Authors : Nicholas Colvard, C. Edward Watson, Hyojin Park
There are multiple indicators which suggest that completion, quality, and affordability are the three greatest challenges for higher education today in terms of students, student learning, and student success.
Many colleges, universities, and state systems are seeking to adopt a portfolio of solutions that address these challenges. This article reports the results of a large-scale study (21,822 students) regarding the impact of course-level faculty adoption of Open Educational Resources (OER).
Results indicate that OER adoption does much more than simply save students money and address student debt concerns. OER improve end-of-course grades and decrease DFW (D, F, and Withdrawal letter grades) rates for all students.
They also improve course grades at greater rates and decrease DFW rates at greater rates for Pell recipient students, part-time students, and populations historically underserved by higher education.
OER address affordability, completion, attainment gap concerns, and learning. These findings contribute to a broadening perception of the value of OERs and their relevance to the great challenges facing higher education today.
Authors : Daniel Ochieng Orwenjo, Fridah Kanana Erastus
Kenya, like many African countries, has faced enormous challenges in the production of and access to quality relevant teaching and learning materials and resources in her primary and secondary school classrooms.
This has been occasioned by a plethora of factors which include, but are not limited to a lack of finances, tradition, competence, and experience to develop such resources. Such a situation has persisted despite the existence and availability of many Open Educational Resources (OERs) that have been developed by many education stakeholders at enormous costs.
Such freely available resources could potentially improve the quality of existing resources or help to develop new courses. Yet, their uptake and reuse in secondary and primary schools in Kenya continues to be very low. This paper reports the findings of a study in which Open Resources for English Language Teaching (ORELT) developed by the Commonwealth of Learning (COL), Canada, were piloted in sampled fifty (50) Kenyan secondary schools.
The study applied the Model 1 – Distance and Dependence (Zhao et al 2002) model to investigate the challenges that hinder instructors to adopt and use ORELT materials. The study reported that poor infrastructure, negative attitudes, lack of ICT competencies, and other skill gaps among teachers and lack of administrative support are some of the implementation challenges that have continued to dog the implementation, adoption and use of OERs in Kenyan schools.
The findings of the present study will go a long way in providing useful insights to the developers of OERs and Kenyan education stakeholders in devising strategies of maximum utilisation of OERs in the Kenyan school system.
Authors : Michael Paskevicius, Cheryl Hodgkinson-Williams
This case study explores students’ perceptions of the creation and reuse of digital teaching and learning resources in their work as tutors as part of a volunteer community development organisation at a large South African University.
Through a series of semi-structured interviews, student-tutors reflect on their use and reuse of digital educational resources, and identify the challenges they experience in curating, adapting, and reusing educational resources for use in their teaching activities.
The data is analysed qualitatively within the framework of an activity system (Engeström, 1987) to surface the primary systemic tensions that student-tutors face in the reuse of resources found online as well as open educational resources (OER).
This study found that student-tutors sourced and used educational materials from the Internet, largely irrespective of their licensing conditions, while also creating and remixing a substantial number of educational materials to make them suitable for use in their context.
We conclude that greater awareness of the availability of OER and explicit open licencing for works sourced and created within community development organisations could enhance sharing, collaboration, and help sustain high impact resources.
Authors : Michael Paskevicius, George Veletsianos, Royce Kimmons
Inspired by open educational resources, open pedagogy, and open source software, the openness movement in education has different meanings for different people. In this study, we use Twitter data to examine the discourses surrounding openness as well as the people who participate in discourse around openness.
By targeting hashtags related to open education, we gathered the most extensive dataset of historical open education tweets to date (n = 178,304 tweets and 23,061 users) and conducted a mixed methods analysis of openness from 2009 to 2016.
Findings show that the diversity of participants has varied somewhat over time and that the discourse has predominantly revolved around open resources, although there are signs that an increase in interest around pedagogy, teaching, and learning is emerging.
The marketing of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Open Courseware gives the impression that it has the potential to contribute to quality open learning and opening up higher education globally. It is from this perspective that the potential contribution of Open Educational Resources (OER) units in the MIT Open Courseware to opening up higher education in Rwanda was investigated. Ten OER units were sampled as objects of the study.
I took the role of an archive analyst, giving full attention to any item that constituted each unit. Results indicate that only one unit had enough openly licensed resources to enable its potential adaptation for use in opening up higher education.
In other units, only metadata (course information, the syllabus, course calendar, and the list of required and suggested readings), assignments and/or quizzes/exams were openly licensed. Most (if not all) of the required and suggested readings, which are the core learning materials learners need to engage with for quality learning, had to be purchased, mostly from the Amazon website.
On the basis of these findings, I argue that the MIT Open Courseware served the marketing agenda (probably for the purpose of acquiring funding), rather than the open access agenda.
The study may benefit funding organisations, educators and institutions that are interested in supporting or engaging in the production, adaptation and use of OER with an agenda to contribute to opening up higher education.
In an attempt to align instructional resources with new state standards and to increase teacher awareness of these standards, one large suburban public school district piloted the development and adoption of open secondary science textbooks.
Open textbooks created by teachers in grades six through nine replaced conventional science textbooks provided by mainstream publishing companies. Therefore, grade nine students were not included in this study.
At the end of the first quarter, middle school students (grades six through eight) who used the open textbooks were surveyed. Survey responses required respondents to consider their learning before and during the use of the open textbook. The survey included quality and presentation of content questions, as well as an opportunity for students to explain their responses.
There were qualitative and quantitative indications that students’ perceptions of an open textbook in place of a standard textbook are improving students’ attitudes and behaviors toward learning.
The global open education movement is striving toward openness as a feature of academic policy and practice, but evidence shows that these ambitions are far from mainstream, and levels of awareness in institutions is often disappointingly low.
Those advocating for open education are seeking to widen engagement, but how targeted and persuasive are their messages? The aim of this research is to explore the voices often unheard, those of the teachers and professional service staff with whom we are engaging.
This research presents a series of interviews with those involved in open education at De Montfort University in the UK, with the aim of gaining a better perspective of what openness means to them. T
he interviews were analysed through an interpretive lens allowing each individual to create their own story and reflect their own personal view of openness. The results of this study are that in this university, openness is represented by five elements – staff pedagogy and practice, benefits to learners, accessibility and access to content, institutional structures, and values and culture.
This work shows the importance of adopting critical approaches to gain a deeper understanding of the philosophical and pedagogic stances within institutions. By giving a voice to all those involved we will be able to develop appropriate and more persuasive arguments to widen our sphere of influence as a community of open educators.