Modelling Openness in Academic Professional Development: case study of developing the Digital Fluency course at Open University of Tanzania.

Brenda Mallinson, Regina Monyemangene, Maria Augusti

Open University of Tanzania

Many academic staff at African higher education institutions are experiencing pressure to engage with using ICTs to support every aspect of their academic duties. However, Open University of Tanzania (OUT) recognised that more than computer literacy is needed in today’s academic environment in order to take full advantage of the affordances of using ICTs for the full range of teaching and learning, research, and administrative duties and blended modes of provision. In order to address this issue, OUT in collaboration with Saide’s OER Africa initiative, conceptualised a ‘Digital Fluency’ (DF) course to be provided as an Open Educational Resource (OER) and made available to academic staff for professional development. To this end, five DF module topics were crafted by eliciting requirements from OUT senior management and academic staff, in consultation with the Institute of Educational and Management Technologies (IEMT). These modules are: Digital Fundamentals, Working with OER, Learning Design and Development for Online Provision, Academic Integrity in a Digital Age, and Storage and Access of Digital Resources. The course development approach was highly inclusive and iterative, and sought to model openness in each stage. A project objective of deepening the understanding of how OER practices can support transformation of teaching and learning (OER Africa, 2014) was highlighted by challenges experienced by the OUT developers with respect to a change in pedagogical practice, and included anxiety around perceived pressures associated with the end goal of publishing openly under a creative commns license. The process involved many institutional stakeholders beyond the IEMT such as the Quality Assurance Unit, the Library Electronic Portal staff, OUT legal representatives, and champions within the OUT academic staff community – all of whom supported the developers in various ways, and as a result, experienced their own changed and evolving perspectives of producing OERs in an academic institution.

Presentation

Modelling Openness in Academic Professional Development: case study of developing the Digital Fluency course at Open University of Tanzania. from Open Education Consortium