(7-9 January 2014)
Five participants from Wawasan Open University attended a three-day “Facilitators’ Workshop for OER-based eLearning” organised by the Commonwealth Educational Media Centre for Asia (CEMCA) in collaboration with Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Open University (BRAOU), Hyderabad, India.
CEMCA has initiated the development of an online professional development course for integration of Open Educational Resources (OER) in teaching and learning in order to help institutions deliver e-Learning programmes efficiently and effectively. This activity was initiated as an institutional capacity development programme at WOU. Two workshops were organised in January and June 2013 in WOU and teachers form the leading institutions in the Asian Commonwealth contributed to the development of five modules towards the online course over the last 12 months.
The workshop at BRAOU Hyderabad was a follow-up to the earlier workshops. It was facilitated by the CEMCA consultant, Dr. Som Naidu. The workshop focused on the online delivery of the five modules and the development of online activities the learners of the programme could do to earn open badges for the five modules.
WOU academics Jasmine Emmanuel, Prakash Arumugam, Deehbanjli Lakshmayya and S. Vighnarajah who coordinated the development of four of the five modules of the course participated in the Hyderabad workshop.
In addition to WOU staff, representatives from Indira Gandhi National Open University (India), National Institute of Open Schooling (India), Open University of Sri Lanka, Open University of Malaysia, and BRAOU, Hyderabad participated in the workshop to contribute and share experiences of online facilitation for teaching and learning. One representative from Higher Education Commission, Pakistan also attended the workshop. While CEMCA will offer this programme online, it is also expected that participating institutions and others in the region would use the content developed to develop and strengthen capacities on OER-based eLearning.
WOU Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic-OCL) Prof Mohandas Menon who attended the workshop as a resource person said that the University’s contribution in the development of the modules has been very significant. “The module development activities helped in orienting 15 WOU staff in the conceptual understanding and use of OER and e-Learning, and four of them obtained exposure to how online facilitation in a systematic and effective manner can be provided by tutors in online courses,” he said.
It is expected that this process of systematic online facilitation can be adopted in the ODL system at WOU. Such a provision can be helpful in offering one-to-one tutor support and feedback to individual students and also help facilitate non-synchronous discussion forums.