Influencing with Open Education is an online webinar series presented by the OEIs in the LTCollab at Nelson Mandela University. Their aim is to foreground Open Education and Open Education Resources (OER).


Week 2: Introduction to Open Pedagogy Workshop. Date: Sep 2, 2020 12:50 PM Harare, Pretoria.



Week 3: An introduction to the OpenEdInfluencers @MandelaUni & The Becoming an OpenEdInfluencer [BOEI] empowerment course and lockdown collaboration. Date: Sep 9, 2020 12:53 PM Harare, Pretoria.



Week 4: Academic Referencing and Writing Webinar: APA Method Part 2. Date: Sep 18, 2020 12:49 PM Harare, Pretoria.



Week 5: Localising Open Education Resources: Promoting multilingualism through open education with Prof Jako Olivier. Date: Sep 23, 2020 12:49 PM Harare, Pretoria.



Week 6: OpenEdColloquium20 – GO-GN Open Research: Insights and Methods with Robert Farrow



Week 7: Open Textbooks: Towards a sustainable Model for South African Universities



Week 8: OpenEdColloquium20: Prof Rory McGreal Blockchain for Open, Open for Blockchain.




Open Colloquium at MandelaUni draws them in

Fransman, N. Matyobeni, K. Liberty 

13 November 2019

The 1st ever Nelson Mandela University Open Education Colloquium took place on 6 November 2019 at Senate Hall, North Campus, Port Elizabeth. The event started with an 8am registration, and a short opportunity for attendees from academic staff, institutional management, students, and interested parties outside the university eco-system to mingle.

The #OpenMandela19 colloquium was opened by Mr Gino Fransman from the MandelaUni Centre for Teaching, Learning & Media, with a brief contextualisation of the event. The creator and project leader for the Open Education Influencers project at MandelalUni, a GO-GN researcher, and lead organiser of the Open Education at MandelaUni Colloquium 2019, Fransman urged attendees and speakers to “consider the points and opportunities being presented. Consider how to apply that to your purpose, or towards your Open ambition, whichever it is.”

A formal welcome and institutional overview was delivered by Prof. Cheryl Foxcroft, Dean of Learning and Teaching at Nelson Mandela University. Offering a wealth of experience and insights into higher education, leadership and transformation, Professor Foxcroft’s address was titled “Digital Transformation of Learning & Teaching at Nelson Mandela University: Where Open fits in.” It is absolutely encouraging to see an organisational perspective about the place of, and space being made for, Open at MandelaUni. The ‘drivers of Open’ shared by Prof Foxcroft were also of interest to many in the room. Find it on

The keynote speaker for the colloquium was Ms Trudi van Wyk, the Chief Director: Social Inclusion and Quality in the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET). Responsible for Social Inclusion and Equity, the National Qualifications Framework, Career Development Services, ICT in higher education and Open Learning, as well as the current 4IR lead in the Department. Delivering a thought-provoking presentation titled “Open learning – Removing Barriers to Learning,” Ms van Wyk gave an overview of national activities and innovation in HE, and highlighted progressive initiatives from the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET). Ms. van Wyk invited participants to provide input into existing policy or legislative processes that should be changed to create a more enabling environment for Open Education in South Africa.  To see the actions from national government, delivered by a key roleplayer, is indeed eye-opening, and suggests ways for Open practitioners to approach and be included in this way forward.

The #OpenEdInfluencers (OEIs) at MandelaUni, Mr Gino Fransman, Kelly Liberty and Nomawethu Matyobeni shared their experiences of advocating and championing Open at the institution amongst staff and students. The aim was to platform student advocacy initiatives, and impact and lessons from these. The presentation, titled “About #OpenMandelaUni and the #OpenEdInfluencers”, included insights into OEIs research done about student awareness of OER, their experiences with textbooks and cost impacts, earning inclusion in the UNESCO Open Education for a Better World (OE4BW) programme in Slovenia 2019, as well as achieving entry to present at the Open Education Consortium’s 2019 OEGlobal conference in Italy. The OpenEdInfluencer student voice was strong, and clear: academic staff are often unwilling to listen to students, who find themselves disabled from contributing in many instances, to the evolution of their own education experiences and journeys. When asking other students in their various Open research projects, the overwhelming, and clear response was: We will use OER, we will use Open textbooks, and lecturers should use Open Textbooks made at MandelaUni.

The day continued with Mr Igor Lesko, Director of Operations at the Open Education Consortium, PhD candidate at the Open Universiteit Nederland under the Global OER Graduate Network (GO-GN), and a specialist in policy and Open facilitation efforts on a global level speaking on “The Open Education Consortium: Why Open & Activities and Opportunities”. Seeing the range of opportunities, activities and activists around the globe engaging in Open Education, it was important to be reminded about the fundamentals of Open in this session, with Open licensing, and information about calls for wider and more diverse participation emerging strongly.

Dr Glenda Cox, from CILT at the University of Cape Town (UCT),  an Open Education Expert/ GO-GN alumnus PhD Researcher, Open Project Coordinator and Senior Lecturer, presented on the “Digital Open Textbooks for Development (DOT4D)” initiative. The OpenEdInfluencers insisted on the expanded titling in this writing up, and don’t intend it to be offensive to any other at CILT, but rather in our recognition of such significant contributions in the Open community, in SA and globally.  Dr Cox, shared UCT’s efforts on enabling the creation of digital Open Textbooks. Accounts of spreading limited financial resources included valuable strategies to “get through it”, and to by all means allow for creation of these digital vehicles, both for academic change, and for critical opportunities for saving students money.

Digital Specialist and Consultant (Web Learning), Mr Derek Moore, shared a presentation titled “Getting ready for the storm: An Open Education Practice Umbrella”. Aside from earning the best visual slides of the day, Mr Moore illustrated why it is valuable to call in the experts when trying to move forward using technology for digital development. The array of insight and expertise on offer illustrated how a digital umbrella could be used to gauge the stages where institutions or individuals found themselves at, and to initiate a plan from there.

Ms Deidre Gerber, a Senior Information Librarian from Nelson Mandela University, appeared on behalf of Mr Robert Pearce, Director of Library and Information Services at Mandela University. Mr Pearce, a librarian for 43 years, was also co-compiler of the NMU Open Access Policy. Ms Gerber shared developments from the Open Access Committee at MandelaUni, along with insights into the institutional repository where additional access to theses and other institutional publications are available.

Nelson Mandela University Open Education Colloquium group discussion forum, 2pm to 3pm. The topic to engage, Considering a network of Open Practitioners in South Africa, was foregrounded after prior discussions about a national Open activity sharing and information resource, between MandelaUni’s Gino Fransman and Igor Lesko from the OEConsortium (OEGlobal). The #OpenMandela19 event provided an opportunity for speakers and invited guests to discuss the possibility and potential of discussing and initially enabling wider engagement towards establishing a Practitioners’ Network for Open Education South Africa. Facilitated by Fransman, guiding questions for the session regarding the network included –

  1. Would the creation of such a network for Open in SA be useful/ effective?
  2. What would it look like? A list-serve, an org? Independent, or attached to another structure?
  3. How would it function?
  4. What would the network do?
  5. What would the benefit be for members?
  6. Is there a need to fund and support an individual to take on the role of network administrator, or coordinator.

Initial KPIs were shared for further discussion, and included responsibilities for establishing the platform and network, administration, promoting Open at established HE events (like an Open track at HELTASA, for example), and more. See the original discussion brochure document on

There was a general consensus amongst participants in the venue & online that such network is needed as a mechanism for practitioners and activists to connect, exchange information, collaborate, provide advice and to accelerate open education developments in South Africa.

The call for engaging with participants via an Expression of Interest will be shared shortly, and we welcome Open researchers, practitioners and novices to join as we try to spread Open and the activities Opening Up higher education in SA. Right now, guiding thoughts are that due diligence be performed about how to set such a network up, both context suitable, and able to be sustainable.

Throughout the tightly packed colloquium, opportunities were made for Questions and Answers from speakers and invited guests. This allowed for engagement and meaningful interactions about the process of integrating Open into the curriculum, and across the institutional consciousness. As Professor Foxcroft said, “There’ll be many more Open events at MandelaUni in 2020,” and the #OpenEdInfluencers are excited to help to champion this intention through energy and advocacy actions. See more of the #OpenEdInfluencers at OEGlobal in Milan, we present on Wednesday, November 27, 2019 • 10:45 – 11:15, more here:


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