Capacity building of academic staff in the integration of ICT and OER in teacher education programs at the Open University of Sri Lanka
Growing interest in promoting Education for All (Dakar, 2000), open access to educational resources, and the economic imperatives for adopting greater use of open educational resources (OER) (UNESCO 2012 declaration) is necessitating the need for educators to refocus their attention on the integration of OER and ICTs in learning and teaching. ICTs enable educators gain access to a wide variety of teaching-learning materials available as OER that can be freely accessed, reused, revised, re-mixed and re-distributed (UNESCO, 2012). While ICT can be used to harness the benefits of OER more efficiently, effective use of OER can be best realized through systematic course design and integrating appropriate OER in the learning and teaching transactions. // A comprehensive program of work is being undertaken in the Faculty of Education at the Open University of Sri Lanka, in partnership with the Commonwealth of Learning to build the capacity of its teaching staff. During a period of six months in 2013, thirty teacher educators have been engaged in designing five teacher education courses, with ICT and OER integration. This paper describes this work including reporting on what kind of capacity has been built in individuals and to what extent; what factors facilitated this kind and level of capacity building; what challenges were faced and how these can be addressed; and what are the impacts of this capacity building on their professional development. // Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) is used as the methodology for examining participants’ ‘lived experiences’ during this process. This method explores in great detail how participants are making sense of their personal and social world (Smith & Osborne, 2007). Qualitative data is gathered through a series of concept mapping exercises and studying the changes over time, combined with individual narratives and focus group interviews. // Preliminary analysis of data revealed significant changes in participants’ development of understanding around key concepts on OER and their relationships, remarkable capacity building in ‘learning-centered’ course design, identifying and integrating OER, and confidence in applying their new knowledge and skills. The ‘compulsion’ induced by the project activities with targets, continuous facilitation, team work, motivation and satisfaction were clearly the facilitating factors. Even though challenges such as selecting relevant and quality OER and effective integration, technical skill limitations and time constraints were present, the participants’ motivation in finding solutions to overcome these were prominent. This capacity building experience has visibly impacted on participants’ professional development as teacher educators and their ability and confidence in the effective integration of ICT and OER in future course design activities, in a ‘learning-centered’ manner. // Paper ID: 77
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