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OERs play an important role in supporting teaching, learning and community services. In developing countries like Tanzania, which is largely devoid of current teaching materials, students and staff tend to use outdated books and poorly designed learning resources. Such situations are caused by the increased cost of textbooks and other printed resources from commercial companies. OERs are needed to widen access and enhance quality teaching and learning, and therefore, for the African academic community, the use of OERs is not optional but a necessity. Advantage of removing the barriers of accessing current and relevant materials which have been prepared, developed and reviewed by various experts.
The criteria used in formulating the categories of respondents (1st event) were mostly information-rich people who are knowledgeable in developing OER and lecturers who have integrated and used OER materials for teaching and learning at the OUT. These included ten (10) academic staff who participated in developing AVU and TESSA materials. A further fourteen (14) were drawn from faculties; departments that use OER materials to complement study materials generated by the University, and three (3) were from the OUT library and facilitator from OER Arica. The 2nd event again drew on faculty who had participated previously in OER production and integration, and senior members of the University such as Deans, Directors, and the DVC L&T and RS.
These results indicated that although the OUT staff were willing to participate in OERs they had limited awareness, skills and competences in creation, development, integration and use of OERs. Thus, OUT staff were less confident and hesitant to develop and use OERs. Also lack of a comprehensive policy which is directly addressing OER issues creates a vacuum in undertaking OER endeavours. This may lead into not giving due priority to OERs in the process of enhancing teaching and learning. The results indicate emphasises the fact that OER in most is a new phenomenon developing countries. Issues of credibility and quality of OERs were also discussed and it was agreed that these need to be addressed.
Planning includes drawing a roadmap with proposed dates to accomplish certain activities. OER development is a collaborative activity because multiple expertise in content, curriculum design, and instructional design and Information technology is required. Knowledge and skills on how to appropriately use OERs to develop OERs are important (remixing). Using OERs limits the time spent on seeking permissions /waivers of copyrights from authors or publishers. Developmental testing (TESSA and AVU) or pilot study (DF) are important quality assurance exercise. Production of materials in different formats – print, audio, video, CDs, online, widens accessibility.
Need to be able to adopt and adapt what is required from OER into the existing or new programme. Do Africans not want to consume what they have produced? It was agreed that more awareness raising, sensitization and capacity building, and support to students and instructors to use OER materials is required.
Also to incorporate OER in some existing policies that are relevant to OER e.g. ICT Policy, QA Policy, IP and Study Material Policy in order to avoid conflicting policies. Or could include pointers to the OER policy from with the other related policies. OUT to learn from other institutions in Africa or abroad (e.g. UNISA, Stanford University) that already have an independent OER policy.
While OERs are increasingly being embraced in Africa we are still lagging behind in terms of engaging holistically in the OER movement. The challenges highlighted in this paper notwithstanding there still exist untapped potential in terms of human resources. These are rich experiences that can be harnessed for OER production integration and use in Africa. The significance of this research and practice is that an institutional participatory action approach such as that described can assist in identifying such potential while taking stock of what we need to move forward. The authors believe that this approach can be extrapolated to other institutions, followed by national and regional initiatives to provide opportunities for institutionalisation and cross-institutional sharing of OERs.
Muganda samzugi mallinson presentation v02
Prof. C.K. MugandaProf. C.K. Muganda and Dr. A.S. Samzugi
Open University of Tanzania
and Brenda Mallinson, OER Africa / Saide
Empirical-based Analytical Insights
Position, Challenges and Potential
for Promoting OER
in ODeL Institutions in Africa
International Conference of the
African Virtual University
Nairobi, Kenya. July 2-3, 2015
• Motivation for study:
– immense benefits of OER material in promoting wider
access to education and improving the quality of
• Specifically, the study aimed to:
– analyse the current status of OERs at the OUT;
– share lessons learned in OER creation, development
and production; integration and use; hosting and
– discuss the rationale for an institutional OER policy
– identify the existing potential for OER development and
use in Africa.
• Descriptive qualitative research design
• Conducted at the Open University of Tanzania
• Participants were purposively sampled
• Methods used to collect data:
– questionnaires, focused group discussion, workshop
presentations and panel discussions
• Data gathering events:
– OER Institutional Practice Analysis - workshop 1
– OER Experience Sharing – workshop 2
Findings and Discussion
• Status of OER at OUT (FGD / Workshop 1)
• OER Experiencing Sharing (Workshop 2)
Status of OER at OUT (FGD / Workshop 1) (1/7)
– AVU, TESSA and MIT materials are most useful because they are
compatible with OUT programmes
– But - need to be better promoted
– There is a need to create awareness on OER potential
– No comprehensive policy yet to directly address OER issues
– OUT staff are willing to develop, integrate and use OERs
– Need for capacity building for staff in developing, integrating and
using OERs. i.e. via Professional Development
– Content experts be used to ensure quality of OERs developed and
used by OUT staff and students
– Proper citation and acknowledgement of source(s) required
OER Experience Sharing (Workshop 2) (2/7)
Lessons learned (a): OER Development and Production
•Basic ICT skills and competences are a prerequisite
•Institutional support required - provide time, budget and recognition of
•A plan to guide the OER development activities is essential
•Analysis of the educational context of the target users is important.
•Collaboration at international, national and institutional levels
•Capacity building is also a necessity.
•Funding is a major aspect.
•Quality assurance aspects need to be considered and adhered to.
•Determining the appropriate creative commons (CC) license to use is
OER Experience Sharing (Workshop 2) (3/7)
Discussion (a): OER Development and Production
•OER writing needs knowledge sharing, collaboration and
commitment of the of the team members.
•OER Development and production is a process.
•Review for quality and relevance should be conducted at all
stages of development, integration and use.
•Quality assurance for content and relevance is important.
•A policy/policies to guide the process is vital.
OER Experience Sharing (Workshop 2) (4/7)
Lessons learned (b): OER Integration and Use
•Central aspects were again: collaboration, institutional support,
funding, capacity building, awareness, sensitization, and supportive
•Willingness to adapt/adopt OERs in their modules (buy-in) needs to
be worked on because this may mean change in pedagogical
•In integrating OER in a new programme, the curriculum needs to be
present and clearly understood by the material developers.
•Planning on how and what to adopt / adapt is necessary.
•Agreement on plans/structure/format for integration is required.
•Make relevant OERs available to instructors and learners in an
OER Experience Sharing (Workshop 2) (5/7)
Discussion (b): OER Integration and Use
•There is a need to build capacity in synchronizing the curriculum
•Materials produced in Africa (e.g. AVU materials) are used more in
Asia and Brazil than Africa – WHY?
•Mitigating factors to finding, including limitations inherent in Africa
such as low bandwidth, intermittent internet connectivity, unreliable
electricity supply, poor awareness and insufficient information literacy
/ digital fluency..
•Need to seek a national-wide solution to inaccessibility to OERs due
to limited bandwidth, internet connectivity, and electricity.
OER Experience Sharing (Workshop 2) (6/7)
Lessons learned (c): OER Hosting and Dissemination
•Some OERs are hosted on the OUT website – including MIT, AVU, TESSA and
•OUT Online study material portal is available and working.
•Information literacy training is continuing –During activities like Orientation and
face 2 Face sessions (students) and during Panel marking (staff).
•Information literacy training is provided any time for library Users.
•Limitations in bandwidth that is limiting access.
Discussion (c): Hosting and Dissemination
•OERs fall under Creative Commons licencing and are designed to be reused.
•Need acknowledgement through proper citation; observing the CC license.
•Authors, editors can be consulted for permission to use sources.
•Plagiarism check software and citation software can assist.
•There is a need to train staff and students to avoid unintended plagiarism through
proper citation and acknowledgement of source.
OER Experience Sharing (Workshop 2) (6/6)
Lessons learned (d): Institutional Policies: Rationale
•OER related issues are mentioned in some institutional policies such as ICT Master
Plan, Study material policy, Quality Assurance, and IP.
•At national level the Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act, 1999 in section 35
indicates that a teacher in the classroom environment is allowed to use and
distribute materials for educational purposes. The distance education environment is
Discussion (d): Institutional Policies:
•It was agreed that there is a need for OUT to develop an OER policy.
•Could include pointers to the OER policy the ICT and other related policies
•ODL institutions including OUT to influence amendment of section 35 0f the
Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act, 1999.
•Ownership of theses and dissertations is with the author. OUT is an assignee.
•OUT to learn from other institutions that already have an independent OER policy.
• OUT to develop an OER policy to guide procedures and operationalize
• OUT to organize on a regular basis awareness and sensitization
workshops on OERs production and use. Integrate the shared
experiences into improving the OER practices at OUT.
• The University should be proactive in building capacity to its staff
members on production, integration and use of OERs. Lecturers
should be encouraged to incorporate and recommend OERs to their
• Collaborate with other institutions within and outside Tanzania in
production, integration and use of OERs. OUT identity and curriculum
should be considered in the collaboration.
• Publish, publicize and market OUT OERs
• Ensure quality of OERs. Incorporate OER issues in the review of QA
policy and study materials policy. Develop and institutionalize a
systematic work flow process for OERs production
• Strengthen theory and practice on OERs.
– Encourage and promote systematic research on the field of OERs.
– Engage with network and communities of practice on OERs eg.
GO-GN, Creative Commons etc.
• OER Africa/SAIDE has committed via new MOU to support and
collaborate with OUT in the area of OERs.
• OUT to lobby for Section 35 on copyright and neighbouring rights Act
of 1999 to include distance and online learning as opposed to
classroom mode only.
• The Institute of Education and Management Technologies (IEMT)
should work to ensure consistent access to online resources in the
• Open Education Resources can make significant contributions in enhancing
the access to quality education
• African ODeL institutions have staff who have participated in the
development, production, versioning, integration and use of OER.
• OER focussed action workshops have made a significant contribution to
understanding the current status and furthering the institutional practices of
OER at the Open University of Tanzania.
• The significance of this research and practice is that an institutional
participatory action approach such as that described can assist in identifying
such potential while taking stock of what we need to move forward.
• This approach can be extrapolated to other institutions, followed by national
and regional initiatives to provide opportunities for institutionalisation and
cross-institutional sharing of OERs.
Thank you for your attention!
This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported License.
Prof Cornelia Muganda
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