OER Africa

OER Africa is a ground-breaking initiative established by the South African Institute for Distance Education (Saide). As a lead partner in this initiative, NBA has been responsible for much of the conceptualization of OER Africa, including preparing its research agenda, driving advocacy and networking, and drafting strategies to ensure synergy between educational technology policies and initiatives and OER. NBA has also played a leading role in supporting higher education institutions across Africa in the development and use of OER to enhance teaching and learning. This has included conducting OER sensitization, capacity-building and policy review workshops, and providing support around policy and financial considerations. NBA’s responsibility for advocacy and network building has also resulted in collaborations around joint creation of OER, and their integration and use within programmes and modules with several educational institutions. For example, partners such as Ghana's University of Education, Winneba, the University of Malawi, and the African Council for Distance Education have embraced the notion of OER policy development and are now in the process of implementing these policies – either on their own or through the establishment of collaborative task forces. At Bunda College of Agriculture (University of Malawi), for instance, NBA’s facilitation of a series of OER, capacity-building and writing workshops, together with ongoing support, resulted in the development of a Communications Skills textbook created from freely available OER. In driving the research agenda, NBA has made significant contributions to journal publications – e.g. Distance Education 32(2), August 2011 – as well as to the COL-UNESCO Guidelines for Open Educational Resources (OER) in Higher Education (2011, 2015), and to the editing of the UNESCO/COL collection titled Open Educational Resources and Change in Higher Education: Reflections from Practice (2012). NBA managed the project budget and assisted in initiating several new partnerships under the OER Africa banner, including the African Health OER Network and the African Storybook Project. NBA has also been responsible for the design, development and management of the OER Africa website (http://www.oerafrica.org), which showcases the work that is being done through the OER Africa project. This also included the following services: 
 
  • Developing appropriate taxonomies and tagging for OER materials;
  • Sharing metadata with global OER repositories to increase the visibility of African OER;
  • Leading the OER Africa social media strategy and working with copy editors and graphic designers to produce marketing materials, brochures and newsletters;
  • Regular website improvements and quality control, including regular content updates;
  • Producing analytical reports on site visits and usage; and
  • Hosting and maintenance of the website.