Appraising the transformative power of OER for student-centred teaching in Developing countries
The focus of Sandhya's OLnet Fellowship was to gather information about Open Educational Resources (OER) and Open Educational Practices (OEP) so as to inform stakeholders in developing countries of the potentials of OER to improve and update curricula, develop institutional capacity and manage growing student cohorts with increasingly differentiated and specific learning needs more effectively.
She met with Dr Freda Wolfenden and Dr Frank Banks from the TESSA initiative and Pauline Ngimwa who was a PhD student at the Open University to learn more about Open Educational Resource uses in Sub-Saharan Africa. Inspired by the work of Dr Chris Pegler and Susan D’Antoni, she devised a questionnaire to evaluate OER awareness and use which would be instrumental to devise training and capacity building workshops to address OER resistance issues with the help of Dr Tina Wilson. After discussions with Patrick McAndrew and Martin Weller on the topics of Openness and OER Beyond policies, when it becomes practice, she is now working on the paradoxes and contradictions of OER as more and more HE are being transformed into businesses, and whether the professional identity of the academic should be more related to shaping the learning experience, and what will be the student expectations versus credibility of the institution using OER. Her brief meeting with Paul Mundin introduced her to OPAL and open educational practices, where she hopes to work further to develop Best Practice examples in collaboration with other HEIs in Mauritius and Africa.
She also participated in workshops organised by SCORE to learn more about OER and the Creative Commons licensing and to present her research areas. Sandhya believes that OER is not just about the contents or knowledge that these provide, but more about a change in mindset to be able to dissociate lecturing apart from content to encompass the learners needs, to move from exam-oriented assessments to life-long learning skills, and from competition to collaboration.
13 September to 15 October 2011
University of Mauritius – Virtual Centre for Innovative Learning Technologies
Sandhya Gunness currently teaches at the University of Mauritius on the BSc and MSc Edtech programmes, namely for the Open Educational Resources, Leadership and Technology management; Social Networking; Principles of learning design. Her interests cover online pedagogical strategies, Open Educational Practices and Learning Design. She has coordinated several international collaborative projects with COL, SADC, COMESA and under the EDU-LINK EU-funded projects.
Created more awareness about OER, OEP, Creative Commons and legal frameworks through research seminars and focus groups at the University of Mauritius with the collaboration of other TEI’s. Organised debates around issues of Opening content generated by public funding to the public. Initiated a community of practice with specific activity areas and post details (timetables, content, activities, reports) onto open learning platforms: OpenLearn, VCILT Moodle e-learning platform, WIZIQ, Slideshare , FaceBook, etc.
A paper was sent to the OCWC Cambridge 2012 conference (16-18 April) to report on findings at the University of Mauritius about OER awareness and reuse and the potential to transform teaching practices to more Learner-centred approached.
An OER awareness seminar on the theme: Openness, Collaboration and Creativity was conducted on the 7th March 2012 at the University of Mauritius with participants from four different Faculties, Centres and the Tertiary Education Commission. The presentations were made by the academics themselves on how different they perceived Open educational resources. It was clear that policies for opening content were acutely missing and that the Tertiary Education Commission (which was a body for regulating Higher Education Institutions) miscomprehended online mode of deliveries. There was a strong need for a mind-shift from the concepts that “Knowledge is Power” to “Knowledge-Sharing is Power”.
World Education Summit 13-15 July 2011, New Dehli, India - Higher Education Track/Sandhya Gunness on YouTube