The OER Asia 2nd Regional Symposium was held at Wawasan Open University in Penang, Malaysia from 24-27 June 2014. This symposium was deliberately limited to 100 participants to encourage deep engagement with the key themes proposed by the organizers and optimize networking among the relatively small group of delegates. While most of the delegates hailed from Asia, there were a few representatives from Africa.
The symposium focused on 5 key themes: OER Collaboration, Impact, Content, Innovation and Quality. Keynote speakers were asked to discuss one of the themes for 30 minutes followed by 10 minutes for a response from a designated discussant. Then it was opened to questions from the audience for 20 minutes. After a tea break, between three and four 15-minute papers were presented addressing the same theme, followed by a panel discussion and audience questions for the various speakers. This made for a very focused and intensive discussion.
These sessions were live-streamed so that those unable to attend in person still had the opportunity of hearing the presentations and discussions. This made for an early start for some people, such as Sukaina Walji, the Communications Consultant for the ROER4D project, who were up at 3am in Cape Town live-tweeting about the keynote I presented on OER Content (presentation and document). (Way beyond the call of duty, Sukaina!). These video-recorded sessions will be available soon on the OERAsia website. The proceedings are already available in pdf form and usefully group according to the 5 themes. The presentation schedule is available and the presentations coming soon.
I thoroughly enjoyed the symposium and made many useful connections for the ROER4D project. These include: Paul Kawachi’s TIPS Quality Assurance Framework for Creating OER (see p 7-15); Tae Rim Lee’s Quality Assurance Standards for OER (see p 39-73); Shironica Karunanayaka’s From Mind Maps to Mindsets: Shifting Conceptions about OER in the Faculty of Education at the Open University of Sri Lanka (see p 9-16); Kin Sun Yuen and Kam Cheong Li’s How Do Hong Kong Teachers Like to Use Open Textbooks? (p 17-25) and Svetlana Knyazeva and Alexander Tumanov’s OER in Non‐English‐speaking Countries: Challenges and Opportunities (p 23-28).
For the ROER4D project, the OERAsia symposium stands as a crucial mechanism for not only sharing high-quality research on OER regionally, but contributes to our knowledge of OER practice in the Global South. The work being done through OERAsia forms an important foundation for our own research.