The University of Sousse in Tunisia is one of the subcontracted partners for the external trials of the SlideWiki platform. In this interview, we feature Dr. Lilia Cheniti, Assistant Professor at the University of Sousse, in the domain of Computer Science and researcher in the area of Technology Enhanced Learning, and we exchange on her experience with the SlideWiki trials and platform, as well as the plans of her university in terms of using OER, OCW and SlideWiki beyond the duration of the trials.
- SlideWiki, an EU-funded project, enables the collaborative creation of free teaching and learning materials. These include, for instance, slide sets, lecture notes and course content. What is special about this platform?
I have observed that the SlideWiki platform is easy to use, the various functionalities are easily accessible and usable. The navigation in the environment is also easy and encourage the share and the reuse of educational resources. We just need more integration of communication tools in the platform to encourage the creation of learning communities.
- According to your opinion, which are the target groups that can best benefit from using the SlideWiki platform?
The SlideWiki platform could be available for various learner profiles, either students regularly registered in university, or in a framework of Life Long Learning (LLL), for users who aim to enhance their knowledge in some areas. In particular, this is important in Tunisian Universities context, as it can be used by university graduates, who are seeking for job, to update their knowledge and enhance their competencies.
- How do you evaluate the importance of Open Course Ware and Open Educational Resources for all educational levels?
The use of Open Course Ware and Open Educational Resources will help Lecturers to update their course materials and offer their students new sets of learning resources that are available elsewhere. In this respect, Open Educational Resources could offer a very useful entry point to foster pedagogical innovation in faculties, enhance the quality of materials and references, and develop links with academic centers of excellence beyond the country.
Besides I consider that we have some experience in using open resources, through a MOOC experience. Indeed, I’m co-author of the first MOOC in computer sciences, related to Object Oriented software design and specification. This MOOC project was attributed after a call of application of The FUN ( France Universite Numerique) and the AUF ( Francophone University agency) . The MOOC run already for two sessions, with around 3400 students in each session. The resources in this MOOC are according the to the license CCBYSA.
I consider this MOOC experience as part of Open education experience one, since it enabled us to share various educational material with a huge number of learners around the world and to experiment various pedagogical scenarios, such as flipped classrooms.
- How does your organization plan to use the SlideWiki platform beyond the duration of the project?
A culture of open access and open resources is lacking in Tunisian universities. This is particularly true in my university, where I am Assistant professor and Head of the Online Learning Department. It is part of my terms of reference at the level of my department to foster a culture of open access and facilitate a rethinking of learning methods both at the level of students as well as faculty. This includes encouraging my colleagues to use open education resources in their courses and inviting students to look for these resources and actively use them. I can invite colleagues from my university and from other Tunisian universities to test the SlideWiki platform and integrate Open Educational Resources into the curricula of the upcoming academic year. An another interesting opportunity could be proposing to the virtual university of Tunisia, which is an open university, to test this platform in some curricula and share on it some resources.