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.
The Creative Commons (CC) licenses are a suite of copyright-based licenses defining terms for the distribution and re-use of creative works. CC provides licenses for different use cases and includes open content licenses such as the Attribution license (CC BY, used by many Open Access scientific publishers) and the Attribution Share Alike license (CC BY-SA, used by Wikipedia, for example). However, the license suite also contains non-free and non-open licenses like those containing a “non-commercial” (NC) condition.
Although many people identify “non-commercial” with “non-profit”, detailed analysis reveals that significant differences exist and that the license may impose some unexpected re-use limitations on works thus licensed. After providing background information on the concepts of Creative Commons licenses in general, this contribution focuses on the NC condition, its advantages, disadvantages and appropriate scope. Specifically, it contributes material towards a risk analysis for potential re-users of NC-licensed works.
« Digital technologies now enable books and other digital resources to be openly available to those with access to the Internet. This study examined the financial viability of a religious publisher that put free digital versions of eight of its print books on the Internet. The cost to put these eight books online was $940. Over a 10-week period, these books were downloaded 102,256 times and sales of these books increased 26%. Online sales increased at a much higher rate. Comparisons with historical book sales and sales of comparable titles indicate that that this increase may have been connected to the free books being available. There was a modest correlation between book downloads and print sales. »
Information access needs of satellite campuses in Kenya – Can OER close the gap? The Case of Moi University Nairobi Campus :
« This case study was aimed at obtaining the experiences of faculty and students of Moi University, Nairobi Campus in accessing information resources for teaching, learning and research. The study examined background information regarding knowledge societies and the role of higher education in society. This was done with a view to exploring the potential of Open Educational Resources in enhancing access to teaching, learning and research information resources at the campus. The literature review focused on the concept of Open Educational Resources (OER) and provided a critical examination of access to knowledge and learning materials in higher education. Evidently, little empirical studies have been conducted in Africa concerning OER. The Communities of Practice theory was adopted to inform the study with regard to learning experiences and their realization in communities. Online questionnaires and interviews were the principle data collection instruments. These were administered upon faculty, students and the librarian of Moi University, Nairobi campus. Furthermore, data was also gathered through interviews with OER experts from North America, Europe, and Africa. These experts provided vital information on the potential of OER in enhancing access to teaching, learning and research information resources to institutions such as the case for this study. The findings of the study revealed that the concept of OER was not clearly understood by the respondents and interviewees from the case institution. Respondents confused the concept of OER with other concepts like e-learning. Nevertheless, they signaled appreciation for access to open resources. In addition, it was evident that the faculty and students of this institution had insufficient access to resources. The library was not sufficiently stocked with information materials and facilities to cater for the growing population of the campus. The study recommends the adoption of more open educational practices through the creation of electronic institutional repositories that are open and searchable. Furthermore, the study suggests greater collaboration and sharing of resources and teaching practices among faculty within the campus and beyond. To achieve this, both faculty and students require information literacy skills. Finally, the study recommends that the librarians and information professionals be more proactive in identifying and bringing awareness to clients about available and relevant open resources. »
Faculty and Student Perspectives Toward Open Courseware, and Open Access Publishing: Some Comparisons Between European and North American Populations :
« Instructor and student beliefs, attitudes and intentions toward contributing to local open courseware (OCW) sites have been investigated through campus-wide surveys at Universidad Politecnica de Valencia and the University of Michigan. In addition, at the University of Michigan, faculty have been queried about their participation in open access (OA) publishing. We compare the instructor and student data concerning OCW between the two institutions, and introduce the investigation of open access publishing in relation to open courseware publishing »
This study is a comparison AU Press with three other traditional (non-open access) Canadian university presses. The analysis is based on actual physical book sales on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca. Statistical methods include the sampling of the sales ranking of randomly selected books from each press. Results suggest that there is no significant difference in the ranking of printed books sold by AU Press in comparison with traditional university presses.
However, AU Press, can demonstrate a significantly larger readership for its books as evidenced by thousands of downloads of the open electronic versions.