The Open University of Israel (OUI) is Israel's largest fully-accredited university with over 45,000 students of different nationalities and religions. OUI is a distance learning university and has cutting-edge systems for delivering both synchronous and asynchronous instruction and virtual teacher training, as well as studios for high-quality video conference-based sessions. OUI's open admissions policy means that many of our students start university without the levels of English required at a higher education institution (HEI). OUI's English Department has accumulated the expertise and developed resources necessary to help English as Foreign Language (EFL) students bridge these gaps. These resources include self-study open educational resources (OERs) which are currently being used in 129 countries to help users acquire English academic vocabulary and improve reading comprehension.
(The role of the organisation in the project. )
To support implementation of the new HEI EFL curriculum OUI's main role is to develop multimedia OERs with suitable assessment criteria for the new learning packages, and to build a repository of peer-reviewed CEFR-aligned EFL OERs. Although according to a new EU initiative on "Opening up Education" (mid- 2013) OERs can revolutionize teaching and learning of EFL in HEIs, several issues must be resolved before OER can build the necessary critical mass needed to modernize education: developing quality assurance rubrics to boost levels of uptake/innovation, assessing impact of independent OER study, identifying how to increase sustainability of OER initiatives. We will work towards identifying critical success factors related to development and implementation of EFL OERs at tertiary level and will use OU's e-learning delivery systems to share best practices and help EFL teachers at HEIs in Israel and in partner countries continue developing/implementing EFL OERs after Ecostar's lifetime.