A handbook entitled Guidance on Open Educational Practices during School Closure: Utilizing OER in COVID-19 Pandemic in line with UNESCO OER Recommendation (hereafter referred to as Guidance) initiated by UNESCO IITE, UNESCO INRULED and Smart Learning Institute of Beijing Normal University (SLIBNU) jointly researched by nearly thirty experts will be released on May 18th. In the special period of the COVID-19 pandemic, this handbook will promote the application of open educational resources in combination with appropriate pedagogical methodologies, well-designed learning objects and the diverity of learning activities to enhance engagement and activity in educational process.
UNESCO defines Open Educational Resources (OER) as learning, teaching and research materials in any format and medium that reside in the public domain or under copyright that have been released under an open license, that permit no-cost access, re-use, re-purpose, adaptation and redistribution by others. For teachers, using OER can save time in preparing learning materials.
Meanwhile, learners are encouraged, during the learning process using OER, to search for, select, and use high-quality OER while preparing their content (e.g. assignments, presentations, videos, reports). They are also required to attribute open licenses to their prepared open learning materials so other learners can reuse them as OER. During this process, learners can be more active and engaged.
Open Educational Practices (OEP) is a set of teaching and learning practiced which is OER-enabled. Nowadays, researchers focus more on practice-centred that foster collaboration between learners and teachers for creating and sharing knowledge. This publication aims to show the implications of using OEP and OER on learning outcomes. Particularly, it describes, through illustrative examples, innovative approaches to using OEP and OER worldwide during COVID-19 outbreak. These experiences are in line with UNESCO OER recommendations for five areas, namely: 1) Building capacity of stakeholders to create access, use, adapt and redistribute OER; 2) Developing supportive policy; 3) Encouraging inclusive and equitable quality OER; 4) Nurturing the creation of sustainability models for OER; 5) Facilitating international cooperation.
This handbook discusses the use of OEP and OER during COVID-19 outbreak through twelve global vivid stories and experiences, and in line with the five UNESCO objectives. It also discusses OER competencies for OEP, including searching and selecting OER as well as choosing an open license etc. Finally, this handbook provides guidelines to both teachers and learners to facilitate OEP and OER application. For example, teachers should also have an active role in building a trustworthy learning environment by continuously encouraging their students to share their opinions and answers. Learners should remember to attribute open licences to their prepared open learning materials so they can be reused by others as OER.
Prof. Huang Ronghuai, Dean of the SLIBNU, said that the Guidance also provides some implications in the popularization and sustainability of OER as follows:
Developing universal courses as OER can achieve universal values (e.g., social progress and equal rights) regardless of each country’s culture and educational program.
Encouraging the integration of OER in different learning mediums (online and offline), such as web platforms, television, radios, and printed materials can increase knowledge access to meet the needs and material circumstances of target learners and the educational objectives of different courses or subjects.
Establishing innovative mechanisms on the use and development of OER with emerging technologies (e.g., AI or AR/VR) to facilitate OER sustainable adoption worldwide.
Facilitating research on issues related to AI ethics, privacy and data protection in terms of sharing and applying OER, OER infrastructure and related services to ensure sustainable and secure development of open education.
Designing new models of training (online or on-campus) about open education for several stakeholders (e.g., learners, teachers, administrative staff, directors) to help them learn about innovative open school services that can be explored (e.g., open libraries or open curriculum)