December 2007

GLOBE  is an alliance established among five international global repositories including MERLOT in the U.S, ARIADNE (Alliance of Remote Instructional Authoring and Distribution Networks of Europe) in Europe, Education Network Australia (EdNA Online) in Australia, LORNET in Canada and National Institute of Multimedia Education (NIME) in Japan. Federated community search is provided through the MERLOT repository that enables users to query GLOBE for educational resources that faculty can use to design learning experiences.

Link:  Globe (Global Learning Object Brokerage Exchange)


[From MAN]

The MERLOT AFRICA Network (MAN) is a Network of African higher education institutions affiliated with the Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching (MERLOT).The MAN organization works collaboratively with MERLOT partner institutions to conduct educational research that leads to best practices in the scholarship of teaching and learning using electronic resources. MAN also strives to enhance the usability and quality of the MERLOT e-learning repository for global access.

The ultimate goal of MAN is to promote the formation of cross-cultural collaborative network of scholars and higer education faculty. MAN will implement a comprehensive research program aiming to evaluate the feasibility and assessing the needs for successfully implementing the following sub-goals.

  • Encourage the development and sharing of quality
    electronic learning resources.
  • Develop and validate research instruments to assess
    the e-learning readiness of MAN institutions.
  • Identify professional development needs for integrating modular instructional resources in instructional design and delivery.
  • Build capacity to train instructors, faculty, and teachers in the effective use of
    e-learning resource repositories to develop online courses.
  • Initiate International collaborations and linkages between MERLOT and MAN institutions.
  • Leverage the availability of open source software (OSS) to facilitate course management and delivery.
  • Disseminate research findings and best practices through publications, yearly presentations and forums at academic venues including MERLOT and elearning
    Africa International conferences.
  • Disseminate methodology and findings through doctoral dissertations and master thesis chaired by faculty researchers of MAN and MERLOT.
  • Enhancing the usability of the MERLOT repository to accommodate Multilanguage audience.

Link: The MERLOT AFRICA Network (MAN)

 “Open content: Towards equal learning opportunities? The number of open collaborative technologies has exploded
over the last years. What impact have they had on access to and
quality of education worldwide? Can developing countries afford these expensive technologies and thus avoid remaining on the
sidelines of the digital revolution? What about copyright issues? What role for UNESCO?

…..The latest and most promising applications and tools are defined as “Web 2.0”: strictly Web-based, they are open/free,
support collaboration, interactivity and are responsive to theuser/learner. ‘Open content’: examples from international practice The term ‘open content’,coined by analogy with ‘open source’, describes any kind of creative work (including articles, pictures, audio) or engineering work (open machine design) that is published in a format that explicitly allows the copying and the modifying of the information by anyone.” [UNESCO Bureau of Public Information Memo]

Read full memo here

From EduResources Weblog–Higher Education Resources Online:

The Capetown Declaration has been under discussion in the UNESCO OER online discussion group (to join the community of interest go to this site) and has also been discussed in several blogs (see Stephen Downes’ critique and David Wiley’s defense of the Declaration).

My own view is that the Declaration is worth reading and worth supporting (I signed on as a supporter today). However, open educational efforts do extend far beyond the traditional educational settings that are emphasized in the Declaration. One reason that I maintain two blogs about learning resources is because I am interested in furthering the use of open educational resources by academics and students in traditional academic institutions, but I am also committed to furthering the wider scope of self-directed and collaborative educational endeavors that are powerfully enabled by the Internet and the Web.

At the widest extreme, concerns about how OERs and the Web should develop resemble Dionysian versus Apollonian tensions, i.e., tensions between those who want the most freedom, access, and openness and those who want the most reliability, accuracy, and usefulness; those who want to fund developments bottom-up and those who want to fund developments top-down; those who want wide, full, sweeping projects and those who believe in small-scope, local, practical projects. These kinds of arguments never end, because they reflect differences in temperament, plus real differences in needs and desires in different places at different times. The OER polarizations are similar to the contrasts between discovery science and confirmation science or the contrasts between basic research and applied research–neither type of science or research is better or worse than the other, but they are fundamentally different. The current Cape Town debate is useful, because it highlights important differences in educational emphases, intents, and values that will persist. Neither side will “win,” but both can contribute. ____JH


The Cape Town Open Education Declaration

This is a preview version of The site launches mid-January 2008. Send feedback here.

The Cape Town Open Education Declaration arises from a small but lively meeting convened in Cape Town on 14-15 September 2007. The purpose of the meeting was to accelerate the international effort to promote open resources, technology and teaching practices in education. The participants represented many points of view, many disciplines and many nations. All are involved in ongoing open education initiatives.

In Cape Town, this group explored how their separate initiatives could work together to achieve much broader, deeper impact. They explored strategies for opening up and enlivening the world of education. The first concrete outcome of this meeting is the Cape Town Open Education Declaration. It is at once a statement of principle, a statement of strategy, and a statement of commitment.

The meeting that led to the Cape Town Declaration was jointly convened by the Open Society Institute and the Shuttleworth Foundation. Together with others who attended the meeting, the education and information programs of these foundations have committed to pursuing the strategies outlined in the Declaration.

Open education is a living idea. As the movement grows, this idea will continue to evolve. There will be other articulations, initiatives and declarations that will go well beyond the terrain covered in Cape Town. This is exactly the point. The organizations and people behind the Declaration are committed to developing and pursuing additional open education strategies over the coming years, especially in the areas of open technology and teaching practices. We encourage others to do the same.

The Declaration has already been signed by the Cape Town meeting participants. When this site launches officially in January, we hope that thousands of learners, educators, trainers, authors, schools, colleges, universities, publishers, unions, professional societies, policymakers, governments, foundations and other kindred open education initiatives will join us. If you are interested, let us know.

From College Puzzle, November 2007:

The Education Policy Institute conducted 30 focus groups in Missouri for middle and high school students. Students understand college helps get high paying jobs, but their college knowledge was weak in many ways. The top profession named by students was professional athlete, and parties and money were the top reasons for attending college. The most influential advisors for students were : parents, siblings, and friends. Many of the students lacked confidence about their ability to complete college work.
The EPI report makes some specific useful recommendations at

Last month, Unesco released the sixth edition of the Education for All Global Monitoring Report.

A mid-term assessment of where the world stands on its commitment to provide basic education for all children, youth and adults by 2015. What education policies and programmes have been successful? What are the main challenges? How much aid is needed? Is aid being properly targeted?

“…The report regrets that national governments and donors have emphasized formal primary schooling at the expense of early childhood and adult literacy programmes. These programmes have a direct impact on achieving universal primary education and gender parity, and more broadly on poverty reduction. Children from the poorest backgrounds are those who stand to benefit most from early childhood care and education programmes. Despite measures in many countries to expand access to pre-primary education, participation levels remain below 20% in the Arab States and sub-Saharan Africa, and under 40% in South and West Asia on average.

Governments, the report finds, are also neglecting adult literacy: worldwide 774 million adults – nearly 1 in 5 – lack basic literacy skills. More than three-quarters live in only 15 countries. Women’s literacy in particular has a strong influence on a child’s education and health yet they still account for 64% of adults who are not literate worldwide. On current trends 72 out of 101 countries for which projections were calculated will not succeed in halving adult illiteracy rates by 2015.

External financing for basic education remains far short of the US$11 billion required annually to reach EFA in low-income countries. It is insufficiently targeted to countries of sub-Saharan Africa and to countries facing conditions of fragility. France, Germany, Japan, the United States and the United Kingdom are the five largest donors to education but the first three allocate less than one-third of their education aid to the basic level. The report states that too many donors are putting excessive priority on post-secondary.

Most countries that have achieved EFA or are close to doing so are in North America and Europe but this category also includes Argentina, Brunei Darussalam, Bahrain, Mexico and the Republic of Korea. Norway tops the Education for All Development Index followed by United Kingdom, Slovenia, Sweden, the Republic of Korea and Italy.” [Press release]


Regional overviews

“The University of California has long been a major source of socioeconomic mobility in California. Recent UCUES data indicates that more than half the undergraduate students in the UC system have at least one parent who is an immigrant. The percentage is even higher at UC Berkeley. What do such a high percentage of students with recent immigrant backgrounds tell us about the University of California and socioeconomic mobility? How is it influencing the academy and the academic and civic experience of undergraduates who are largely first or second-generation immigrants?”[Immigrant University: The Dynamics of Race, Major and Socioeconomic Characteristics at. the University of California. John Douglass, CSHE, UC Berkeley]

From Chronicle of higher Education News Blog:

About 54 percent of students in the University of California system — and about 63 percent of those at its prestigious Berkeley campus — have at least one parent who is an immigrant, according to a

released this month by researchers there.The report, by researchers at the Berkeley campus’s Center for Studies in Higher Education, is based on a 2006 survey of University of California system’s undergraduates. Because only 38 percent of students responded, its numbers are not exact, even though the researchers involved regard them as close.

The report says “the startling number and range” of student backgrounds revealed through its survey “points to the need for an expanded notion of diversity beyond older racial and ethnic paradigms.”

Among its key findings, the report says that just 54 percent of undergraduates in the university system said that English was their sole first language.

At the Berkeley campus, 28 percent of undergraduate students immigrated to the United States, and 72 percent of undergraduates have at least one immigrant grandparent. Throughout the university system, 95 percent of Asian-American students, 88 percent of Hispanic students, and 40 percent of white students reported that they or at least one parent or grandparent came from outside the United States.

The report says that first- or second-generation immigrant students tend to gravitate toward fields such as engineering and the sciences, and to be focused heavily on careers and professional prestige. Although some come from low-income backgrounds, most are more likely than other immigrants to come from families that are well educated. —Peter Schmidt

Link:“The Immigrant University: Assessing the Dynamics of Race, Major and Socioeconomic Characteristics at U of California”

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