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 network, and drafting strategies to ensure synergy between educational technology policies and initiatives and OER. NBA 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 included conducting OER sensitization, capacity building and policy review workshops, and providing support around policy and financial considerations. Furthermore, NBA’s responsibility for advocacy and network building 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 such as the University of Education, Winneba, University of Malawi, and the African Council for Distance education have embraced the notion of OER policy development, are now in the process of implementing these policies, either on their own, or through the establishment of collaborative task forces. For example, at Bunda College of Agriculture at the University of Malawi, NBA’s facilitation of a series of OER, capacity building and writing workshops ,together with ongoing support, resulted in a the development of a Communications Skills textbook created from freely available OER.
In driving the research agenda, NBA made significant contributions to journal publications such as Distance Education, Vol. 32, No. 2, August 2011, the COL-UNESCO Guidelines on Open Educational Resources (OER) in Higher Education, and in editing the UNESCO/Commonwealth of Learning (COL) collection entitled OER as a catalyst for educational change in higher education: Case studies and reflections from practice.
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 (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 increasing 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 continuous content updates.
- Producing analytical reports on site visits and usage.
- Hosting and maintenance of the website.