Policy Forum 1, December 2010, Paris, France

Various authors, UNESCO, Dec 06, 2010
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Through 2010 UNESCO's Open Educational Resources (OER) initiative has hosted a series of forums, which I have covered here. This series, which focused on adoption and use of OERs, wrapped up with a policy forum last week that was almost invisible to the wider community. Now that a link has been posted to the discussion papers, I have to express my disappointment. These presentations, with some few exceptions, are all of the 'look at our project' variety - which would be fine for the information-gathering stage, but as a contribution to the wrap-up of a year-long initiative is completely unacceptable.

Meanwhile, Sir John Daniel's remarks suggest that while he may have made the grand tour of Africa, he did not even look at the online discussion, as this work is not reflected anywhere in his remarks. The dichotomy is not between proprietary content and open content, as he suggests, but between institutionally manufactured content and community-based content. The OECD intervention from Dirk van Damme, meanwhile, is firmly based around the idea of an education industry, where "OER is best defined as a systemic innovation in the global education and knowledge system." Maybe something good happened at the policy forum, but who would know? All we have are these presentation slides. Related: JISC on making OER visible and findable.
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