Over the past two years, CHS has adapted its academic practices and official policies to promote OER at KNUST.
CHS has also developed faculty and other staff expertise in content production and open licensing and fostered the creation of 15 comprehensive, interactive OER modules.
Proposed and passed institutional OER policy
One of the greatest accomplishments of the KNUST OER team is that it has successfully passed a new policy in support of OER. As is the tradition in many universities, faculty performance evaluation at KNUST was originally based largely on publication in peer-reviewed journals. The CHS OER team knew the reward structure needed to be revised in order to provide an incentive to faculty to devote time to creating teaching materials as OER modules. In early 2009, CHS established an interdisciplinary committee of faculty, other staff, and librarians across the university to examine existing faculty development and intellectual property policies. The committee drafted a new policy and began the process of moving the policy through three committees at different levels of the university administration. Both OER Africa and the University of Michigan provided input on the draft policy. The policy was approved in August 2010. As the policy states:
The purpose of the OER Policy is to:
The new policy formalized the role of the OER coordinator, as well as the technical support role of the Department of Communication Design (DCD). The university maintains copyright ownership for OER and other instructional materials developed. Instructors may, however, select the Creative Commons license they prefer. Most notably, the policy established a reward structure for OER production: it proposed that faculty receive the same credit for OER modules as for peer-reviewed publications and that the university allocate time for faculty to devote to creating OER. Although the policy has been approved, the policy committee questioned whether there were adequate internal funds to support the part-time staff members who assist in media production. The committee recommended that the university continue to seek external funding for this, and also encouraged departments within CHS to earmark some funds for OER in their budgets.
Trained faculty and other staff in OER policy and production
CHS has organized several OER workshops since the launch of the health OER activities in late 2008. Through these workshops, faculty and other staff learned the basic principles of OER advocacy, open licensing, content production, and content distribution.
Offered students practical experience in multimedia production
During the 2009-10 academic year, CHS experimented with enlisting final-year students of the Department of Communication Design (DCD), in the multimedia aspects of OER production. This proved to be a mutually beneficial partnership, as DCD students also gained valuable practical experience:
"Previously they [DCD students] did not have practical, real-life projects to work with. Right now, with the OER programme, it's like they are actually working in a professional environment. It's given them experience, which will be helpful after they graduate."
- Samuel Owusu Agyeman-Duah, OER media specialist, CHS
Increased awareness of and support for OER on campus
Many of the early participants in OER at CHS have now become advocates for OER. Those who have created OER are keen to produce additional modules. Awareness of OER has been stronger among faculty than among students, but some students have also come to see OER as a way to supplement their classroom learning. In early 2010, KNUST added a link to the OER website from the institution's main website navigation. In mid-2010, the vice-chancellor mentioned the OER activities during his commencement addresses at both CHS and DCD.
"It has got faculty talking. It's got them saying, 'Oh, there are resources out there'. It's actually opening quite a lot of doors in their minds and it's also got them feeling less hesitant to put their materials out there."
- Nadia Tagoe, programme manager, CHS
The content on this page has been adapted from "Growing an Institutional Health OER Initiative: A Case Study of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology", by Kathleen Ludewig Omollo, published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/)