UNESCO/COL Chair in OER Annual Report 2012-2013
[UNESCO/COL Chair in Open Educational Resources]
Period of activity: April 1, 2012 to March 31, 2013
Title of the UNESCO/COL Chair or Network: UNESCO/COL Chair in OER
Institution/Country Athabasca University, CANADA
Report established by: Rory McGreal
Function / Title: Chairholder & Professor Centre for Distance Education
or to UNESCO, Division of Higher Education
7, place Fontenoy – 75352 Paris 07 SP
Fax: 33 1 45 68 56 26/27/28
The Chairholder is the lead editor in a new research book on OER and has worked with the editor of an online journal to convert it to a more specific focus on OER as a research topic. Our collaboration with the African Virtual University has resulted in their hiring a Canadian OER researcher who has been working closely with the Chair as the head of their OER initiative in Africa. We have also worked with the OER Foundation to ensure that the next meeting of the OER university initiative participants (20 institutions) will be in Canada, in BC in November. The Chair is maintaining the OER Knowledge Cloud website and the OCW site listing in order to support researchers on OER and users. We have also worked with our Dutch colleagues on re-establishing the UNESCO Graduate network for OER and worked closely with international partners including the OER Foundation on building the OER university initiative, where we participated as founding members. A major international online conference was convened to aid in the mapping of the international OER community.
Specific outcomes already completed institutionally include the operationalisation of a standards-based learning object repository using an open source content management system – AlFresco. This work is continuing to allow for more flexible instructor input and output with a grant this year of c. $900K from the Canadian Foundation for Innovation and the Alberta government.
Nationally, the Chair was an invited participant at workshops with college vice presidents in BC and supported the BCcampus in advising the government on their OER initiative (40 new postsecondary courses as OER). This resulted from the intervention of the BC Minister of Advanced Education at the Council of Ministers of Education Canada meeting in Halifax, where this Chair worked with the Director of BCcampus in support of the BC and Alberta ministers speaking in favour of OER. This is the first time that a discussion on OER has occurred among policy makers at the national level. The Chair is also actively involved in a Europroject (POERUP) to report on OER activity and policies across Canada. The Chair has actively campaigned in the university, provincially and nationally explaining the new copyright Bill C-32 in relation to OER and its significance for universities.
I. Address and Contact
Address of the
Address of the
E-mail address of the Chairholder or its representative
Website of UNESCO/COL Chair or UNITWIN Network
Associate VP Research
Technology Enhanced Knowledge Research Institute
1 University Drive
+1 780 9949579
UNESCO/COL Chair in OER
Information is the same
II. Available resources
For each type of resource placed at the disposal of the Chair/Network, please specify its source (cf. Annex 1)
1. Human resources
- Status of the Chair in the organizational structure of the Institution (number of posts contributing to the Chair) 10
- Number of academic staff (full time and part time), full professors, researchers, lecturers Profs: 4 Assoc. Profs: 2; Assistant Profs: 2
- Number of visiting staff: 1
- If there are other staff or groups contributing to the Chair or Network, please indicate their number and status (postgraduate students, advisors, consultants, experts, NGOs, etc) Consultants: 2; Postgrad: 1
- Number of administrative staff: 2
2. Other resources
Financial contributions: April 1, 2011 to March 31 2012
Athabasca University contribution
Chair ($100K /yr) portion of salary: $ 100 000
Support staff & costs ($50 K X 2 @ 10% X 1 yr.) $ 10 000
Participating faculty (10% @ $120K X 5 X 1 yr.) $ 60 000
Open Education Foundation (OEF) in kind contribution of Director $ 5 000
Social Sciences and Humanities Council Insight Grant $ 22 000
TOTAL $ 197 000
New external funding (2012 -2013)
UNESCO grant to create an OER for teaching communications to Arab women $ 30 000
Commonwealth of Learning $ 15 000
MORPH Canadian Fund for Innovation $900 000
Material resources (indicate their nature and use):
Server space for housing OER repository and websites est. $ 2 000
Computers for staff and faculty est. $ 1 000
Space placed at the disposal of the Chair or Network
One office for the Chair and desks for staff and facult est. $ 12 000
To facilitate easy handily of data, for each type of resources listed above, please provide the amount whenever available or an estimate sum in US Dollars or Euros.
(Please, provide short information for each activity)
1. Academic activities
Education (leading to certification)
As part of the Chair priorities, the Chairholder continues to maintain a functional OER Knowledge Cloud that can be used to support the OER research network being led by the Dutch Chair. The Cloud now has more than 500 searchable scholarly articles and reports. As part of the OER Knowledge Cloud initiative, an edited book on OER was commissioned and 16 chapters have been submitted and reviewed. It is now being prepared for publication by the Commonwealth of Learning in May 2013. In addition, a special issue of the refereed journal International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning (IRRODL) is being published and shall be out this Spring with eight to ten research articles on OER. These will all be added to the OER Knowledge Cloud and released with a Creative Commons attribution licence.
A graduate level course and MOOC was delivered by the UNESCO Chairholder and partner on the topic of Open Education.
· Duration: four months
· Target groups: graduate students; professionals
· Geographical: Worldwide
The UNESCO/COL Chair website and blog are being maintained:
http://unescochair.athabascau.ca as is the open courseware website”
Training (short term)
OCL4Ed Workshop an International online OER training workshop led by the OER Foundation and UNESCO and delivered to more than 30 countries. June, 2012
· Duration: two weeks
· Target groups: instructors; professionals (cf. Annex 2) + 1000 participants
· Geographical coverage for partners and participants: worldwide
Open Access Week Online Seminar: Fun and Fear in Open Spaces. October, 2012
· Duration: one week
· Target groups: instructors; professionals (cf. Annex 2) + 140 participants
· Geographical coverage for partners and participants: worldwide
OCL4Ed2: Open Content Licencing for Educators – an online OER training workshop led by UNESCO and the OER Foundation (more than 90 countries in all the workshops)
· Duration: two weeks
· Target groups: instructors; professionals (cf. Annex 2) +1500 participants
· Geographical coverage for partners and participants: worldwide
See Annex for international statistics on the OCL4Ed courses.
OER Workshop, 3rd Annual E-Learning Summit, Informa, Melbourne, Australia, March, 2013.
Workshop: OER basics and the OER Graduate Network. ODLAA Conference, Manly, NSW, Australia, Feb. 2013
Workshop: Open Education – a Global Challenge. OER Sverige Webinar, Sweden, February, 2013. http://oersverige.se/open-education-a-global-challenge/
OER Workshop, Campus Alberta and Ministry of Advanced Education and Technology, December, 2012
Workshop: Virtual platforms at Athabasca University, Moscow State University of Economics, Statistics and Informatics, October, 2012
Workshop:Транцформация в университет 21ого века (Transformation of a university for the 21st century), Moscow State University of Economics, Statistics and Informatics, October, 2012
Pre-Conference Workshop, OER and Mobile Learning, SMART Futures Conference, Moscow, October, 2012
Panelist, European Foundation for Quality in ELearning (EFQUEL), Granada, Spain. September, 2012
Panel Chair, International Conference on Advanced Learning Technologies (ICALT), Rome, July, 2012
UNESCO/COL International Conference on OER, Paris, June 2012
The Chair holder focused on OER research and the goals of the OER Chair by studying and disseminating information both internally and across Canada on copyright and the new copyright Bill C-32. Other research included collaborative work with the OER Foundation on OER for assessment and credit for students, in which we investigated assessment and accreditation practices, including Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) internationally.
The OER mapping exercise culminated with an international online forum 2012.
· Title: OER mapping; assessment; accreditation; OER; Open access
· Duration: Ongoing
· Target groups: administrators, instructors, professionals, policymakers
· Geographical coverage for partners and participants: worldwide
· Intended use of results: Contribute to global awareness raising and networking
Refereed book chapters
Refereed Journal Articles
Conrad, D., & McGreal, R. (2012, December). Flexible paths to assessment for OER learners: A comparative study. JIME: Journal of Multimedia in Education. Retrieved from http://jime.open.ac.uk/jime/issue/view/2012-Cambridge-OER
Anderson, T., & McGreal, R. (2012). Disruptive pedagogies and technologies in universities. Educational Technology and Society, 15(4), 380-389. Retrieved from http://www.ifets.info/journals/15_4/32.pdf
Kennepohl, D., Ives, C., Stewart, B., & McGreal, R. (2012). Building the e-university: Transforming Athabasca University. Educause Review. Retrieved from http://www.educause.edu/ero/article/building-e-university-transforming-athabasca-university
Refereed Conference Proceedings
McGreal, R., Chen, N.-S., & McNamara, T. (2012). A comparison of an open access university press with traditional presses: Two years later , ELPUB2012. . Social Shaping of Digital Publishing: Exploring the interplay between Culture and Technology, Proceedings of the 16th International Conference on Electronic Publishing. Retrieved from http://elpub.scix.net/cgi-bin/works/Show?101_elpub2012
McGreal, R., Dron, J., & Ellerman, E. (2012). Virtual platforms at Athabasca University: International Development Research Institute: Ottawa.
McGreal, R. et al. Report on the assessment and accreditation of learners using OER. SSHRC project (in progress). Commonwealth of Learning: Vancouver
2. Conferences/ Meetings
Invited Speaker: Conference Presentations & Workshops
Keynote: 3rd Annual E-Learning Summit, Informa Higher Education, Melbourne, Australia, March, 2013.
Keynote: India-Canada International Conference on Open and Flexible Distance Learning, SNDT Women’s University, Mumbai, February, 2013.
Keynote:Транцформация в университет 21ого века (Transformation of a university for the 21st century), Moscow State University of Economics, Statistics and Informatics, October, 2012
Keynote European Association of Distance Teaching Universities (EADTU), Paphos, Cyprus, September, 2012
R McKerlich, R., Ives, C., & McGreal, R. (2013). Ready, Set. Go! Researching Institutional Readiness to Adopt Open Educational Resources (OER). Paper presented at the Canadian Network for Innovation in Education, Ottawa. April, 2013.
R OER policies in Canada, OCWC Conference, Bali, Indonesia, May, 2013 (with T. Anderson) (accepted)
R Assessment and accreditation of OER. OCWC Conference, Bali, Indonesia, May, 2013 (accepted)
R Change Management: Using Open content and virtual labs for 21st century education. The Higher Education Technology Agenda. Hobart, Australia, April, 2013 (with D. Kennepohl, C. Ives, B. Stewart).
R Virtual Platforms at Athabasca University. Hawaii International Conference on Education, Honolulu, January, 2013. (authored with J. Dron & E. Ellerman).
R Disaggregating universities. Open Education Conference, Vancouver, Oct. 2012 (with T. Anderson)
R UNESCO Chair in OER Network. Open Education Conference, Vancouver, Oct. 2012 (with F. Mulder)
R Electronic Internationalization for Collaborative Learning, EIC 2012, Crimea, Ukraine, 2012
R AUPress: 2 years later. ElPub 2012 – 16th Int’l Conf. on Electronic Publishing. Guimaraes, Port., June 2012
R Kennepohl, D., McGreal, R., Ives, C., & Stewart, B. The next generation: Transformation to a 21st century university via Core strategic projects. EDEN 2012, Porto, Portugal, June, 2012.
R Why OER? Quantitative and Qualitative Methods for Libraries Conference, Limerick, IRL, May, 2012
Reviewer for IEEE Transactions on Learning Technologies,
Reviewer for In Education Journal (formerly Policy & Practice in Education)
Reviewer for the International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning
Advisory Board for the International Journal of Distance Education Technologies
Journal of Technology for Education and Learning, Editorial Board
Editorial board of the International Journal of Mobile Learning and Organisation (IJMLO)
25th International Council for Distance Education Conference Programme Committee
Program Committee, International Conference on Computer Supported Education (CSEDU 2012)
OER4Adults Europroject Advisory Board
New Initiatives Chair, IEEE Technical Committee on Learning Technology
Intl. Review Committee on OER for Practitioners course, Learning Agency Network
Program Committee 5th IET Intl. Conf. on Ubi-Media Computing (U-Media 2012), Xining, China
European Commission Research Evaluator
3. Interuniversity Exchanges/ Partnerships
- UNISA, South Africa
- Open University of the Netherlands
- Open University UK
- OER University initiative (20 institutions on five continents)
- University of Southern Queensland
- University of Leicester
- OER Foundation
- African Virtual University
- Association of African Universities
- Brazilian Association for Distance Education (ABED)
- Commonwealth of Learning (COL)
- DEHub, Australia
- European Association of Distance Teaching Universities (EADTU)
- International Association of Universities
- National Academy of Sciences, Ukraine
- Observatory of Borderless Higher Education
- Open Courseware Consortium (OCWC)
- SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition)
- UNESCO Canada
- International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE)
4. Publication and multimedia materials
(Please estimate costs of publications and expected revenues from their sale)
No revenues: These are OER
Edited book (refereed)
McGreal, R. Kinutha, W. & Marshall, S. (Eds.) (in press). Open Educational Resources. Commonwealth of Learning: Vancouver [May publication date]
See Research section for other publications
Etextbooks (mobile enabled)
McGreal, R. & Baker, D. Basic English Learning for Information and Computer Technologies. Commonwealth of Learning and Athabasca University. Available: https://ictesl.athabascau.ca/
Dewhurst, D. & Zariski, A. et al. Legislative Drafting. (in progress) Commonwealth of Learning: Vancouver. (use of my COL grant and OER input and experience)
Many modules added as OER on the Open Courseware Organization website: http://ocw.athabascau.ca
Please describe shortly (up to 500 words) the major outcomes of the Chair/Network with special reference to their impact on the human, social, economical and cultural development at local, national, regional or international level. Whenever applicable indicate the impact of activities on promoting gender equality, rural development, attaining the Millennium Development Goals, Education For All and Sustainable development etc. We would like also to receive more detailed information on the activities of the Chair or Network at national level for e.g. implication of the Chair/Network in national Policies.
Specific outcomes already completed institutionally include the operationalisation of a standards-based learning object repository using an open source content management system – AlFresco. This XML repository can house OER in an open format for output to any kind of application or device. It has been populated by more than 700 courses in which an increasing number of OER are housed. This work is continuing to allow for more flexible instructor input and output with a grant from the Canadian Fund for Innovation. Institutionally and for international researchers, the Chair is maintaining the OER Knowledge Cloud website and the OCW site listing OER created/adapted at Athabasca University. Nationally, the Chair holder was an invited participant at workshops with college vice presidents in BC and supported the BCcampus in advising the government on their OER initiative (40 new postsecondary courses as OER). This was a direct result from the intervention of the BC Minister of Advanced Education at the Council of Ministers of Education Canada meeting in Halifax, where this Chair worked with the Director of BCcampus in support of the BC and Alberta ministers speaking about OER. We have also re-established the UNESCO network for OER and worked closely with international partners including the OER Foundation on building the OER university initiative, where we participated as founding members: and we are continuing the process of mapping the international OER community.
Progress towards outcomes
This was an important year for the OER/COL Chair. The Chair has actively campaigned in the university, provincially and nationally explaining the new copyright Bill C-32 in relation to OER and its significance for universities. Internally, we have created a formal committee on copyright and OER and have moved the OER initiative forward at AU and with the provincial Ministry of Advanced Education with the co-operation of Campus Alberta. The Chair with Campus Alberta organized a special meeting of VPs of colleges in Alberta in December to promote OER.
The major impacts of Chair activity are beginning to be realized. At AU, we now have committed ourselves to OER and have removed ourselves from a copyright collective in order to focus on OER and university-licensed materials. In the province, we have been working with the Alberta Rural Development Network, measuring the impact of their certification program and with the Department of Advanced Education and Technology supporting an etext initiative using OER.AU is now in the process of developing OER MOOC-like courses in Open communications, Green computing,
In Canada, we are involved in a Europroject (POERUP) to report on OER activity and policies across Canada. We have published a report on this. See < http://poerup.referata.com/wiki/Canada>. The OER Knowledge Cloud has been a major success with thousands of researchers visiting the site and using the database. Internationally we continuing to be active participants in the OER Foundation –led assessment and accreditation for students, collaborating on initiatives including submitting OER proposals to funding agencies. We also are supporting the new UNESCO OER list.
V. Forthcoming activities
(Please outline the action plan for the current biennium)
The original focus of the UNESCO/COL Chair in OER at Athabasca University remains the general context for the work.
Institutional Capacity Building
· Train AU faculty and staff in the creation, development, adaptation and use of OERs to promote high quality learning at lower cost;
· Undertake collaborative research on OERs and priority issues, such as quality and cultural appropriateness through the Technologically Enhanced Knowledge Research Institute (TEKRI);
· Conduct research on current problems in creating and using OERs in a cost effective and efficient manner;
· Conduct and assemble scholarly research on OERs, disseminate it actively to other Canadian institutions and those in other countries via online lectures and publish research findings online in open access scholarly and popular journals.
· Initiate policies promoting OER in the university and support the initiative to oppose the Access Copyright restrictive licensing.
National Capacity Building
· Raise awareness of OER through appropriate national entities such as the Canadian Virtual University and the Canadian Commission for UNESCO;
· Promote inter-provincial collaboration in OER creation and use.
· Work with provincial educational ministries to inform them of the need for OER and help in the formulation of policies in support of OER.
International Capacity Building
· Contribute to interaction and information exchange in the international OER Community;
· Enable a decentralized international OER Network to promote North-South-South triangular collaboration;
· Contribute to the collaborative mapping exercise of OER initiatives worldwide;
· Conduct research on the use of OER and related issues, such as access;
· Collaboratively develop or use post-secondary programs as OER, with partners in the South and in fields relevant to the concerns of the South;
· Maintain an online presence, enabling collaboration and information sharing.
Specific goals include:
· Build the international OER Network of institutions and organizations;
· Promote and contribute to a map of the landscape of OER initiatives worldwide;
· Develop and support a network of OER researchers through online seminars and face to face meetings;
· Train at least 100 OER cadres in developing countries in the coming year (using OER), who will become empowered and capable of instructing others online;
· Undertake and disseminate research on OER;
· Provide consultancy and advisory services.
The current workplan for the UNESCO/COL Chair in OER focuses on maintaining the international OER Community and enabling an international OER Network. The objective is to build the capacity of institutions to create, adapt, modify, localize and reuse OERs, and to conduct research into the benefits and problems associated with introducing and deploying OERs in institutions. Building on the present OER Community, the Chair will continue to complement it, collaborating with the international OER Graduate Network, essentially moving from a Community of Interest to develop a Community of Practice, recognizing the priority areas identified by UNESCO - Africa and youth, as well as the need for gender equity.
Specific activities will include sustaining the international OER Community; building the international OER Graduate Network; being involve the mapping OER initiatives worldwide; maintaining a significant online presence; and converting IRRODL into a journal that includes OER research for information sharing and dissemination.
VI. Development prospects
Action aimed at obtaining a stable permanent status of the Chair/Network in the structure of the Institution
Short and medium term:
Raise the profile of the UNESCO/COL Chair and include relevant institutional partners
Secure sustainable funding for the OER Chair as an integral component of the Technology Enhanced Knowledge Institute (TEKRI)..
Expanding activities: Include interdisciplinary institutional partners.
Broadening partnerships: Widen the scope of OER activity to include non-TEKRI researchers in Nursing, Computer Science, the Arts and Sciences.
Mobilization of resources: Include partners in proposals to funding agencies and make effective use of the Canadian Foundation for Innovation equipment that has been awarded.
Learning 4 content registration numbers
OCL4Ed 2011.03 (Pilot)
Sub-Saharan Africa and Indian Ocean Islands
Oceania and South Pacific