Open Educational Resources are growing in prevalence and importance, yet they not equally distributed worldwide and not as used and re-used as expected. With this in mind, the IAU investigated the reasons for these dichotomies and concluded that associating and working in collaboration with academic librarians, who play a central role in providing access to information resources and technology within their institutions, could be a solution to increasing OER creation, use and reuse in higher education globally.
The IAU Project
The IAU Project was developed by the IAU in 2013. It aims to train and support academic librarians – in priority in developing countries – to be able to identify and provide information on existing OER and inform faculty members and graduate students in the use, re-use and production of OER.
To validate the project for the Sub-Saharan African region, the IAU held a Workshop with librarians. This took place in Accra, Ghana in September 2013.
Open Educational Resources (OER)
OER refer to digitized as well as non-digitized teaching and learning materials either openly released or released in the public domain that can be used and reused by all, everywhere. The term was first introduced at a conference hosted by UNESCO in 2002. The UNESCO Paris OER Declaration was adopted in 2012.
Librarians and OER
An international survey of librarians found a clear need to promote the role that libraries and librarians can play in OER initiatives, highlighting the expertise and competencies which libraries and librarians can offer (The roles of libraries and information professionals in Open Education Resources (OER) initiatives: Survey Report G. Bieno-de-la-Fuente, R. J. Robertson and S. Boon, JISC CETIS, 2012).
IAU and OER
The Association has a Policy Statement on Universities and Information and Communication Technologies, adopted in 2004, which includes the promotion of Open Educational Resources as a strategy in stimulating exchange of expertise in ICTs.
For further information
The IAU hosted an online mini-seminar on 11 March 2015 as part of Open Education Week. The event was organised with those who participated in the Validation Workshop for the IAU Training and Support Programme for Academic Librarians on Open Educational Resources (OER), in Accra, Ghana in 2013. It provided an opportunity to discuss recent developments in OER in libraries and universities in Africa and to agree follow-up actions.
The first stage of the IAU project, the Validation Workshop, took place in Accra, Ghana on 12 and 13 September 2013. It received funding from UNESCO's Participation Programme and was organised in partnership with the Association of African Universities (AAU), an IAU Member organization.
The objectives of the Validation Workshop were:
Twenty-six participants from ten African countries took part in the Workshop. These included university librarians from IAU Member higher education institutions in Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Nigeria, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zimbabwe.
Isabelle Turmaine, IAU – Presentation of the workshop
Catherine Ngugi, OER Africa, Kenya – OER in Africa: use & re-use for library services
Susan d’Antoni, Athabasca University, Canada (through Skype) – World map of OER initiatives
Buhle Mbambo-Thata, UNISA Head Librarian, South Africa – OERs at UNISA – a perspective from the library
Isabelle Turmaine, IAU – The IAU training and support programme for academic librarians on OER use, reuse, and production
For further information
Amanda Sudic, IAU Librarian / Documentalist
Isabelle Turmaine, IAU Director, Information Projects and Services