Open Education Initiative: Updates and outlook

In these very troubled times, we took some time to reflect and write down a balance of our activities in 2020 and our outlook for 2021. In this short report we align our activities with two important normative documents: the UNESCO OER Declaration (2019) and the MERCOSUR OER Recommendations and Action Plan (2018).

Open Education Leadership course
It is a free and online course for in-service and pre-service and in-service teachers with an active mediation and a 60 hour workload, blending synchronous and asynchronous moments. The objective is to create a network of educational leaders committed to educational transformation through the adoption of concepts and practices of openness and promotion of digital rights. The course is offered by the University of Brasilia, with official certification, conducted by the Open Education Initiative in partnership with UNESCO Brazil. First offer (2020) and two subsequent offers (2021). It parallels our experience in higher education with our Ministry of Education/CAPES Open Education Ambassadors program.
OER Recommendation, focus on (i) sections (a-f), (ii) section (c), (iii) section (b)
MERCOSUR Recommendation item 5.

With support from the UNESCO Brasilia office.

Choose Free! portal
An informative and educational website that points out a range of options and free and open strategies that can assist, mainly teachers, but also students and administrators, in their educational activities. The site contains testimonials from teachers, students and managers about free software and OER; explains and points to useful platforms, systems and applications for education; includes tutorials on how to make use of tools and discusses various types of activities, including virtual conferences, collaborative writing, production of audiovisual resources, file sharing and where to find OER. It also provides Comunica! a space for experimenting free software online tools like video conferencing and collaborative writing (Jitsi, Mumble, Etherpad) that we maintain, showing that can be adopted by institutions.
OER Recommendation, focus on (i) Building capacity, sections (d,e,f), and (ii) section (e)
MERCOSUR Recommendation item 5.

With support from the UNESCO Brasilia office.

Open Services Map – (live, to be launched in the next 2-3 weeks) – an open registry of collectives, companies, startups and service providers that work with open resources and free software focused on education. The map (MSA) facilitates contact between service providers and education managers by promoting the free software universe and open educational resources in education.
OER Recommendation (iv) sections (b,c)

OER Mapping of Latin America
We created a network of undergraduate students who have mentorship on OER, and with support from their mentors have finished updating the OER World Map with all of Latin America and South Africa (services, organizations, policies). Mapping finalized, report forthcoming.Together with UDELAR (Uruguay), UNPA (Argentina) and Tecnológico Comfenalco (Colombia) and UNESCO Chair at North West U (South Africa).
OER Recommendation, focus on (i), sections (a,b), (ii) section (c) and (v) section (a,c,f)
MERCOSUR OER Recommendation – item 1 and 2.

With support from HBZ.

Copyright guidelines during emergency remote education
We have established a small group of experts to influence copyright policies at universities to include OER and flexible interpretations of copyright law. We published what has become a very popular guide on the topic, which has been used by lawmakers and high level university officials. The perspectives highlighted here have been used to frame the policies in two federal universities (with more to come).
OER Recommendation, focus on (i), sections (c,e), (ii) section (e,h)
MERCOSUR OER Recommendation – item 2,3.

Open Education Pocketbook (2020)
A very introductory and user-friendly introduction to Open Education, connecting with other ‘open’ areas of interest
OER Recommendation (i) sections (a,e)
MERCOSUR OER Recommendation – item 5.

Education Under Surveillance Observatory
Part of a research project and informative site that provides up-to-date information on the partnership of public institutions (higher education) and city and state school systems with large corporations associated with surveillance capitalism (Google and Microsoft). It shows that 65% of institutions and systems currently have contracted with such businesses. Provides information, reports, and other educational resources on privacy and digital rights in education. The project is now mapping all of South America in partnership with other universities. Initially supported by Derechos Digitales and South America expansion supported by LAVITS network.
OER Recommendation, focus on (i) section (d) and (ii) section (h)
MERCOSUR OER Recommendation – item 2.