We celebrated our one year anniversary on Friday afternoon in the African Studies Gallery at the University of Cape Town. It turned into a lovely affair with many contributors and other community members joining to celebrate the first year of UCT OpenContent.
The team was particularly grateful for the words of Deputy Vice-Chancellor Jo Beall. Jo congratulated the team on the progress of the past year recognizing our constant battle with intellectual property rights and changing academic practices. She also recognized UCT OpenContent as one of the best marketing tools the university currently has, giving the public access to some of the wonderful work that UCT academics do. Jo explained that UCT OpenContent is helping contribute to some of the university’s key strategies including becoming an Afropoilitan University with a socially responsive agenda.
Having just returned from travel within Africa, Jo emphasised how difficult accessing resources can be at some African Universities. Some universities lack infrastructure, such as learning management systems (Vula) with which to share resources. UCT OpenContent can act as an open learning management system for students seeking academic resources. We would like to envisage that by hosting one of the larger OER repositories in Africa we are contributing to knowledge sharing on the continent as well as around the world.
Jo made a special thanks to all of the contributors who have taken the time to develop and share their materials. For the various reasons academics have chosen to share, they have made a significant contribution to social responsiveness.
Jo also mentioned UCT OpenContent as part of the broader initiative ‘OpenUCT’. Through OpenUCT the University of Cape Town will act as an “academic meeting point between South Africa, Africa and the rest of the world.” OpenUCT will weave together existing and emerging projects including; digital resources from the library (digital archives), UCT OpenContent (open educational resources), Knowledge Co-Op (social responsiveness projects) and open research (open access research). We look forward in anticipation of this intiative!
Thanks to all who took the time to join us on Friday afternoon. A very special thanks to Deputy Vice-Chancellor Jo Beall for her very kind words. We will be sharing video from the event, including Jo’s speech, in the coming week or so.