Celebration of the UNESCO/UNITWIN Chairs Programme's 25th anniversary


At the 27th ICDE World Conference in Toronto on 16 October, a symposium for Chairs in OER was organized by UNESCO, Open Education Consortium (OEC), Universidad International de La Rioja (UNIR), and International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE).

The background for the celebration is the outstanding work and achievements by the Chairs, and on this occasion the OER Chairs.

The symposium opened with interventions from four of the OER Chairs: Martin Weller, Jane-Frances Obiageli Agbu, Rory McGreal and Daniel Burgos. Together these interventions covered the historical perspective of the Open Movement, experiences from OER implementation in education, visions and policies for the future and accountability for the agreed actions.

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Next on the program was the launch of ICDE’s new Advocacy Committee for OER, presented by its Chair, Paul Bardack, Chair Emeritus of the United States Distance Learning Association. The Committee will work to be an advocate for OER, to increase global recognition of OER and to provide policy support for the use and reuse of OER.

Dianne Conrad presented the Open Access journal IRRODL and OER Chair Wayne Mackintosh reported from the OERu concept, which allows free online courses and credentialization from recognized institutions.

Both OEC , ICDE, and UNIR, have for a long time been active participants in the OER movement and in supporting the UNESCO Chairs concept.

While the first UNESCO OER chairs were few (2) and it took time to have new appointed chairs, ICDE after a request from the chairs in 2012 established a supporting ICDE Chairs programme which could efficiently appoint qualified chairs in several regions of the world. Today the OER chairs in total now count 15 – and are increasing.


Daniel Burgos, Universidad International de La Rioja (UNIR), Spain


Martin Weller, Open University, UK


View presentations from the symposium below: 

Short greetings OEC

Session 1: The What? Where? Why? How? of OER
Martin Weller, Open University, UK
Jane Agbu, National Open University of Nigeria
Rory McGreal, Athabasca University, Canada
Daniel Burgos, Universidad International de La Rioja (UNIR), Spain

Session 2: Open courses (micro & MOOC) and open access 
Paul Bardack, Chair Emeritus, US Distance Learning Association, USA
Dianne Conrad, International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning (IRRODL), Canada
Wayne Mackintosh, OERuniversitas, New Zealand
Marie Soledad-Ramirez, Tecnológico de Monterrey, Mexico