WOU prepares to offer OER-based E-Learning course

Wawasan Open University (WOU) has entered into an agreement with the Commonwealth Educational Media Centre for Asia (CEMCA), India to push forward a project on OER-based E-Learning.

The pact was formalised with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding at the main campus today by WOU Vice Chancellor Prof Dato’ Dr Ho Sinn Chye and Dr Sanjaya Mishra, Director of CEMCA. On hand to witness the event was Tan Sri Emeritus Prof Gajaraj Dhanarajan, Chairman of WOU’s Board of Directors.

Prof Ho signs the document.

Prof Ho signs the document.

In support of the MoU, WOU hosted a four-day ‘Institutional Capacity Workshop for OER-based E-Learning’ sponsored by CEMCA and attended by 27 academics, including 19 from WOU and the others from seven open universities in Asia.

The purpose of the workshop was to develop the capacity of the participants to integrate Open Educational Resources (OER) in their own teaching and learning, and to come out with a course on ‘OER-based E-Learning’ for the professional development of teachers. The target of the MoU is to reach over 500 teachers in Asia in the next three years.

Dr Som Naidu conducts the workshop.

Dr Som Naidu conducts the workshop.

Among the topics covered in the workshop were open scholarship, designing learning and teaching for an OER-based learning environment, designing assessment tasks and activities, developing assessment criteria and feedback strategies, and defining the curriculum for an OER based course.

“At the workshop, the participants learnt how to design OER-based E-Learning and provided input in developing the curriculum and content of the course,” said Dr Mishra, adding the discussions led to six modules for the course and rough sketches of the lessons.

Participants engaging in group work.

Participants engaging in group work.

In the next four months the participants will continue work in developing the modules, with another workshop sponsored by CEMCA in WOU planned for May/June to fine-tune the course modules and finalise content. The academics in WOU will work on the project under the mentorship of Prof Mohandas Menon, Assistant Vice Chancellor (Academic Support), and Prof Phalachandra Bhandigandi from the Educational Technology & Publishing Unit.

Dr Mishra expects WOU to offer the course by year end, while CEMCA will at the same time mount this course on its website to allow interested institutions to also run it online using the CEMCA platform. “So, in this workshop, we’re developing a course and also developing capacity institutionally. We are also developing partners, where the universities coming together here at WOU might like to offer this course,” he stated.

Dr Sanjay Mishra from CEMCA.

Dr Sanjay Mishra from CEMCA.

Prof Menon said the purpose of this project was to help implement WOU’s OER policy. “Our academics are being trained so that they can integrate OER in their own courses. We are in the process of revising over 100 courses offered by WOU, to replace the textbooks and current materials with OER-integrated courses.”

The facilitator for the workshop was Associate Prof Dr Som Naidu, a leading expert in designing scenario-based learning materials, from Charles Sturt University, Australia. Dr Naidu will also conduct the second workshop and undertake editing of the course.