The report of UNESCO’s International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP), with support from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, on the subject of Open Educational Resources (open content for higher education) has been released. The report synthesizes discussion from an online form that was held in Oct and Nov. 2005 and attracted almost 500 participants from 90 countries.
The report details and discusses the different type of Open Access policies and practices that have evolved from early proponents, developers and adopters. Of particular interest to me was the discussion on motivation for participation by faculty and the discussion of the different types of copyright and licensing in use.
Although Open content is a global issue, the report notes that almost all development takes place in developed countries and most of that in the US. But as one delegate noted “something is better than nothing and that the OER resources that are being developed are an extremely valuable resource.”
This 16 page report is an excellent primer on the issues involved and should be a “must read” for activists and international NGOs, education administrators, faculty and global citizens.
A second formal forum will be held jointly with OECD in late 2006. You can find more information about the forum and ongoing community at http://www.unesco.org/iiep/virtualuniversity/forums.php. To join the community, please send a request to email@example.com.
Open Education Resources will not solve all issues of education access and affordability but they are certainly one important step in a comprehensive global education strategy.