OER1167 Oral Presentation ppt

Wednesday 11 May 15.15 Breakout Room 6

Towards crossing over the digital divide: the use of OER to promote digital literacy

Murilo Matos Mendonça, UnisulVirtual, Brazil
Andreia Inamorato dos Santos, The Open University
Patrick McAndrew, The Open University

Conference Theme: Academic practice and digital scholarship

Abstract: Almost a decade after the UNESCO meeting during which the term Open Educational Resources was coined, this movement keeps growing in the Higher Education milieu and so far many endeavours in this field have consisted of building OER repositories (Wiley, D., 2007). However, the consolidation of an OER culture also calls for actions other than making open source content available. A step further seems to be necessary in this process so that Higher Education Institutions which act primarily as providers can also become promoters of OER uptake, thus triggering a virtuous circle. This realisation came naturally to UnisulVirtual after approximately one year of collaboration in a project with the Open University UK. The initial phase of this project entailed providing OER within the OpenLearn platform (McAndrew, P. and Santos, A.I. 2009). But UnisulVirtual would not settle for that and, in this paper, we intend to show how it became both a provider and a promoter of OER uptake as well as the results obtained to date and highlight the social implications thereof. Faced with the issue of low digital literacy rates in Brazil, we realised the potential of OER to reverse those figures. That was the outset of a highly successful OER initiative envisaged to promote digital literacy by means of four initial courses, namely: "Searching Information on the Web", "Word Basics", "Power Point Basics" and "Excel Basics", in a process which involved translation, localization and authoring. The courses were offered in a continuing studies programme for both Unisul students and members of the external community. Altogether, over 500 students registered for this pilot experience and those courses will now be offered on a permanent basis. Also, a campaign will be launched to encourage Unisul students to invite more people to enroll in an attempt to reach a wider audience, thereby increasing the number of digitally-skilled citizens in a country where a dearth of such skills still constitutes a significant impediment to access to the labour market and career advancement (Santos, E.S, 2006).

Keywords: oer; digital literacy; collaboration; oer uptake


McAndrew, P. and Santos, A.I.; et al (2009) OpenLearn Research Report 2006-2008. Available at http://kn.open.ac.uk/public/getfile.cfm?documentfileid=15729, last accessed 28th November 2010

Wiley, D. (2007) On the Sustainability of Open Educational Resource Initiatives in Higher Education. Available at http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/33/9/38645447.pdf, last accessed 28th November 2010.

Santos, E.S. (2006) Desigualdade Social e Inclusão Digital no Brasil http://www.buscalegis.ufsc.br/revistas/index.php/buscalegis/article/viewFile/6111/5680, last accessed 28th November 2010