With the support of the UNESCO Programme for Open Educational Resources (OER), the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) officially commissioned a dedicated Unit for Open Educational Resources. The specialised Unit marked NOUN’s commitment to championing OER in Nigeria, West Africa, and beyond. The purpose of the Unit is to integrate OERs into all levels of teachings and learnings in NOUN to enhance the quality and access to higher education for thousands of Nigerians and African students.
Open Educational Resources (OER) are any type of educational materials released with an open license or into the public domain that allows a user to legally and freely copy, use adapt and share the materials.
The NOUN OER Unit was officially adopted in August 2014, after due clearance from the Governing Council and the Senate and reports directly to the Office of the Vice Chancellor. The Unit was operating from a temporary location in the University and the commissioning of the Unit’s new Office strengthens NOUN’s commitment to championing OER.
The Vice Chancellor of NOUN, Prof. Vincent Tenebe officially cut the ribbon for the new office, which cheered the staffs of NOUN OER Unit as well as the NOUN OER Committee members. The opening was also attended by principal staff of the University.
Prof. Tenebe spoke highly of the achievements of the OER Unit fully recognizing the Head of the Unit, Dr Jane-frances Agbu, “NOUN in line with its vision and mission has embraced OER emphatically to contribute to the humanistic project of sharing knowledge for common good”.
Accompanied by Dr Agbu and other Unit staff, Prof. Tenebe toured the new office and reviewed a presentation of the Unit’s activities from 2014 to 2015. Prof. Tenebe noted that the OER Unit staff were learning very quickly and in the right direction. He encouraged all academic of NOUN staff to make contact with the OER Unit to learn about OERs and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) to key into global current trends in Education.
In his closing remarks, Prof. Tenebe enjoined all the schools and staff to collaborate and consult with the Unit in order to learn how to properly convert course materials into OERs, follow the recommended steps, as well as learn how to use OERs to add value to educational content.
He thanked UNESCO for their collaboration and guidance, and the funding support of the EU for the NOUN OER Project. “The Unit will help to disseminate the tenets of OER/MOOCs to institutions around Nigeria, West Africa and beyond. On behalf of the Governing Council, Senate, staff and students of NOUN congratulate OER Unit”.
The NOUN OER Project at NOUN has been very active with three sensitization workshops in OERs and MOOCs:
- September 2014, Massive Open Education Opportunities at the National Open University of Nigeria (for Dean and Directors)
- February 2015, Embracing the Philosophy of Open Educational Resources (for NOUN Senior staff)
- July 2015, UNESCO assists the Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) to enhance Open Educational Resources (OER) (for course writers)
From 13 to 16October, 2015, the Head of the OER Unit, Dr Agbu presented at the 26th Conference of the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE) on the NOUN OER Project titled: “Capacity building for the adoption of open educational resources in NOUN: emerging issues”.
The presentation shared the findings and emerging issues triggered by the capacity building experiences on OERs in NOUN:
- Though NOUN staff appeared to be aware of OER, they believed that NOUN course materials are OERs, which is not so as presently constituted
- A well-defined OER policy is needed to guide processes of OERization in NOUN
- A logical framework was essential to guide the process of OERization including:
- Revision of course materials
- value-added new content
- Conversion to EPUB, HTML, RTF, PDF (open file formats)
- Post assessment quality assurance