Willingness to Engage in Open Educational Practices among Academics in Rwandan Public Higher Education and Responsive Actions

Author : Bernard Nkuyubwatsi

Academics’ engagement in Open Educational Practices (OEPs) is critical for opening up higher education. It is in this perspective that the willingness to engage in such practices among academics in Rwandan public higher education was investigated with an agenda to trigger responsive actions.

Via convenience/availability and volunteer sampling, 170 academics were invited to participate in the study and 85 of them completed and returned an email self-completion questionnaire. The results revealed that the majority of participants were willing to contribute to Open Educational Resources (OER) by publishing their work under an open licence.

Participants were also willing to engage in diverse OEPs including 1) finding OER and evaluating their quality, 2) participating in and evaluating open courses, 3) aggregating OER, 4) adapting OER and open courses, and 5) assessing accomplishment from open learning based on OER and open courses for credit.

National and institutional policies were found to be the potentially most important enablers of academics’ engagement in those practices. In the light of the findings, the researcher argues that the inclusion of more learners in the higher education system would make academics more impactful than simply the citation of their work, a stance that was reflected in subsequent responsive actions.

This study may benefit institutions and policy makers who are interested in opening up higher education, especially the University of Rwanda that is expected to contribute significantly to the transformation of the country into a middle-income, knowledge-based society.

URL : Willingness to Engage in Open Educational Practices among Academics in Rwandan Public Higher Education and Responsive Actions

Alternative location : http://www.jl4d.org/index.php/ejl4d/article/view/223

Openness and Praxis: Exploring the Use of Open Educational Practices in Higher Education

Author : Catherine Cronin

Open educational practices (OEP) is a broad descriptor of practices that include the creation, use, and reuse of open educational resources (OER) as well as open pedagogies and open sharing of teaching practices.

As compared with OER, there has been little empirical research on individual educators’ use of OEP for teaching in higher education. This research study addresses that gap, exploring the digital and pedagogical strategies of a diverse group of university educators, focusing on whether, why, and how they use OEP for teaching.

The study was conducted at one Irish university; semi-structured interviews were carried out with educators across multiple disciplines. Only a minority of educators used OEP. Using constructivist grounded theory, a model of the concept « Using OEP for teaching » was constructed showing four dimensions shared by open educators: balancing privacy and openness, developing digital literacies, valuing social learning, and challenging traditional teaching role expectations.

The use of OEP by educators is complex, personal, and contextual; it is also continually negotiated. These findings suggest that research-informed policies and collaborative and critical approaches to openness are required to support staff, students, and learning in an increasingly complex higher education environment.

URL : http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/3096/4301

OER in practice: Organisational change by bootstrapping

« In this paper, we investigate an approach to institutional change that aims to establish open educational practices (OEP) in a university and inculcate the use of open education resources (OER) as part of its curriculum work and teaching practice. Traditional practices that involve delivering knowledge resources for individualised learning within semester-length units of study are becoming increasingly ill-adapted to the demands of a dynamic and global educational landscape. OER offers a sustainable and equitable alternative to such closed arrangements, with the potential to meet the emerging demands of distributed learning settings. Nevertheless, changing educational practice remains a formidable challenge, and adopting OER is a radical break from legacy institutional practices. Our focus in this paper is on the starting point for embedding OER in curriculum work and teaching practice. We investigate change through emergent initiatives rather than a top-down program at La Trobe University in Australia: we ask what connections are necessary to establish open practices in a university. We trace three instances of OEP in one university that together build capacity in OER. We draw on Bardini’s strategy of bootstrapping, as an iterative and co-adaptive learning process that connects good practices in situ with institutional structures in order to build the groundwork for emergent change. These cases demonstrate how disparate innovations can be connected and re-purposed to establish a network of nascent OEP. »

URL : OER in practice: Organisational change by bootstrapping

Alternative URL : http://journals.uoc.edu/index.php/rusc/article/view/v11n3-hannon-huggard-orchard-stone