Inaugurating the Use of Open Educational Resources at the University of Swaziland

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Dlamini, Shokahle R
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Commonwealth of Learning (COL) and Open University Malaysia (OUM)

Textbooks are important teaching and learning resources in Higher Education Institutions. At the University of Swaziland, both lecturers and students pay for their textbooks. Over the years, the cost of textbooks has been increasing significantly making access to prescribed textbooks a luxury afforded only by a few students who are sponsored by the Swaziland government. In the phase of an increasing cost of living coupled with dwindling government scholarships, the only viable option UNISWA is left with is that of using Open Educational Resources. Through a generous grant from the Common Wealth of Learning (COL), in October, 2015, the University of Swaziland (UNISWA) held a series of workshops aimed at sensitizing the UNISWA community about, amongst others, the benefits of OER. The main objective of the paper is to explain compelling reasons for the use of OER at UNISWA. It also demonstrates the varying levels of sensitization, among the UNISWA academic staff and students, on OER and their potential to promote access to and enhance the quality of education. The paper further shows the various attempts UNISWA as an institution has done to encourage the use of OER by its academic staff. One of these attempts is the drafting of the UNISWA OER policy, an exercise that started on March 14, 2016. This paper goes on to discuss the challenges UNISWA has faced in the course of developing an OER policy. It further suggests how the use of OER could revolutionize teaching at the University. To do that, In-depth interviews were conducted with a few respondents representing the three campuses to ascertain their feelings, perceptions and attitude towards the use of OER at UNISWA. In addition, to that two focus group discussions were held to elicit further responses on this issue. // Paper ID 89

Promoting Open Educational Resources,Policies,Change Management