Towards an OER university: Free learning for all students worldwide

The OER Foundation will host an open international planning meeting on 23 February 2011 which aims to provide free learning for all students worldwide. UNESCO will support a live web stream to enable virtual participation by education leaders.
Wayne Mackintosh, Director, OER Foundation
Wayne Mackintosh, Director, OER Foundation
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Dunedin - Otago - New Zealand

Feb. 7, 2011 - PRLog -- Open Education Resources (OER) encapsulates a simple but powerful idea that the world’s knowledge is a public good. The internet provides unique opportunities for everyone to share, use, and reuse knowledge.

The OER Foundation, Otago Polytechnic (New Zealand), the University of Southern Queensland (Australia) and Athabasca University (Canada) are collaborating on the OER for assessment and credit for students project as founding anchor partners. This project will  provide flexible pathways for OER learners to earn formal academic credit and pay reduced fees for assessment and credit.

“We extend an open invitation to all post-secondary institutions who care about sharing knowledge as a core value of education to join us in planning these sustainable learning futures.” said Dr Robin Day, Chair of the Board of Directors of the OER Foundation.

Phil Ker, Chief Executive of Otago Polytechnic in New Zealand highlights that “OER is the means by which education at all levels can be more accessible, more affordable and more efficient”.

WikiEducator, a flagship initiative of the OER Foundation, administers the Learning4Content project – the world's largest training project to provide free wiki-skills' courses for the collaborative development of OER to thousands of educators from 140 different countries. “The Learning4Content model demonstrates that OER is cost effective and infinitely scalable.” said Dr Wayne Mackintosh, Director of the OER Foundation and founder of WikiEducator. “The marginal cost of replicating digital courses is near zero. By sharing the costs of OER course development among institutions we can expand access to free learning by an order of magnitude”.

The challenge is to find robust mechanisms for academic credit for these OER learners. “Students seek flexible study opportunities, but they also want their achievements recognised in credible credentials.” said Sir John Daniel, President of the Commonwealth of Learning.  “This important meeting will tackle the challenges of combining flexibility with rigour, which requires clarity in conception and quality in execution.”

“The concept of free learning for all students is well aligned with UNESCO's global mission to provide education for all which now seems imminently more doable with the mainstream adoption of OER in our formal education institutions.” said Dr Visesio Pongi, Director of UNESCO Cluster Office in Apia.

“The OER for assessment and credit for students project aims to create a parallel learning universe to augment and add value to traditional models through effective collaboration networks” said Professor James Taylor from the University of Southern Queensland in Australia. “This is not theoretical speculation, it is entirely viable.”

Professor Rory McGreal, UNESCO/COL Chair for OER, Canada remarked that: “The growth in the creation, deployment, sharing and reuse of OER signals a tipping point wherein institutions globally can profit both formally and informally from the massive creative commons that has been made available on the Internet.”

OER is a sustainable and renewable resource. However, meaningful collaboration among education institutions will be a prerequisite for success.

For more details visit:

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About OER Foundation: The Open Education Resource (OER) Foundation is an independent, not-for-profit organisation that provides leadership, international networking and support for educators and educational institutions to achieve their objectives through open education.

About UNESCO’s Office for Pacific States: The UNESCO Office for Pacific States is responsible for implementing UNESCO’s programme and supporting policy and research in 15 pacific countries. The term Open Educational Resources was first coined by UNESCO.
Source:OER Foundation & UNESCO
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Tags:Free Education, Oer, Online Learning, Distance Education, Open Education Resources
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Location:Dunedin - Otago - New Zealand
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