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The Vietnam Foundation and its contribution at UNESCO Expert Group Meeting

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Mr. Minh Do, VOER Program Director, represented the Vietnam Foundation at the Expert Group Meeting and provided a brief overview of what the Vietnam Foundation has done in the development of OER in Vietnam.

On July 4th, 2011, the Expert Group Meeting on UNESCO/COL (Commonwealth of Learning) Guidelines for Open Educational Resource (OER) in Higher Education was held in Paris, France with the participation of OER experts from selected countries including Brazil, Russia, Kenya, Dominican Republic, Ghana, Jamaica, South Africa, Egypt, USA, Canada, Serbia, United Kingdom, Belgium, Thailand and Vietnam. The worldwide participants contributed their knowledge and experiences of the OER Program in their countries. The goal of the meeting was to take OER beyond the OER community in its policy making and capacity building and to finalize the Guidelines before distributing it to all of the countries involved in OER.

Mr. Minh Do, VOER Program Director, represented the Vietnam Foundation at the Expert Group Meeting. He contributed specific comments for each section of the Guidelines as well as provided a brief overview of what the Vietnam Foundation has done in the development of OER in Vietnam. He also emphasized the nature of “open” in all OER related issues including licenses, editable formats and open source software.

The Vietnam Foundation is a pioneer organization in bringing and developing the OER program in Vietnam. The Vietnam Foundation has finished the phase 1 of building a technology platform to operate thousands of open teaching and learning materials on its OER website. By the end of December 2010, the Vietnam Foundation had 20,000 modules (each module can be a chapter of a book) of teaching and researching materials on its OER website (http://www.voer.edu.vn/).

The draft UNESCO/COL guidelines are based on a top-down organization approach with specific guidelines for government, higher education providers, teaching staff, students bodies, and quality assurance and accreditation bodies as well as academic recognition bodies. The draft gives a broad overview of how OER can be administered and implemented by different functional governmental, institutional, and academic bodies.

Do joined with OER experts from Brazil, Russia, Kenya and Dominican Republic in the Government group and shared his knowledge, experiences, and ideas based on lessons learned from OER development in Vietnam.

He said, “We approach the OER in higher education issue by grouping all the related bodies mentioned in the draft into a model which has only three functional parts: Community Development, Content Development and Technology Development (a Vietnam Model). These three parts are inseparable. They support each other and help to push the OER movement moving forward in a sustainable way.”

He explained that Content and Community Development are like a Chicken and Eggs. In order to have the good Eggs (Content), we need an initial support from a government and an institution on creating a high-quality OER under the Open Licenses. Then, the community will have a motivation to adopt and adapt the OER program more effectively. Besides using, reusing, creating and sharing the Content, the Community can play an important role in quality control for the Content by contributing its comments, ratings and its usage frequencies. Technology plays an important role in creating a powerful technological infrastructure as well as in having a useful and easy-to-use tool for OER users.

UNESCO along with Common Wealth of Learning with their important role as an international organization that coordinates the OER movement worldwide take into consideration contributions of participants worldwide, revising and finalizing the UNESCO/COL Guidelines for OER in Higher Education in the near future.

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THE VIETNAM FOUNDATION
  "Improving the Lives of the Vietnamese People through Education"
Vietnam: The 8th floor, Newtatco Bld., 21 Lang Ha, Ba Dinh Dist., Hanoi.  Phone: (84) 4-6278-2788 | Fax (84) 4-6278-2785. Email: info@vnfoundation.org
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