SLIDEWIKI ADVISORY BOARD INTERVIEW WITH Tony Mays, Manager of the Unit for Distance Education, at the University of Pretoria, South Africa

We are extremely pleased to announce that Mr. Tony Mays, Manager of the Unit for Distance Education, at the Faculty of Education of the University of Pretoria, South Africa, has joined SlideWiki’s Advisory Board. In this interview, we discuss with Mr. Tony Mays his experience with the SlideWiki platform, and his plans in terms of using OER, OCW and SlideWiki beyond the duration of the SlideWiki project.

  1.    What is your experience with OER, OCW and (open) education in your country/city?

South Africa is a signatory to both the Cape Town and Paris declarations on OER and OER, along with ODeL methods and Open educational Practices now feature strongly in national policy. However, it would be true to say that use and sharing of OER is not yet a mainstream practice. Interest seems to be growing, however, and I have facilitated/will facilitate a number of workshops about OER and based on OER in the past 3 years.

  1.    How do you evaluate the importance of Open Course Ware and Open Educational Resources for all educational levels?

One of the major reasons that students give us for formally or informally dropping out of their studies is financial. Over the past ten years, one of my favourite textbooks has increased in price eight-fold but I estimate 80% of the content has not changed. Apart from the cost, content that is open can be adapted for a better fit with contextual educational needs. Mixing text, graphics, video and audio, also allows us to cater for more diverse learning needs but would probably not be affordable or sustainable if we always needed to create everything from scratch.

  1.    How do you deem the future of OER, OCW and open education?

Traditional education provision is increasingly unaffordable and also not best suited for a global knowledge economy in which learning is increasingly lifelong, rather than front-ended. Therefore it is inevitable that interest in different models for open education provision will grow. Open education is resource-based by nature. Not all teachers have the skills and time to create original works – but with support they can probably learn to evaluate and adapt. I therefore suspect as education provision becomes more open and digital that interest in OER will continue to increase.

  1.    What is special about the SlideWiki platform (

The platform creates a useful means for collaborative development and re-development.It can support a curriculum that evolves over time.

  1.    In your opinion which are the target groups that can best benefit from using the SlideWiki platform?

Educators, trainers and and learners can all make use of such a platform.

  1.    How does your organization plan to use the SlideWiki platform in the future?

We are currently using wiki summaries within our LMS. SlideWiki potentially opens opportunities for collaborative learning and development outside the firewalls of the LMS.

  1.    Would you like to share with us lessons learned and advice from your experience on working in the educational domain and give recommendations to learners and educators?

In a world in which learners have access to information on any topic at any time, the ability to identify and evaluate credible sources, and then to mix and match or re-contextualise or repurpose content for different purposes, are skills that both learners and teachers need to develop.



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