OportUnidad - Open Educational Practices: a bottom-up approach in Latin America and Europe to develop a common Higher Education Area
Cristobal Cobo, University of Oxford, UK Cristina Stefanelli, Università degli Studi Guglielmo Marconi, Italy Marcelo Maina, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Spain Ilaria Mascitti, Università degli Studi Guglielmo Marconi, Italy
Conference Theme: Collaboration
Summary: This paper focuses on making the case for what we are exploring in Latin America and Europe within the OportUnidad action.
Abstract: This paper draws on the OportUnidad project co-funded with support by the European Commission under the EuropeAidALFA III Programme. OportUnidad multi-actors include twelve Universities from Europe and Latin America (Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Italy, Mexico, Peru, Portugal, Spain, United Kingdom, Uruguay). European partners involved are: Università degli Studi Guglielmo Marconi (coordinator, Italy), Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (Spain), University of Lisbon (Portugal), University of Oxford (UK). The OportUnidad project explores the adoption of strategies and channels that embrace the principles of openness and reusability within the context of educational institutions. The project intends to foster the adoption and pilot of open educational practices (OEP), OCW and OER in Latin America as a bottom-up approach to develop a common Higher Education Area. The initiative also opens the possibility to provide free educational resources for self-learners, in terms of informal and lifelong learning. Based on the analysis of best practices worldwide, the project defines the OEP Agenda which outlines policies and actions to maximise the benefit of the use and re-use of OER for university course development in Latin America, as a means to equal and democratic access to knowledge. The Agenda includes items related to pedagogical approaches for OER (including teaching and learning aspects and links to social learning, constructive learning with peers), technological solutions for OER (including key technologies, standards, specifications. i.e. metadata, publishing, querying and infrastructure), organisational frameworks and procedures (roles of different actors in institutions to build OER, to re-use and remix OER and cost-effective procedures for OER), institutional business models (how do OER affect the institutional business models), cooperative models for OER between institutions. Based on the OEP Agenda, LA universities define an institutional roadmap, i.e. a declination of the Agenda to the local, cultural and institutional framework. It is a local-contextualised plan in a global strategic plan. Local teachers and educators will be trained to the use (and reuse) of OER and OCW through an on-line training course organized in a logical sequence going from the presentation and framing of the OER and OCW movement, to the integration of open practices into mainstreaming activities. The on-line training course will include the understanding of the OER movement, the definition of OER, OEP and the main related initiatives OCW (Open courseware) and Universia, the aligning of OER to course requirements and pedagogical pathways, the OER search in repositories and on the Web (identification) and OER reuse, remix, rework, localizing (repurposing), the creation of OER from scratch, the OER plan for action, incentive and inhibitors of these open practices and the OER sharing to the community. This paper details the rationale behind the OportUnidad action, highlights the challenges and notes the successes and culminates with conclusions on how openness of resources can bring new possibilities of learning to on-campus students and also beyond the walls of the institutions.