News Archives

UNESCO Chair in OER to kick-start “Openingup” in the Balkans

UNESCO Chair in OER, Knowledge 4 All Foundation, Microsoft Bosnia and the Ministry Of Education, Science And Youth Canton Sarajevo organized an OER and open technologies for open learning  “best practice transfer” event in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The theme and the goals of this International Conference were very well aligned and articulated with UNESCO’s vision and action, in support of Member States, to build a  people-centered, inclusive and development-oriented Information Society where everyone can create, access, utilize, and share information and knowledge. The event was a great opportunity to discuss and design best practice transfer from Slovenia and Europe, stimulate a strategy for new regional “Openingup” initiatives and present what is already being developed in the SEE region.

German UNESCO-Chairs meeting on OER

German National Commission for UNESCO and UNESCO Chair in Hydrological Change and Water Resources Management at RWTH Aachen University held a meeting together with UNESCO Chairs in OER. The meeting focused on the exchange of experience in OER of all Chairs and on discussing opportunities and challenges of OER in higher education institutions. More details can be found on the UNESCO Chair Meeting on Open Educational Resources (OER) website at OpeningupSlovenia.

Invitation to the High Level Policy Forum in Pretoria

Our Chair has been invited to participate in the High Level Policy Forum 2015, on “Higher education for the sustainable future we want. The way ahead for Online, Open and Flexible learning: Opportunities and Actions”, 17 October 2015, Pretoria, South Africa. It will be organised by the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE) in partnership with UNESCO, Commonwealth of Learning (CoL), and Open Education Consortium (OEC).

The Forum will bring together leaders and decision makers from around the world, including senior officials of education ministries and policy makers in higher education, academia, representatives of teacher associations and student organizations, UNESCO Chairs in ICT/ODL,  ICDE Chairs in OER, Ed-Tech industry, global and regional networks, researchers, and leading non-governmental organizations in the system.

Open Vacancies on Open Education @ Open University of the Netherlands

We got news from our colleague Dr. Christian M. Stracke who is UNESCO Chair for Open Education and Innovation and Associate Professor at the Welten Institute Open University of the Netherlands on open vacancies for Open Education at the Open University of the Netherlands. Three vacancies for his research team are published now online (one Post-Doc and two PhD positions):

Currently there is much attention for Open Education solutions and namely MOOCs as an alternative way to provide education to the mass. However, their quality is often criticized in relation to their design, organization and the high numbers of students (up to 97%) that are not finalising courses. This PhD research project is aimed to develop and assess quality indicators and evaluate their significance and usability. For this purpose, an alternative approach to quality development of Open Education solutions is developed in the research that focuses the quality of Open Education solutions and their delivery and that takes into account motivation, intentions and strategy of both parties: the open education designers and providers and the learners themselves.

This PhD research project will combine and use different important theories in the fields of open education, constructivism, systems theory, critical pedagogy, competence building, quality and organization development. The research will use learning analytics, questionnaires and structured interviews for gathering the data. Statistical methods will include structural equation modelling and design of experiments techniques.The PhD candidate will be passionate about open education and will strive for developing the project in a self-organized manner supported by a daily supervisor and a professor. S/he will publish results of the research in high-impact scientific journals and will present intermediate results in international, peer-reviewed conferences. The candidate will actively contribute to the dissemination and application activities in European research projects and s/he will collaborate with other researchers in the research cluster on open education and innovation.

Currently most Open Education solutions lack a long-term engagement and sustainability: Many learners are joining MOOCs and online communities but are losing motivation and interest as they are not finalising the courses or becoming inactive. This PhD research project is aimed to develop and assess quality indicators and evaluate their significance and usability. For this purpose, an alternative approach to the design and delivery of Open Education solutions is developed in the research that focuses the long-term engagement of learners in Open Education and that takes into account motivation, intentions and strategy of both parties: the open education designers and providers and the learners themselves.

This PhD research project will combine and use different important theories in the fields of open education, constructivism, systems theory, critical pedagogy, competence building, quality and organization development. The research will use learning analytics, questionnaires and structured interviews for gathering the data. Statistical methods will include structural equation modelling and design of experiments techniques.

The PhD candidate will be passionate about open education and will strive for developing the project in a self-organized manner supported by a daily supervisor and a professor. S/he will publish results of the research in high-impact scientific journals and will present intermediate results in international, peer-reviewed conferences. The candidate will actively contribute to the dissemination and application activities in European research projects and s/he will collaborate with other researchers in the research cluster on open education and innovation.

The Post-Doc research position will focus on the strategic and design decisions at the macro-level of Open Education. The macro-level is related to the organisational embedding of Open Education activities and of the design of Open Education solutions. The PostDoc/Assistant Professor will analyse and evaluate the current state-of-the-art and develop a framework and related instruments for decision making on the Open Education strategy, design and implementation by Open Education providers in close cooperation with the other researchers in the research cluster on open education and innovation: The overall objective is the development and evaluation of a comprehensive and applicable framework approach for school education, Higher Education and vocational education that is used and tested in practice for organizational development and educational innovation and can be transferred to enterprise development and lifelong learning.

The PostDoc/Assistant Professor will facilitate the strategy and design of Open Education solutions (MOOCs and online communities) and their testing, data collection and evaluation within several European research projects. It is expected that the candidate will be able to take an integrative and multi-disciplinary perspective and that s/he will pro-actively develop ideas for a common framework and data analysis as well as publications across several European research projects. It is expected that the Post-Doc/Assistant Professor is actively involved in the management of these research projects.

The candidate will be passionate about Open Education and will strive for developing the project in a self-organized manner supported by the other principal investigators and leading professor. S/he will have already a publication record in Open Education or related domains. Output of the project will be submitted to high-impact scientific journals and intermediate results will be presented in international, peer-reviewed conferences. The candidate will play an active/leading role in dissemination and knowledge utilization activities in the research projects and s/he will collaborate with other researchers in the research cluster on open education and innovation.

 

UNESCO Chairs in OER International Meeting

Professor Rory McGreal from Athabasca University– Canada’s Open University based in Alberta, Canada held the first UNESCO Chairs in OER international meeting in conjuction with the Open Education Global 2015 conference in Banff, Alberta. The meeting included the four already existing ‘older’ Chairs and the newly appointed Chairs. The meeting revolved around a few topics such as presenting the UNESCO OER Programme for 2014-2017, the UNESCO Chairs in OER common Plan of Action, OER Projects from the other invitees with emphasis  on strengthening collaboration among the UNESCO Chairs in OER. An important discussion was held on creating  more synergy between the UNESCO OER Programme operated by Paris and the Action Lines run by the UNESCO Chairs in OER. The chairs also had a presentation for PhD students in OER at the GO-GN network meeting.

Current UNESCO chairholders:

Rory McGreal, Canada
Fred Mulder, Holland
Wayne Mackintosh, New Zealand
Mitja Jermol, Slovenia
Tel Amiel, Brazil
Sana El Harbi, Tunisia
Jane-Francis Agbou, Nigeria
Maria Soledad Ramirez, Mexico

 

UNESCO Chair on open technologies for OER gets first project ExplorEdu

The Slovenian Ministry of Education, Science and Sport issued a Call for proposals for development projects and the establishment of e-services and mobile applications in advanced ICT use in education in between 2014-2015. The newly appointed UNESCO Chair is taking part in one of the winning projects ExplorEdu.

ExplorEdu will be a system of freely available web services and mobile applications for automatic identification, capture, enrichment, editing, in-depth analysis and intelligent use of freely available educational resources, existing web and mobile educational services, studies and results of research projects, lesson plans, rules and legislation in Slovenia and the world.

UNESCO Chair press conference

The UNESCO Chair press conference is to be held on Tuesday 18 November 2014 at 10.15 am the Jožef Stefan Institute with four speakers:

  • prof. Jadran Lenarčič – Director of the Jožef Stefan Institute,
  • Stanislava Setnikar Cankar – Minister of Education, Science and Sport,
  • Marjutka Hafner – Director Slovenia National Commission and
  • Mitja Jermol the new Chairholder.

Following the press conference the new Chair will present his ideas and reasons for establishing the Chair in Slovenia. Check the Chairholder website for strategies and action.

New UNESCO Chair on Open Technologies for Open Educational Resources and Open Learning in Slovenia

In recent months OpeningupSlovenia managed to follow its strategy in providing funding for OER related projects, building partnerships and pushing the OER research agenda further into computer science and other national open education domains. On September 30th 2014 the UNESCO Chair on Open Technologies for Open Educational Resources and Open Learning was established in Slovenia. UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, and the Director of the Jožef Stefan Institute, Professor Jadran Lenarčič, signed an agreement establishing a UNESCO Chair at the Institute in Ljubljana, Slovenia. The Institute being one of the leading powers behind OpeningupSlovenia.

The signing ceremony took place at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, in the presence of the Chairholder, Dr Mitja Jermol and the Permanent Delegate of the Republic of Slovenia to UNESCO, H. E. Ms Veronika Stabej. The Chair will serve to promote an integrated system of research, training, information and documentation on online learning for OER and open learning. It will facilitate collaboration between high-level, internationally-recognized researchers and teaching staff of the Institute and other institutions around the world. The signing coincided with the holding at Headquarters of a UNESCO Chair Workshop organized with the Jožef Stefan Institute, the Slovenian National Commission for UNESCO and the Permanent Delegation of the Republic of Slovenia to UNESCO.

According to the new Chairholder, Dr Mitja Jermol, the Institute has been working on OER since 2001, pushed by the conviction that education needed a new approach. “We started a national initiative to set the country in the direction of open learning, from infrastructure to legislation, in order to make use of technologies for learning.” commenting on OpeningupSlovenia.

OuS to organize event at UNESCO HQ

The Jožef Stefan Institute together with other OpeningupSlovenia members and K4A foundation directors will organize a workshop in AI methods and Big Data in education. This will be an introductory scientific and technological workshop and meeting to present planned and important activities within the framework of the implementation of the UNESCO Chair Open Technologies for OER. The workshop will precede the signature of the agreement between UNESCO and Jožef Stefan Institute to formally establish the Chair.