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Building a community for developing OERs
Botes, Corne and Ferreira, Frances

PublishedNovember 2010
ConferenceThe Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning

The transition to lower secondary education is now at the centre of the Education for All agenda in many countries. As more children are progressing through primary school the demand for secondary school places is growing. However, the demand for places in the school is not the only challenge governments are facing for sustained improvement in quality education. One of the most important requirements is an improved learning environment, which includes the provision of learning materials (UNESCO, 2010). While access to learning materials is a significant barrier in many countries, tremendous progress has been made with the development of OERs (stimulated by benefactors such as the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and UNESCO) and educational content has been provided freely to institutions and learners across the world (Sclater, 2010). The Commonwealth of Learning, in collaboration with the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation initiated the Open Educational Resources for Open Schools to address the challenge of access to quality educational resources while at the same time enhancing the capacity of teachers in writing distance education materials using new technologies. When embarking on a large scale project, such as developing open educational resources, it is important to involve the right people to commence and complete the project successfully. It is essential to choose educators with ample experience in their field of teaching in order to ensure that the end product will be of a high standard and, of course, on an appropriate level for the target users. This paper will explore the challenges experienced by the teachers involved in this project. This includes the relationships between the different partners, technological, cultural as well as work related challenges. It will also explore the different support mechanisms which allowed the teachers to deal with the challenges in building a supportive community which lead to the success of the project. Developing open educational resources is not an easy task. It demands high level of motivation and courage of those involved to overcome the challenges they face to make the changes to succeed.

Keywords challenges · collaboration · community · culture · K-12 · OER creation · technology · UNESCO · William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

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