Adapting OERs for professional communities: The Teacher Education in Sub-Saharan Africa experience

Wolfenden, Freda and Buckler, Alison (2012). Adapting OERs for professional communities: The Teacher Education in Sub-Saharan Africa experience. In: Connolly, Teresa; Okada, Alexandra and Scott, Peter eds. Collaborative Learning 2.0 - Open Educational Resources. IGI Global (In Press).



Much is written of the potential of Open Educational Resources (OERs) to contribute to improvements in the quality of and access to education, particularly in environments such as Sub-Saharan Africa. But some of the greatest challenges lie in the processes of adaptation and re-use and as yet little has been reported on how best to support user communities to harness and integrate OERs for their own systems and cultures. This article describes an empirically based approach to understanding and representing the OER adaptation processes as it occurred across the TESSA (Teacher Education in Sub Saharan Africa) consortium. The authors draw on a range of investigations to make explicit the kinds of knowledge, skills and support employed in the adaptation process, the role of the structured template in supporting this process and the problems encountered. The article suggests that OERs will only fulfil their promise if greater attention is given to understanding the conditions of access, motivations and relevant skills of users, particularly in the challenging context of Sub Saharan Africa. Finally the paper offers suggestions for guidance to support other users in adapting OERs for their own context whilst maintaining the quality of the OERs and working towards self-sustaining communities of users.

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