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Health OER: Lessons from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology
Donkor, Peter and Tagoe, Nadia

PublishedApril 2010
PeriodicalPages 1-13
PublisherCollege of Health Sciences, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology,
CountryGhana, Africa

Information and communication technology (ICT) offers the opportunity to innovate on course content and teaching methods in order to enhance the quality of teaching and learning in tertiary education. One such innovation that was birthed in the early 2000s is the Open Educational Resources (OER) initiative. This paper looks at the experience of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) Ghana, with the use of OER for health education. It outlines the processes employed in the development and use of OER, its potential role in enhancing teaching and learning in a developing country, the costs and benefits as well as the way forward.

OER was introduced to faculty of the College of Health Sciences, KNUST in 2009 through sensitization, policy, and production workshops. A limited number of productions have been made and initial reports suggest that students find them very helpful. Following the initial enthusiasm which saw 12 faculty
members out of the 16 present at the workshop volunteering to produce material, there has been a sharp decline in those actively producing OER. This has been attributed to a lack of administrative, technical and infrastructural support for faculty as well as other incentives such as the non- release from
regular commitments to make time for OER.

The inadequate ICT infrastructure and the lack of an OER policy limit the accessibility of OER material at the University’s repository. This can be seen as a temporary hitch as a policy document is currently being considered for adoption by KNUST. Once implemented, the policy will pave the way for the necessary
investments to be made to systematically produce and publish OER throughout the whole University.

OER is seen as an innovative means of improving teaching and learning at KNUST by promoting a more learner-centred approach to teaching and learning and more quality contact between faculty and students. The limited available evidence suggests that students find OER a useful aid to learning tool, though student-teacher interactions are still necessary. Current efforts are patchy and heavily dependent on individual faculty commitment, costing on average 35 man-hours per production. More investment is required to improve the efficiency of production as well as increase the accessibility of published OER material. A more systematic cost-benefit analysis is required. In spite of the challenges, OER has been fully embraced at KNUST and is expected to flourish with time.

Keywords case study · e-learning · higher education · learning · teaching

Published atKumasi
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