Is integration of OERs in distance higher education the panacea to quality higher education in Africa? Perceptions of higher education leaders and managers
Distance education is confronted by many challenges among which are issues of expanding access, reducing cost and improving quality of teaching and learning at a time when growth in higher education is generally increasing. In order to tackle these challenges, open educational resources (OERs) have been identified as the strategy to adopt for cheaper, easier material production and faster dissemination of knowledge. OERs are essentially teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use or re-purposing by others. They may include full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, tools, materials, or techniques that are used for supporting access to knowledge.
OERs are grounded in the understanding of education as a common good with the ethos of open and distance learning (ODL) and are guided by non-commercial and non-monopolistic principles. In distance education, OERs constitute a strategy in which educational resources can be shared and disseminated across institutions. Examples of OERs are African Virtual University (AVU) OERs and materials used for the Teacher Education in Sub-Saharan Africa (TESSA) program that were developed by a consortium of experts in teacher education to assist in the provision of quality teacher education in Sub-Saharan Africa. However, in order promote the use of OERs and to ensure that sharing of learning materials across borders is enhanced for better quality teaching and learning, it is important to investigate the perceptions of the leaders and managers of higher education institutions in Africa on the integration of OERs in distance education. Ado Tenebe and Rotimi Ogidan sought to do this in a study whose findings were presented at the 2013 1st International Conference of the African Virtual University.