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Wednesday, November 19 • 2:30pm - 3:00pm
Research on OER for Development (ROER4D) in the Global South Project

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Enabled by the ubiquity of the Internet, alternative intellectual property mechanisms such as Creative Commons, the evolving practice of adding metadata to resources and the growing "open" movement, the emergence of open educational resources (OER) has been hailed as a potentially fruitful response to some of the key challenges faced by education in the Global South.

While some research is emerging on the use and impact of OER in addressing these pressing educational challenges, most of this research is being undertaken in the Global North (Allen & Seaman 2012; Carson, Kanchanaraksa, Gooding, Mulder & Schuwer 2012).

Research on the efficacy of OER in the Global South is embryonic and primarily focused on specific projects, for example the Teacher Education in Sub-Saharan Africa (TESSA) project (Wolfenden, Buckler & Keraro 2012), the Health OER Inter-Institutional Project (Harley 2011) and the OER project at the University of Cape Town (Hodgkinson-Williams, Paskevicius, Cox, Shaikh, Czerniewicz & Lee-Pan 2013). A recently published study on OER in Asia has yielded research on the extent and practice of OER use in higher education in Indonesia (Daryono & Belawati 2013), Malaysia (Abeywardena, Dhanarajan & Lim 2013), Pakistan (Malik 2013), the Philippines (Arinto & Cantada 2013) amongst others. With respect to Latin America, Torres notes that OER is still in its early stages, but that the OportUnidad project plans to provide a "comprehensive set of guidelines on pedagogical approaches, technological solutions, organizational frameworks and procedures, institutional business models and cooperative models that are relevant to the development of OER initiatives" (2013:86).

Recent critiques of OER (Knox 2013a, 2013b) suggest that more robust OER research is required to move beyond celebratory rhetoric and establish "if the provision of open educational resources (OER) can realistically overcome the educational gap and foster educational justice" (Richter & McPherson 2012: 201). A stronger evidence base on OER would allow governments in the Global South to move beyond a rhetoric based on appealing financial and moral claims to evidence-based educational policies which effectively address the challenges faced by post-secondary education.

The Research on OER for Development (ROER4D) in the Global South Project was launched on the 27 August 2013 with the ambitious aims to (1) build an empirical knowledge base on the use and impact of OER in education; (2) develop the capacity of OER researchers; (3); build a network of OER scholars; and (4) curate and communicate research to inform education policy and practice.

This paper will address the specific strategies that the ROER4D project has undertaken so far to enhance the research capacity of 34 researchers in the ROER4D network which spans 11 countries at the moment, speaking at least 11 languages and located across 16 time zones. Specific attention will be paid to the face-to-face and virtual strategies to enhance research capacity, ways to operationalize the commitment to open research throughout the entire cycle of the research process, the creation of open data and visualization strategies, communication and evaluation strategies.

avatar for Cheryl Hodgkinson-Williams

Cheryl Hodgkinson-Williams

Associate Professor, University of Cape Town
Cheryl Hodgkinson-Williams is an Associate Professor in the Centre for Innovation in Teaching & Learning at the University of Cape Town in South Africa.  She teaches Online Learning Design and Advanced Research Design courses to postgraduate students and also supervises Masters and... Read More →

Wednesday November 19, 2014 2:30pm - 3:00pm EST

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