The Open University of Brazil goes open

The Open University of Brazil (UAB), a consortium of over 100 public higher education institutions in Brazil, has just announced its open educational resources repository — eduCAPES, during the 9th meeting of UAB Coordinators in Brasília. The repository is part of a series of activities aimed at promoting OER within the UAB System.

Our research group has been engaged in promoting openness at UAB since 2010. In 2013 we begin researching the institutions that make up UAB in order to understand how they engaged in the production and dissemination of educational resources. We found valuable initiatives aimed at promoting openness at each institution. Different challenges and strategies had been tried and implemented, and this collective knowledge could be used to remove barriers and promote a system-wide effort towards the production and dissemination of OER.

One of the biggest barriers to opening up resources was the lack of a national policy on licensing of resources by DED/CAPES (the organization within the Ministry of Education that coordinates the UAB System).

Mapa Polos UAB
Municipal centers that make up the UAB System

A series of initiatives took place: DED/CAPES hired consulting to identify possibilities for open licensing. IED (OER Brazil) provided much needed awareness on OER, and multiple discussions ensued on the benefits of adopting a more liberal, copyleft, as a standard.

The System produces a massive mount of resources — videos, books, simulations — which were only used within the courses offered by UAB. The next call for the production of resources (2017) will require an open license, preferably CC-BY-SA. DED/CAPES is also working directly with each Institution to open up older resources. Acceptable licenses also include CC-BY, CC-BY-NC, e CC-BY-NC-SA.

The open license mandate is part of a larger set of initiatives aimed at promoting openness at UAB. We are currently developing (along with UFPR and IED) an open course on OER which will be offered in 2017. We are also finalizing a comprehensive questionnaire on the production, dissemination and use of educational resources to be sent to UAB personnel, in order to expand on what we learned during our research project; this knowledge will be used to tailor the course to their specific barriers, needs and interests. The eduCAPES portal is also “born open” in the sense that it operates with a focus on open licenses (primary CC, other compatible licenses accepted). It will host novel content but will also work in a federation model, aggregating metadata from institutional repositories.

These activities benefit from the efforts of those who make up the System, as well as the folks at DED/CAPES, who together are working to make UAB more open.

More information on the CAPES press release (automatic English translation or Portuguese original).
My presentation on the 9th meeting  (ODP ou PDF) – Portuguese.
More info on the UAB System on this interactive map.
A historical overview of licensing and OER at UAB by Duran, M.R. (Portuguese).

 

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