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Catherine Ngugi, Director of OER Africa, got the conference started with a synopsis of the history of the University of Nottingham, how it had been founded with the help of philanthropism, and contrasted this with the similar spirit that can typify the sharing of educational resources. For OER to work, she said, we had to be prepared to change and accommodate different outlooks; be willing to build sustainable relationships; and spend the necessary time and effort to make things work. 

Luke Mckend from Google revealed that overall 81% of visitors to websites got there after using a search, and searches for HE related terms (such as ‘online courses’) are increasing. Looking at YouTube Edu we learnt about the web statistics it was possible to obtain.

Samuel Nikoi introduced the CORRE framework which forms part of the OTTER project from the University of Leicester.

Peter Robinson spoke about the Open Spires project based at the University of Oxford which aggregates audio and video content. It includes a range of content across many discipline (including physical sciences) and makes extensive use of iTunesU.

Andy Lane from the Open University demonstrated OpenLearn with its concept of reaching out to new people and places and being open to new educational ideas. OpenSpace makes resources available but also related tools to support them, such as social networking tools to enable resource users to connect. LabSpace makes resources available to a developer audience.

Russell Standard (University of Westminster) spoke about the role of social networking in OER, particularly his use of Twitter.

Jackie Milne (JISC Legal) gave a presentation on OER legal matters highlighting the key areas of accessibility law, data protection and IPR. We were reminded that owning work did not necessarily equate to owning the IPR and authors had to check their employment contracts. Also, once Creative Commons licenses were embedded into resources they could not (easily) be revoked, so it was important to be certain that the IPR owner had been consulted as mistakes could lead to loss of reputation or legal damages being sought. Further advice could be obtained from the Creative Commons website or JISC Legal.

Bjoern Hassler from the UK National Commission for UNESCO told us more about forging links between OER in the UK and OER Africa. OER freedoms include legal (in respect to the license used with the resource), technical (ability to use and reuse) and educational (reusable in different context/countries). The OERSchools project in Zambia is using OER to increase and improve access to learning.

Neil Butcher (OER Africa) talked about two projects: one in Rwanda is to deliver HE courses based on OERs  delivered on low-cost mobile devices; the other in Kenya is to provide an online MBA course based on OERs. Both projects are interested in partners and interested parties are encouraged to make contact.

Keynotes were recorded and will be made available on the conference website. Tweets including the conference tag have been recorded.

Online Learning Conference

Twitter stream for #0lconf

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