The Extent Open Courseware (OCW) Movement Address the Needs of “Encouraging” the Development and Adaptation of Open Educational Resources (OER) in a Variety of Languages and Cultural Contexts.


To What Extent Does the OpenCourseWare (OCW) Movement Address the Needs of “[Encouraging] the Development and Adaptation of [Open Educational Resources (OER)] in a Variety of Languages and Cultural Contexts”?

PIM Core Compentensies Explored in this Paper

● Apply theories and frameworks for communication across differences

● Identify stages of cultural adaptation and integration in various contexts

● Analyze power relationships and understand global structural forces

● Recognize the value of multiple perspectives in community and global life

● Articulate the ways in which technology affects interconnections of local and global communities

History of the OCW Movement

The Open Education Resources (OER) started with MIT’s OpenCourseWare initiative/program(?). The initial supporters of the movement were and continue to be MIT, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and the UNESCO, with the purpose of providing quality educational course material that is free and easily accessible. (MITOCW website)

The UNESCO plays this role and has these goals. (UNESCO website) UNESCO created a forum for discussing, monitoring, and shaping the movement. 

Since its beginnings, ( ) many universities have joined and created their own OCW programs and OERs. 

Timeline of OCW.

Fulfilling the Promises of the Paris Declaration and Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “[e]veryone has a right to education” and that “higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.” In 2012 at the WORLD OPEN EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES (OER) CONGRESS, the UNESCO adopted most recent of the OER Declarations, the 2012 Paris OER Declaration, which states that governments should,

“Encourage the development and adapation of OER in a variety of languages and cultural contexts. Favour [sic] the production and use of OER in local languages and diverse cultural contexts to ensure their relevance and accessability. Intergovernmental organisations [sic] should encourage the sharing of OER across languages and cultures, respecting indigenous knowledge and rights.” 

It was adopted by these nations and is governed by…

In 2002 these languages were available and in 2012 this is how far we have come (or not) The percentages of non-western info…texts, universities, etc. Percentage of people on the internet by language and country. Even USA has disparities in internet use, 77% close to slovakia, croatia, etc.

Concerns and Solutions

1. ICT infrastructure (Cyberimperialism)

2. Literacy-technology and reading

“Two types of skills that people need in order to have effective access to contemporary ICT are identified by Mossberger Tolbert and Stansbury (2003) are skills of ‘technical competence’ and skills of ‘information literacy.’”

digital divide (Huijser, Bedford, Bull, 2008)

3. Adaptability

“An OPAL project study confirmed result, finding that the main barrier to adoption of Open Educational Resources was in fact the lack of ability to integrate them into courses. (Carneiro, Nozes, Policarpo, Cerol, & Correia, 2011)” (Mainstreaming Open Educational Practice: Recommendations for Policy by Anthony F. Camilleri, Ulf Daniel Ehlers)

“While we have established that OCW can potentially be adapted to local needs, it is equally important to recognise that courseware is not produced in a context vacuum. Rather, it is typically produced in a specific national and cultural context and is primarily aimed at addressing local needs.”  (Huijser, Bedford, Bull, 2008)

4. Students with disabilities

5. Funding


I. Cultural Imperialism (dominance and flow of information) (Cyberimperialism, Ebo?) 

OCW, like information and the internet in general, has come under scrutiny by some, who critique higher learning institutions as a method of cultural imperialism and the indoctrination of western philosophies like capitalism and democracy around the globe. Universities in developing countries were developed using western models, taught by professors from western universities, materials are widely available and printed in English, and publishing in English is encouraged. Furthermore, the systems in which information and knowledge is evaluated are eurocentric. 

On visiting the UNESCO website, you will see the option of the six official UN languages: English, French, Spanish, Russian, Arabic, and Mandarin. The OpenCourseWare website offers the choice of English, Spanish, French, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, with courses in 14 languages. Google Translate supports 71 languages. 

II. Right to education vs. Market potential (what is the motivation?)

(Huijser, Bedford, Bull, 2008)

OER/OCW was designed so everyone has access to education but they still need a computer and the Web to access it. Dispite OEW organizations saying they are not motivated by money, the programs do offer potential for increased income and in the future after being researched be offered for a fee to ensure sustainability. the New Mexico Laptop Learning Initiative and One Laptop per Child working to address lack of computers.“The assumptions made about that audience by courseware designers may not necessarily hold for a more global audience.” Knowledge as a commodity

III. Access has proved to be not enough

“Many current OER initiatives focus overwhelmingly on access and availability of open educational resources (OER) and not enough on helping individuals and organisations to develop open educational practices (OEP).” (

Further Critique 

(What still needs to be done?)

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