates for expanded use of OER and open courses and open access be doing these next 25 years to make OER, open courses, open access – and even access to working computers and reliable wireless or wired networks – a universal reality?

It’s a difficult question to answer, I confess; because the more one thinks about it the more potential actions one could come up with.

But after a while I found myself focusing on at least nine things the nations of the world could do to make more educational options available to all the world’s citizens.  Maybe there are more, and I’d welcome hearing what I may have missed from those of you reading this blog.  But here are the nine items I initially chose as my response.

Nine Advocacy Action Items

  1. Advocate for national and sub-national governments to require all research funded publicly to be openly accessible to all.
  2. Advocate for expanded government funding of peer reviewed online content that is to be open and accessible to all.
  3. Advocate for expanded recognition of prior learning experiences and other alternative paths for receiving course credit, including open content and open access.
  4. Advocate for expanded government funding of personally owned laptops and smart phones, to allow the benefits of open access to be available to all.
  5. Advocate for more government funding of wired and wireless networks, so that those in poorer communities are not left behind.
  6. Advocate for changes to national intellectual property laws, to allow more content to be freely accessible by potential users of that content.
  7. Advocate with the nonprofit and private sectors to encourage more government and nongovernment money to go towards funding of openly accessible online content and courses.
  8. Advocate the end of censorship of educational content.
  9. Make it physically safe for those who must leave their homes to get an education to get the education they seek without fear of physical harm.

Relevance to ICDE

Upon further reflection, those actions will require at least some, and perhaps many, changes to government policy, in my country and in countries around the world.

And that is precisely why ICDE just launched, at the World Conference on Online Learning in Toronto, a new OER advocacy committee … to help empower those of us around the world who believe in the power and promise of open and distance education; and to help reshape our national and subnational laws and policies to help the people of the world to make that dream a reality.

I have been asked to lead that global committee effort, and I am delighted to report that I have accepted that honor.

So please let me know what you think of the above list and, especially, let me know what additional actions of importance I might have missed.  I want the new committee to be of daily relevance to ICDE’s members, and collectively creating a list of necessary advocacy actions would be a good place to begin.

I look forward to hearing from you!!

Paul.

Below watch the video on the 9 points that was given during the 27th ICDE World Conference in Toronto on 16 October in a symposium for Chairs in OER which was organized by UNESCO, Open Education Consortium (OEC), Universidad International de La Rioja (UNIR), and International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE).

2 thoughts on “OER Advocacy – Some Reflections

  1. Ten Advocacy Action Items:
    Advocate for ABCs ( Africans, Blacks, and Colored poor peoples, worldwide.)
    Advocate for national and sub-national governments to require all research funded publicly to be openly accessible to all.
    Advocate for expanded government funding of peer reviewed online content that is to be open and accessible to all.
    Advocate for expanded recognition of prior learning experiences and other alternative paths for receiving course credit, including open content and open access.
    Advocate for expanded government funding of personally owned laptops and smart phones, to allow the benefits of open access to be available to all.
    Advocate for more government funding of wired and wireless networks, so that those in poorer communities are not left behind.
    Advocate for changes to national intellectual property laws, to allow more content to be freely accessible by potential users of that content.
    Advocate with the nonprofit and private sectors to encourage more government and nongovernment money to go towards funding of openly accessible online content and courses.
    Advocate the end of censorship of educational content.
    Make it physically safe for those who must leave their homes to get an education to get the education they seek without fear of physical harm.

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  2. Great points for OER Advocacy. All are addressable with various degrees of expense and challenge by individual nations, but one that would really open up education is your 3rd on ‘expanded recognition of prior learning experiences and other alternative paths for receiving course credit, including open content and open access’. If we could not just recognize learning from within our own ‘systems’, but could recognize learning accredited by other systems (nations) more readily, we would really be internationalizing and democratizing education.

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