Tony Mays reports on a new project in Zambia
The National In-Service Teachers College (NISTCOL) in Zambia offers distance education courses for the professional development of teachers both in-service and to a lesser extent also pre-service. Traditionally it has made use of a print-based and contact supported model with the support offered through a collaboration agreement with the twelve existing contact-based Colleges of Education in the country. However, it is in the process of expanding into the provision also of elearning options using Moodle software.
With the support of the Flemish Association for Development Cooperation and Technical Assistance (VVOB), NISTCOL has also embarked on the development of a series of short courses to build capacity for the provision of high quality Open, Distance and eLearning (ODeL) opportunities. The series will start with the development of a short course on learner support for which Saide has been engaged to play a supporting role.
In addition, NISTCOL is exploring the integration and use of OER in both its ODeL initiative and its mainstream teaching programmes. With VVOB support, NISTCOL and its affiliated colleges now have access to the resources of the eGranary initiative as well as those of the Khan academy and is busy with the identification, adaptation and integration of additional OER to add to its growing repository of resources. In return, the College plans to make available its diploma course materials as OER and Saide’s OER Africa initiative will be supporting the process of open publication.
The new ODeL capacity-building initiative in particular was the focus of a four-day workshop in the period 5-9 September 2011 attended by representatives of the Ministry of Education, NISTCOL and its partner Colleges. The first two days of the workshop were facilitated by Prof Richard Siaciwena and Dr Vitalicy Chifwepa and comprised a wide-ranging overview of the field of learner support in ODeL provision – enabling participants at the end of the two-day engagement to identify and prioritise the proposed content for the learner support short course. The second two days of the workshop were facilitated by Tony Mays, representing Saide’s OER Africa initiative, and explored the nature of OER, open licensing possibilities and issues to do with finding, evaluating and adapting OER as well as some of the policy implications thereof.
Thanks to the resources available in the new Knowledge Centre based in the MoE buildings (see supporting picture), the support of the IT director of that centre and additional bandwidth purchased by VVOB for the day, participants in the workshop were able to have a hands-on experience of searching for and evaluating OER related to their respective immediate needs – whether as part of the teacher education or the ODeL programme initiatives. A variety of strategies were followed and lessons learned both in searching for appropriate content and in organising the search process (individually, in pairs and in teams).
We look forward to our continuing engagement with our new colleagues at the MoE, NISTCOL and VVOB.
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OUR TEAMJenny Glennie