Once people have permission to copy, modify, and distribute open educational resources, it is fascinating to watch how and where people are using them. Through our African Health OER Network project, in particular, we have witnessed numerous examples of learning materials that have been used, translated, or otherwise adapted by students and instructors at institutions in other countries. Here are just a few examples of visibility, new connections, and adaptations resulting from OER shared through the African Health OER Network:
- In October 2012, the African Health OER Network videos on YouTube surpassed 2.5 million views, with visitors from nearly every country worldwide. An analysis of the over 1,700 ratings and over 360 comments reveals that viewers are finding the videos helpful.
- Medical residents in Nigeria discovered gynecology surgery videos developed by the University of Ghana, which they integrated into their training.
- Through student networks in Ghana, medical students at University of Ghana and University of Cape Coast learned of and studied an obstetrics examination module developed by KNUST.
- University of Botswana and Saide created a collection of pre-clinical supplemental resources using materials from University of Michigan, MedEdPORTAL, Johns Hopkins University, Tufts University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and others.
- An open access Spanish journal translated and published a lecture from an occupational health module from University of Cape Town.
- A patient in Croatia discovered an Automated Blood Counts module KNUST online and contacted the author for consultation.
- Physicians at St. Paul Hospital Millennium Medical College (SPHMMC) and Federal Ministry of Health in Ethiopia have incorporated a Caesarean Section module from University of Ghana into their gynecology training. SPHMMC has adapted this resource to include narration by an Ethiopian physician to compare and contrast the demonstrated procedure with their local practices.
- Print versions of maternal and child health open textbooks from South Africa, Malawi, and Mozambique are available for reference in the SPHMMC library.
- A learning module by University of Ghana Medical School designed for access from desktop and laptop computers was adapted for mobile phones, in partnership with University of Michigan.
- A manual on counseling from University of Malawi references OER from Commonwealth of Learning, UNESCO, Open University, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, University of Michigan, and others.
Beyond the learning materials, the consortium of universities involved in the African Health OER Network enabled the exchange of other tacit knowledge between the participating organizations. Specifically, it has facilitated multidirectional knowledge sharing between individuals and universities in the Global North (i.e., “developed countries”) and those in the Global South (i.e., “developing countries”). This includes learning materials and lessons learned that have been brought back to U-M. For example:
- A U-M professor has used the Buruli ulcer module and clinical microbiology videos from Ghana in his infectious diseases class for first year medical students.
- Obstetrics and gynecology modules developed by Ghanaian physicians have also been added as supplemental materials for U-M medical students.
- Open textbooks authored by health professionals in South Africa are available to the U-M community through our library’s print-on-demand service with Espresso Book Machine
- I and other Open.Michigan staff members have also learned additional techniques for video and audio editing and instructional design that we have incorporated into our OER activities at U-M.