File:POERUP D4.4.EN Options brief pack Canada.pdf
Conclusions and Recommendations
- In Canada there are no national policies to promote OER. Education is a provincial responsibility and the national government has no authority in this area.
- Many cultural artefacts are being made freely available online from national and provincial archives, museums, art galleries, and public media (eg CBC). These can be incorporated into OER.
- Three western Canadian provinces (British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding promoting the use and sharing of OER at the post-secondary level.
- OER can be seen as part of a solution to the high cost of textbooks.
- The quality and quantity of OER is increasing and they are becoming more acceptable by instructors and students.
- Digital divide issues still plague Canada in many remote geographical regions. The lack of connectivity in these isolate rural areas limits their use of digital resources like OER.
- With the emerging partnerships among provinces and with US states (eg Washington, California, Utah), many more OER are becoming available.
- There is still significant confusion across Canada and even in the leading provinces as to the availability of OER and the use of the different open licences.
- Barriers to OER use start with the lack of understanding of what they are, where they are, and how they can be used.
After investigating the use of OER (or lack of use) across Canada and recognizing that there are few if any policies available even where there are extant OER initiatives (Western provinces), the researchers make the following recommendations to support OER use in the Canadian context:
Communication and Awareness
1. Make open access and open licensing (ie Creative Commons Attribution) the default for all content created by publicly funded initiatives.
2. Communicate to policy makers, institutional leaders, other influential stakeholders and the general public of the importance and the benefits of OER.
3. Educate instructors and learning designers on the availability of OER, how to find them, and how they can be used.
4. Expand communications with other provinces, while recognizing their different educational priorities to promote OER use and sharing across the country.
5. Encourage collaborations among the different provinces to support sharing of educational content.
6. Overcome any legal impediments to the sharing of resources and avoid the use of copyright and restricted content in the future.
7. Overcome any bureaucratic, contractual or regulatory impediments to increasing the use of OER.
8. Encourage flexible , yet targeted budgeting to support the sustainability of OER used in educational institutions.
9. Encourage and support pre-service and continuing education for teachers on the effective use of OER
Quality and accessibility
10. Accessibility to quality learning materials using OER should become a high priority for each province.
11. Support experimentation to gain a better understanding of quality measurement of OER and the benefits and challenges of OER implementation.
12. Appoint an OER expert to evaluate the benefits and challenges of OER implementation strategies, emphasizing training and cost effectiveness.
13. Ensure that quality approved OER are successfully included in “approved” materials lists.
14. Support pathways to allow learners who are using OER informally, to be evaluated and certified for knowledge and skills that are acquired (See Prior Learning Accreditation & Recognition and the OERu).
15. Establish and fund a continuing education program/network to educate teachers and educational leaders of the benefits of use of OER and open licenses.
16. Continue to ensure the improvement of ICT infrastructure and provide affordable high bandwidth access to the internet in the most remote regions and the most economically deprived communities.
17. Reduce the digital divide, so that everyone can benefit from the educational and economic benefits of OER.
18. Ensure that educational institutions are equipped with optimal digital equipment and bandwidth speeds.
19. Support evidence-based research to gain a better understanding of the impact of new quality assurance and learning modes (eg online, blended, OER, MOOCs, Virtual Mobility, Prior Learning Assessment) .
20. Support research on the benefits and challenges of OER.
21. Research on OER should be in alliance with communities and educational institutions and include, traditional campus and school learning as well as blended and virtual environments (eg MOOCs, home schooling, independent study).
22. Research should support a culture of mutual cooperation among educational institutions, communities, the government, teachers and students.
23. Support research on differences in quality assurance modalities for evaluating OER and copyright-restricted content.
24. Support research on sustainable and adapted to OER business models.
25. Support knowledge translation efforts whereby global OER research results are made available to educators and decision makers
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