24 – 28 April: National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) OER strategy: successes, challenges and lessons learned

Presenter:Dr. Jane-Frances Agbu Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology & Honorary ICDE Chair in Open Educational Resources & Dean, Faculty of Health Sciences, National Open University of Nigeria

Format: Asynchronous discussion from 24 – 28 April + Live online meeting on Monday 24 April at 4 pm (SAST)

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There is a need for African Higher Education Institutions to reflect on their position and profile with respect to the new concepts of Open Educational Resources (OER) and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Dr. Jane-Frances Agbu argues that many institutions probably will consider the benefits to outweigh the barriers. The National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) combines its ‘classical’ openness with the new digital openness by fully embracing the OER approach and converting its complete course base into OER. NOUN is currently implementing its strategy towards becoming an OER-based Open University with a special niche for MOOCs. During a launch event in December 2015, the first 40 OER-based courses were presented as well as the first 3 OER-based MOOCs. NOUN is one of the first open universities in the world with a full-fledged OER (& MOOCs) implementation route. What have been some of the successes, challenges and lessons learned since then?  Dr. Jane-Frances Agbu will discuss NOUN’s OER strategy (including sensitization, capacity building, design of NOUN 1st OER based MOOCs) and lessons learned.

Dr. Jane-Frances AgbuDr. Jane-Frances Agbu, is an  Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology and Dean in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the National Open University of Nigeria. She is also an Honorary ICDE Chair in Open Educational Resources and has been involved NOUN’s OER strategy since 2014. She has been in open education system for the past eleven years and has contributed immensely in this sector. She is passionate about opening-up knowledge for the common good.

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10 – 13 April: Agricultural Indigenous Knowledge (AIK) as OER: AgShare II

Presenter: Maxwell Omwenga, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, United States & Makerere University, Uganda

Format: Asynchronous discussion from 10 April – 13 April + Live online meeting on Monday 10 April at 2 pm
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How can researchers and communities collaborate to create and disseminate high quality OERs?

AgShare is a collaboration between existing organizations. It is an alignment initiative to leverage the attention of existing organizations in various domains to create and openly share different types of OER that strengthen MSc agriculture faculty and curriculum and create downstream uses of the OER for other stakeholders. The AgShare methodology consists of using a research-based approach for the co-creation and release/sharing of purposeful agricultural knowledge within and across stakeholder groups. It  is a scalable and sustainable  serving to fill  critical gaps in agriculture related curriculum. Graduate students engage in participatory action  research connecting them to communities and smallholders and through rigorous research practices, they collaborate to produce high quality, peer-reviewed research, case studies and extension materials for disseminating widely to the relevant stakeholders.  

The College of Computing and Information Sciences (CoCIS) together with College of  Agriculture and Environmental Studied (CAES) both from Makerere University,  embarked on a collaborative research project whose aim was to investigate the forms of Agricultural Indigenous Knowledge used by different groups of farmers. Findings reveal that despite the advent of modern farming methods, many small scale farmers continue to embrace indigenous farming knowledge for managing soil fertility, controlling pests and diseases, controlling weeds, soil preparation, planting materials, harvesting and storage of indigenous root crops and animals.

The research project sought to establish the existing methods of documenting and disseminating such AIK, investigate the constraints of documenting and disseminating AIK, and determine the best strategies for documenting and disseminating of AIK as Open Educational Resources (OERs), so as to contribute to sustainable food security efforts in Soroti, Hoima and Masaka Districts in Uganda.

An AgShare Quality Assurance Toolkit was developed as part of the AgShare Project and is available at: (http://www.oerafrica.org/system/files/12155/agshare-toolkit-finalopt.pdf?file=1&type=node&id=12155). In it are resources supporting the development of open, high quality, localized content and research that follows best practices. The Toolkit provides resources and quality assurance processes which can be used to ensure that the open outputs developed for research and farm communities will follow best practices. This resource may provide inspiration to colleagues involved in similar initiatives in other disciplines.

Other open outputs from the project include an open online database that was developed using Agri-Drupal, to enhance access and exchange of information on agricultural indigenous knowledge. http://agshare-ik.mak.ac.ug [YouTube Videos]. Case studies to support agricultural research themes were also developed to support the delivery of the MSc Information Sciences programs in Makerere University.

Maxwell OmwengaMaxwell Momanyi Omwenga, is a PhD candidate at The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, United States. His research interest include Data Science, Artificial Intelligence, and Multi Access Edge Computing. Omwenga was part of the technical team that developed the Agricultural Indigenous Knowledge (AIK) OER Database. Also worked closely with graduate students to train them on how to capture and produce AIK multimedia content using smart phones.

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4 May: Learning analytics: Opportunities and dilemmas

Presenter: Paul Prinsloo, Research Professor in Open and Distance Learning, University of South Africa (Unisa)

Format: Live online meeting on Thursday 4 May at 1 pm (SAST)

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As higher education increasingly moves to online and digital learning spaces, we have access not only to greater volumes of student data, but also to increasingly fine-grained and nuanced data’ (Prinsloo & Slade, 2017).

This session provides an introduction to learning analytics. Paul shares how this data is being used by institutions for a range of purposes and stakeholders, as well as some of the implications and ethics involved in doing so. Some universities in Africa are wondering whether or not to invest the time and resources in learning analytics, how best to make use of and how to collect it. Others are already making use of it institutionally or in specific contexts rather than at an institutional level. Paul will discuss some of his recent research, including how uses of learning analytics unfolded at South Africa’s largest open distance education provider.

The webinar encourages us to engage with the following questions:

  • Is bigger data better data? What evidence can such data provide and what are some of the shortcomings?
  • What are some of the ethical dilemmas involved in uses of student data?
  • Is the hype over learning analytics based on idealism rather than reality? How can we move beyond the hype of learning analytics?
  • Are lessons learnt from the global north about uses of learning analytics a useful starting point for educators in African Higher Education? What do we adopt and where do we adapt?

Prof. Paul PrinslooPaul Prinsloo, is a Research Professor in Open and Distance Learning (ODL) in the College of Economic and Management Sciences, University of South Africa (Unisa). His academic background includes fields as diverse as theology, art history, business management, online learning, and religious studies. Paul is an established researcher and has published numerous articles in the fields of teaching and learning, student success in distance education contexts, learning analytics, and curriculum development. His current research focuses on the collection, analysis and use of student data in learning analytics, graduate supervision and digital identity. Paul was born curious and in trouble. Nothing has changed since then. He blogs at https://opendistanceteachingandlearning.wordpress.com/ and his Twitter alias is @14prinsp

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