The TESSA OER experience

By Freda Wolfeden & Bob Moon

There are 18 instituions involved in thsi consortium to train teachers in Sub-Saharan Africa. The TESSA Portal: South Africa Country Page.

Challenge: need to devise materials that could be easily localised and contextualised for a number of institutions. Highly structured templates for study units were devised. Each study unit was written used the auhtoring template. Particular components were identified, teh ones that would remain the same. Other components would have to be modified and adapted by other partner instituions. There 750 study units, over 2000 activities, 11.000 study hours of materials will be there on teh site. The writing involves over 100 authors and 1000 teachers testing and providing feedback on the units.

Context of in which learners will be working: most teachers will not have access to the internet, most of them do not even have eletricity. The study units can be turned into a variety of different formats. There are PDFs that can be printed out or word documents as well. Supporting dialogue and discussion for people to develop their own materials and share them is essential in the project. There is a homepage for every country involved in the project.

Content is being generated and activites are carefully thought about, especially on how they will be used. Games in the classroom are also encouraged. There will be 450.000 teachers engaging with the materials in 2008.

Framing Factors:

15 hours of study time. Ease of localisation, quality assuarance, access and take-up, portal design and organisation.

Access and take up: they are not using proprietory softwae so there is no need to worry about licenses.

They wish to build an Architecture for Teacher Development


Devising a participatory open educational resources architecture for higher education in Sub-Saharan Africa: a typological approach

By Peter Bateman.

Presentation based on his PhD research.

OER Typology:

1) Creation

What to consider when authoring OER:

Authoring original OER (very few people do)


Think of how to diseeminate oERs in Sub-Saharan Africa. Videos is not an alternative because there is no way to disseminate them. Policy makers shoudl be aware of all these issues to make informed decisions.

2) Utilization

Mechnaism for auhtoring/updating OER

Using existing OER

Quality Assurance Mechanism

Accreditation of materials

Pedagogical Models

Peter devised a Participatory OER Architecture for Africa. Africa is at a point of making a social history and they are keen to be involved in the OER production. It is about a framework for decision makers. Four key elements: creation, organization, dissemination, utilization. There are 7 key components to be implemented through universities in Sub-Saharn Africa to scaffold their path into the movement. What would be teh components supportreffective participation of Sub-Saharan Africa in the OER movement?

1st component: Research

Need to convince decision makers of the importance of the OER movement

2st component: Pedagogy

Ensure that pedagogically sound teaching and learning paradigms are devised that are appropriate and context specific. This may inlcude devise cost effective open an ddistance learnign programs that increase access to educational opportunities.

3rd component: Technology Support

He mentions teh planned fibre optic networks in Africa.

4th component: Sensitization

Raising awareness at all levels: government, ministries, senior institutional management, educational practitioners and NGOs.

5th Collaboration

Easy to use systems for collaborative authoring, sharing of experiences and expertise. And for sharing policy frameworks.

6th component: Capacity Enhancement and Training

7th component: Policy Framework – his main interest

Strong policy is necessary to enable the leverage of the OER movement in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) require policy support. OERs need ot be one of the themes considered for acadmeic publications – should be encouraged and counted for purposes of carrier progression.

These components are not mutually exclusive. He porposes a dynamic typology (still work in progress) Additoonal categories and sub-categories are expected to be added.

The end. Nice presentation.

Question from the audience:

Can you talk a bit more about how to disseminate the idea?

Open Learning Initiative: measuring the effectiveness of OLI statistics course in accelerating learning

Presentation by Candice Thille & Joel Smith

Well, I got a bit tied up with cleaning up the files from my digital voice recorder and missed the beggining of the talk. It’s about 20 min on now. From here:

Second study: Spring 2006 – Comprehensive Assessment of Outcomes in a first Statistics course (CAOS)

Increase 7.9%pts of accuracy National Sample against 11.7% OLI sample

Results of both studies: Online courses ‘do no harm’

Further analysis showed that for some traditionally difficutl statistical ideas the online course showed and advantage over traditional courses.

Third study: Spring 2007 “Accelerated Learning”

Requirement: go through the course in an accelerated pace and comolete all the activities. Post questions to be addressed in class. Work two 50-minute meetings a week.

OLI students: 18%pts increase and Traditional control (national?) = missed teh figure, slide is gone

Summary: students of OLI had a considerable higher achievement that the control group, even though they studied all the content of a semester in only half a semester.

This talk is about a statistics course and obviously uses lots of statiscal data. It is a study based on comparing data to a ‘control goup’. As I am not an statistics expert (or quantitative methods), I cannot really give an opinion on it, but it sounds rather structured and the speaker is very enthused.

Accelerated learning results:

85% definitely recommend

15% probably recommend

Nobody said no

Now, it remains to me the task to understand better what this accelerated learning stuff is about! I missed the beginning and got lost afterwards :-(

OpenLearn demo

It’s Monday and we are here at the conference centre doing a demo of the OpenLearn website for the participants. Jo, Laura and the OpenLearn team are welcoming  the visitors. Simon, Elia, Alex and Ale are presenting the tools. Patrick, Steve and Andreia (me!) are talking about research in OpenLearn. Here are some photos for you to take a look…

OpenCourseWare Consortium Conference and OpenED 2007 – Logan, Utah, USA 2007

  1. OpenCourseWare Consortium Fall Conference – Utah

1.1Date and location 

September 24th-25th 2007 – Utah State University, Logan, USA

  1.2 General details of the meeting and presentation: 

The main purpose of the conference was to discuss the governance proposal of the OCW Consortium. A final draft has been approved and a governance pack will be sent to the OER leader of each institution to be signed on behalf of their initiatives.

There have been presentations of OER initiatives on different themes. Our presentation was entitled: Learning from our learner’s experiences, and presented by me on behalf of the research team. The mp3 for the talk can be found here.

  1.3 Conference website  

  1. OpenEd2007 – Localizing and Learning – Utah State University

  2.1 Date and location 

September 26th – 28th 2007 – Utah State University, Logan, USA

 2.2 Details of the conference 

The conference aimed at educators and other parties involved in the production, delivery and use of open educational resources. There have been a wide variety of presentations, ranging from themes related to copyright licenses and tools to institutional experiences. Very few papers had a theoretical or research background.

 2.3 Paper presentation (ppt and pdf full doc) 

The paper I presented was entitled “The Discourses of OERs: How Flat is this World?” (ppt). The full paper can be found here.

Authors: Andreia Inamorato dos Santos, Patrick McAndrew and Steve Godwin

Paper presented on the 27th of September, Thursday, from 11:00-11:45, by Andreia Santos on behalf of the OpenLearn Research Team


Authors: Andreia Inamorato dos Santos, Patrick McAndrew and Steve Godwin

  2.4 Conference website  To access papers and audio files


ICDE Toluca, Mexico 2007

General details of the conference:  

International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE) Conference

 Conference sub-title:

“The Metamorphosis of Distance Education for the third Millennium. Institutions, Programs, Technologies and Roles… the same thing”

Date and location: 

Toluca, Mexico, from the 2nd to the 5th of October 2007

 Conference website:


Paper presented on the 4th of October, Thursday, from 16:15-16:35, by Andreia Santos on behalf of the OpenLearn Research Team

 Paper title and file:  

Open Educational Resources: New Directions for Technology-Enhanced Distance Education in the Third Millennium


Authors: Andreia Inamorato dos Santos, Patrick McAndrew and Steve Godwin

 Power point presentation:    ICDE Mexico 2007  General conference comments 

The conference was hosted at the Instituto Tecnológico de Monterey, campus Toluca, Mexico. Most of the participants came from Latin American countries, such as Argentina, Venezuela, Cuba, Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Chile and Peru. Most presentations were based on e-learning experiences by members of the institutions represented at the conference. Very few presentations focused on disseminating research work.


An interesting aspect of this conference is that the focus given on the presentations (of the ones I attended, including general sessions) were almost always on how to increase students’ participation in distance learning, how to overcome the technological barriers (ex. lack of computer literacy, access to equipment, etc) and how to implement distance education in an HE institution. These are issues which are very characteristic of developing countries and demonstrate that the needs of these countries in terms of e-learning and access are different from European countries.


Although there was a presentation about open software, given by an American colleague, nothing else has been mentioned in terms of open educational resources, apart from our presentation. In personal communication with Cathy Casserley from the Hewlett Foundation during the OCWC meeting in Utah, Cathy emphasised the importance of OERs reaching up for Latin America.

 Final comment This conference had a very broad and general theme, so it was interesting to see the various perspectives of distance education in the third millennium in Latin America, and how they considerably differ from the European agenda. All papers are available on the conference website