St. Paul’s University, Limuru, Kenya
St. Paul’s University, in cooperation with Handong Global University
The conference was intended to:
1. Create an open dialogue concerning the use of internet educational resources in developing countries, starting with countries in East Africa
2. Promote Handong Global University’s UNESCO-UNITWIN OCW/OER Initiative and encourage participation from professors in East Africa
3. Increase awareness of the availability of online educational resources that can be used to enhance the quality of higher education in developing countries
Description of Events:
The conference started at 9:00 AM in the lecture theater of St. Paul’s University. A total of 79 professors from 19 universities attended.
Mr. Pius Momanyi of St. Paul’s University moderated the entire conference starting with the Opening Ceremony and Dr. Esther Mombo, the Deputy Vice Chancellor of Academics at St. Paul’s University, who welcomed the guests and presenters from throughout East Africa, the Netherlands, and South Korea. Dr. Youngsup Kim, the Vice President for Academic Affairs at Handong Global University, followed Dr. Mombo with his opening remarks about the importance of educational resources being made available online and the vital role professors in Africa could play in expanding the use of online material. He discussed how African professors better understood African culture, history, business, and law, than foreign scholars and how their expertise would add a unique dimension to the current collection of open courses.
His remarks were followed by Ms. Meena Hwang, the Director of the OpenCourseWare Consortium. She highlighted the importance of “Creating Digital Contents for Sharing” by detailing the case study of the OCW Project Showcase. She demonstrated that opening classrooms and lectures does not limit the professor’s potential or put his or her job at risk. Instead, opening lectures could enhance the quality of their lectures and provide an opportunity to teach beyond the walls of his or her classroom. Her discussion included the current state of OCW throughout the world, which showed little participation from the African continent. This further spurred African professors to join developed countries by uploading their own lecture material.
Afterwards, Dr. Youngsup Kim followed up by detailing the specifics of Handong Global University’s UNESCO-UNITWIN OCW/OER Initiative. He started by talking about the growth of the Korean economy since the Korean War and how he believed it was time for South Korea to repay all of the help it received from its allies during the Korean War. Outlining the basic reasoning and benefits of conducting an OCW Initiative for developing countries, he discussed the requirements for uploaded course material. His talk was met with an enthusiastic response from more than 70 professors from various African universities. He ended his discussion by citing Handong’s OCW/OER website www.uuooi.org, which provides both Handong’s Requests for Proposals and also a platform to upload materials.
Dr. Jos Rikers from Dutch Open University and Ms. Louisa Manwari from Tangaza College then discussed the use of digital educational contents in providing entrepreneurship training. Their talk, which was titled “Open Educational Resources and How It Fosters International Cooperation,” emphasized the international impact of open resources. Dr. Jos Rikers explained how Dutch Open University plans to make available online the entrepreneurship training course currently offered by his school to students in Kenya. Once uploaded and made available free of charge, the materials will assist Kenyans to start entrepreneurial ventures and strengthen the African economy.
Then Ms. Meena Hwang discussed “Creative Commons: Using an Open License for Your Academic Work.” By detailing the intricacies of copyright law, she outlined the importance of following copyright laws in order to prevent any misuse of copyrighted material. Moreover, she encouraged professors to place minimal restrictions when uploading their course material to OCW. Her discussion on copyright was also met with enthusiasm and general approval by the participating professors.
Finally, Dr. Youngsup Kim ended the conference with closing remarks about the future of African higher education and a Question and Answer session. By the end of the conference, participating professors were obviously encouraged by the prospect of uploading their materials and sharing their expertise with the rest of the academic community. The sole regret was that there were funds to support only 30 professors, and it is increasingly clear that more funds should be allocated during the next academic semester so that more professors from Africa can upload their courses.