Tag Archives: education development unit

A local global conference on Open Education

Author: Veronica Mitchell

March 8-10th was set aside nearly 2 years ago for UCT to host the Open Education Global Conference with the Open Education Consortium. Glenda Cox from CILT was the lead programme organizer having recently completed her PhD on the adoption of Open Educational Resources (OER) at three South African universities.

At this conference there was an extraordinary energy felt between participants. Perhaps this is a consequence of the sharing and generosity implicit in the open movement. What is openness and what does it mean were key questions woven through the three days of presentations, panels and workshops.

Greg Doyle and I shared our experience of remixing and re-contextualizing a northern hemisphere designed MOOC on eye care (to prevent blindness) into an African online teaching resource. We presented on Day 2 using Adobe Spark.

At the conference dinner we proudly applauded UCT’s Prof Johan Fagan receiving the Open textbook award by the Open Education Consortium.

verblog001What was most striking for me was the realization that producing OER is not enough. Change is needed in pedagogical practices. Numerous definitions for Open Educational Practices (OEP) are emerging such as the one produced by Michael Paskevicius (ex UCT, now at Royal Roads University, British Columbia, Canada). See below:
verblog002As curricula changes are presently happening through our efforts to promote decolonization, there are new opportunities to derive the maximum benefit from the open movement. The readiness of the institution and attitude of individuals are key factors. While UCT is a leading light in the change to openness, more buy-in is needed from educators and researchers.

Teach and learn outside silos

That four groups won the 2014 UCT Collaborative Educational Practice Award for collaborative educational practice might testify to the ongoing drive to break through silos in teaching and learning at the university.

The UCT award for collaborative educational practice is open to two or more UCT staff members who have collaborated on a particular project to enhance the teaching and learning environment. The projects need to have been sustained for several years and to have had a positive impact.
Meet the four groups of scholars recently honoured by the university.

Managing pesticides across disciplines
Associate Professor Hanna-Andrea Rother. Absent: Gregory Doyle and Shanali Govender
Associate Professor Hanna-Andrea Rother. Absent: Gregory Doyle and Shanali Govender

 Associate Professor Hanna-Andrea Rother, based in the Centre for Environmental and Occupational Research in the Faculty of Health Sciences, led a group that received the award for developing a highly successful postgraduate diploma in pesticide risk management

Rother and her team, Gregory Doyle of the Educational Development Unit and Shanali Govender in the Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching, addressed a challenge set by the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) to establish a programme to boost the capacity of low- and middle-income countries to implement FAO/WHO codes of conduct related to pesticide management.

The group met this challenge by not only blending cross-disciplinary content and skills, but by creative online communication and teaching approaches, including innovative ways of using UCT’s Vula environment, WhatsApp and similar media.

This allowed for a blend of on-site and in-the-field teaching, with, at times, virtual discussions taking place with as many as 360 online participants from countries in Africa and South America. The course has been acclaimed for not only providing effective training, but also inducting participants into the community of pesticide risk management professionals.

{Story by staff reporter. Photos by Michael Hammond and supplied}