Dr. Richard Sebastian, ATD’s OER Degree Initiative Director, attended the OpenEd Global conference in Cape Town, South Africa March 8-10, 2017 to discuss OER degrees and the sustainability of OER projects with educators, policy-makers, non-profit organizations, researchers, government officials from across the globe. The Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources (CCCOER), one of the three partners in ATD’s OER Degree Initiative, was a conference organizer and hosted several sessions focused on open education in North American community colleges.
Cape Town was chosen as this year’s conference location because 2017 is the 10th anniversary of the Cape Town Open Education Declaration, a set of principles, strategies, and commitments the creators agreed would help spur the growth of the open education movement. Signed by individuals, institutions, and governments from around the world, the Cape Town Open Education Declaration called on:
teachers and learners to use open resources;
educators, authors, publishers and institutions to release their resources openly; and
governments, school boards, colleges and universities to make open education a high priority, ideally openly licensing all taxpayer-funded educational resources.
In addition to the suggestion that open education is beginning to enter the mainstream in higher education, there also seemed to be consensus among conference attendees of the importance of the global OER community to the future success of the movement. Next year’s OE Global conference will be held April 24-26 in Delft, Netherlands.
The importance of community was also a recurring theme at the 2017 OER Degree Initiative Summit. The event provided opportunities for attendees to network, collaborate, and compare notes. The Summit also included a keynote by ATD’s President and CEO Dr. Karen A. Stout, and sessions featuring Rice University’s OpenStax, the communications firm GMMB, as well as OER Degree Initiative partners Lumen Learning, SRI International, and CCCOER.