Hi all, greetings from Uruguay!
Open Education has become an important focus for development in Latin America, and Uruguay is pioneering many open education initiatives in the region, but sadly, there aren’t national policies in regards of Open Education in Uruguay, the existing experiences are at institutional level, in this context,. The most relevant initiatives are ProEVA developed by Universidad de la República (Udelar) and Plan Ceibal.
I’m in charge of the Virtual Learning Environments Program (ProEVA) that was established in 2008 and can be described as the key open education project developed by Udelar, which is the most important public university in the country and that concentrates 90% of the country’s higher education enrollment. ProEVA aims at enhancing access to open content offering OER as open courses, videos, multimedia, recorded and online lecturers. All the content is supported and developed by an Interdisciplinary group of scholars, teachers and experts at Udelar’s OER Center academic team.http://proeva.edu.uy/universidadabierta/
Since its inception, ProEVA aims at promoting high quality open education (through R & D, teacher training and by promoting open licensing and free software), towards making available a digital learning ecosystem for Open Education, which involves a model of institutional transformation that aims to achieve the transition from a model of using a virtual learning environment as a support system for to face-to-face teaching, towards a model of open education, aiming at overcoming the barriers of access content, narrowing the gap towards achieving and enhancing access to education throughout life.
From this concept of digital learning ecosystem, ProEVA becomes composed of multiple platforms and educational services developed with free software, integrating communities and individuals for the creation, use and reuse of open digital content, using open licenses and permissions permit, within the framework of open educational practices. The Open Ecosystem of ProEVA Education consists of the Multimedia Area, ?Area Open Area Open Courses and Resources
On the other hand, we coordinate Udelar’s Interdisciplinary Center on Open and Accessible Digital Educational Resources seeks to contribute to the educational inclusion of the population, particularly of vulnerable groups, through various strategies based on digital resources. It also developsdevelopes research, human resources training and advocacy for the production and use of Open Educational Resources.
The academic team has participated in some of the major projects related to the issue in LatAm and integrates scientific networks in Latin America and Europe, participating and leading a significant number of research projects funded in several editions of the ALFA program of the European Union, the CYTED, AECID and Mercosur Educational Sector. This cooperation led to the development and dissemination of important initiatives on open and accessible education in Uruguay and in Latin America, and contributions in the area of strategies for the adoption of open educational resources in the region.
One of the most relevant it’s LATIn Project . The Latin American Open Textbooks Initiative http://latinproject.org/index.php/en/ was a project funded by de European Comision ALFA Program. LATIn Project addressed the problem of high cost of textbooks for Higher Education in Latin America. The main actions were the creation and dissemination of a Collaborative Open Textbook Initiative for Higher Education tailored specifically for the region. This initiative encouraged and supported local professors and authors to contribute with individual sections or chapters that could be assembled into customized books by the whole community. The created books were delivered freely available to the students in an electronic format and can be legally printed at low cost because there is no license or fees to be paid for their distribution. This solution also contributed to the creation of customized textbooks where each professor could select the sections appropriate for their courses or could freely adapt existing sections to their needs. More than 500 professors and academic authors were involved in the initiative. During pilot implementation of the initiative the solution helped 144 courses in 9 different universities, with at total benefited population of more than 4.500 students in 6 months. The created textbooks stilll remain freely available to reuse, translate, adapt and remix. The technological platform to support the collaborative creation, adaptation, mixing and re-use of Open Textbooks is still available also.
Another one is REMAR https://proyectoremar.wordpress.com/ a regional project developed on OER, at Mercosur level, funded by the European Comission. The main outcome of the action was REMAR awareness of teachers with the problem of accessibility and training to create collaboratively Open Educational Resources. During the action, the technical infrastructure and strategies to facilitate implementation and adoption at participating universities were created. Furthermore, the effectiveness of the action was validated and evaluated through pilot tests using Open Educational Resources.
New initiatives must be developed to contribute to the increase in the adoption of Open Educational policies, practices and platforms at national level in Uruguay, from the quality review of the existing initiatives and making recommendations for improvement. Key point is the sustainability of the existing practices.
Hope we can improve collaboration and help each other in developing Open Education strategies!