HEAT program @ the OU Conference – day 2

Live blogging, 2pm – Conference Day 2

HEAT: Health Education and Training in Africa

Talk by Alison Robinson (programme coordinator)

Challenges in Africa:  high incidence of maternal and child mortality, HIV/AIDS , TB and malaria increasing, critical shortage of health workers, inadequate facilities and equipment. In Africa there’s 900 maternal deaths per 1000,000 births. Africa has 11% of the world’s population.

HEAT helps to address critical health workers shortage. The strengths of the HEAT program are that it delivers significant impact for relatively small investment, and it has the potential to train hundreds of thousands of health workers. HEAT materials can be delivered in print, online or disk.

The pilot country of HEAT is Ethiopia. One of the reasons is that all post-secondary education and training in Ethiopia is taught in English. Total population is around 81 million, of which 84% live in rural communities. Every year around 21000 Ethiopian women die due to complication of pregancy or childbirth. It is a country of contrasts.

The health extension workers in Ethiopia are paid a small salary by the Ministry of Health.  They need to be female, speak local language and basic English, amongst other things. Health Extension Workers’ initial training need to be upgraded to overcome the deficiencies in their initial training, and also because the workers are keen to have a career path. The HEAT training is provided by distance education. Restrictions on classroom capacity and availability of teachers would take more than 10 years to upgrade 31,000 health education workers.  Distance learning can be completed between 18-24 months.

HEAT will be an online knowledge bank of training materials, both in text and in multimedia form, delivered as OER . It will also include self-assessment questions, resources and toolkits with case-studies etc.

HEAT has the support of the Ministries of Health and Education in Ethiopia, funded by the Allan and Nesta Ferguson Trust. There will be 16 distance e-learning modules, each one assessed by means of a tutor-marked assignment. The first 4 out of 16 modules are being prepared and are due for completion be end of July.

Challenges: some authors are experiencing difficulties in writing in a second language. They are also leanring the methodology of distance learning.

Alison says that the work in Ethiopia has been enourmously rewarding.

HEAT beyond Ethiopia: all modules will be free to download. Conversations are taking place to localise the content to Kenya, Rwanda, Ghana and Zambia.  Modules are adaptable also outside Africa.

HEAT vision: ot create a consortium of countries and organisatiosn working together aim to tackle social inequalities in Africa.

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)

Interoperability

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?