AVU Releases Hundreds of New Open Educational Resources
Nairobi 20th July 2018
The African Virtual University (AVU) www.avu.org has released 1,335 Open Educational Resources (OERs) under the Creative Commons license CC BY 2.5. The new materials include 234 open textbooks or modules, 83 videos and 945 learning objects extracted from the modules. All resources are freely available online at OER@AVU http://oer.avu.org , an initiative launched in 2011 with some 288 open resources. OER@AVU has been a great contribution to the African and global OER communities; as of July 2018, it hosts a total of 1,623 resources.
Noting that university enrolment is about 7% in Sub-Saharan Africa, the AVU is addressing the critical issue of the availability of quality content, one of the barriers to accessing quality education in Africa. Institutions and individuals like faculty and learners can access the materials freely. They can share the materials by copying and redistributing them in any medium or format. They can also adapt the materials by remixing, and transforming them and be able to build upon them for any purpose, even commercially. The subjects included in the resources are mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, computer science, informatics, administration, linguistics, teacher education professional courses, and ICT in education.
“We are grateful that this collective effort has yielded such significant impact with some 2.8 million online accesses from African and beyond, and we are glad to note that OER@AVU has been largely recognized by the global OER movement. I would like to thank all partners who have made this possible, with a special mention to the African Development Bank” said Dr. Bakary Diallo, the AVU Rector.”
The AVU developed the new set of OERs jointly with 27 partner institutions located in 21 African countries within the framework of Multinational Project II funded by the African Development Bank. Since its launch in 2011 the AVU OERs portal has been accessed at least 2.8 million times from 225 countries and territories. The AVU has also received 5 international Awards that include the 2017 Open Education Consortium (OEC) Individual Leadership Prize, the International Council for Distance Education (ICDE) Institutional Prize 2015 and 3 other OEC prizes related to OERs in 2013, 2012 and 2011.
AVU is a leading Pan-African eLearning organization and one of its strategic objectives is to increase access to high quality Open, Distance and eLearning resources that are relevant to Africa. The interactive portal http://oer.avu.org therefore furthers the AVU’s substantial commitment to open education and is an investment in the effort to create a shared body of open educational resources.
WHAT DO ONLINE STUDENTS WANT?
By Goldie Blumenstyk
What do online students want? According to a new survey, they want to conduct more of their course activities on their mobile phones or tablets, and they’d like better career-planning services. Their biggest regrets? They all relate to not having done enough research about the college and what it would cost before they enrolled.
The survey, produced by Learning House and Aslanian Market Research, is based on responses from 1,500 past, current, and prospective online students.
Here are three of the findings:
Mobile: Not only do students rely on their phones and tablets when searching for a college (three-quarters said they had used them in their searches); they also want to use those devices for at least some of their coursework. While only 12 percent said they’d want to handle all of their course-related activities on a mobile device, 70 percent more said they’d want some or most of it that way. With mobile devices becoming increasingly important tools in our everyday lives, the survey suggests that colleges may need to move faster to ensure that academic materials are optimized for such devices.
Career services: Among the services students said they had used the most were working with a career adviser, self-assessments, and résumé creation. But perhaps more notable were the services that at least 10 percent of students wanted but were not available to them. They included job shadowing, interview workshops, internship-search assistance, a career mentor, and a college-maintained job-search website.
Regrets: While 46 percent said they would not change anything about their search or enrollment experience, the rest cited several things they would have done differently. Tops on that list: contact or research more colleges, a finding that seems in line with another that showed 84 percent of students had contacted or requested information from three or fewer colleges. Fifteen percent said they wished they had learned more about their financial-aid packages, while 14 percent said the same about tuition and fees.