OER adoption by higher education instructors and students in the Global South

By José Dutra de Oliveira Neto and Tess Cartmill – 6 November 2017

The use of OER “as is” (verbatim) is more prevalent in the Global South than OER creation or adaptation. This is revealed in data from a baseline survey undertaken of OER adoption by higher education instructors and students in nine countries in the Global South, as part of the Research on Open Educational Resources for Development (ROER4D) project, in which randomised surveys were administered in nine countries with 295 lecturers and 4784 students from 28 higher education institutes (HEIs) in South America, Sub-Saharan Africa, and South & Southeast Asia (see Appendix A, below, for the sample of countries and institutions from the Global South used in this study).

This blog explores the level of OER adoption – use, creation and adaptation – that higher education instructors and students in the Global South claim to have engaged in. It describes the data and technical processes undertaken in the data analysis to estimate the frequency of these open educational practices.

OER use by instructors

The use of OER (“as is”) by higher education instructors reported in our data (de Oliveira Neto, Pete, Daryono & Cartmill, 2017) indicates that 51% of them have used OER at least once, with the levels of use slightly differentiated by region: 56% in South and Southeast Asia, 50% in South America, and 46% in Sub-Saharan Africa (Figure 1). These responses were determined by a direct question that asked if instructors had ever used OER.

figure 1

Figure 1: Use of OER by instructors (List of numbers and percentages in Appendix B).

OER use by students

The same question was also posed to students revealing that 39% have used OER at least once, with the regions differing quite substantially: 51% in South and Southeast Asia, 37% in South America, and 29% in Sub-Saharan Africa, with Indian students claiming the highest percentage of OER (85%) (Figure 2).

figure 2

Figure 2: Use of OER by students (Appendix C)

Creation of OER by instructors

In the pilot studies of the survey instrument it became apparent that the concept of OER was not well understood by the research participants, so we used responses to a question about open licensing as a proxy for OER creation. This decision was based on the assumption that if educators had indicated they had applied an open license to any of their materials, they understood the concept of OER and had created OER. This yielded the results shown in Figure 3 where educators indicated that 23% had created OER at least once, with South and Southeast Asia the highest at 38%, then South America at 14% and Sub-Saharan Africa at 11%. Indonesian instructors created the most OER (56%) and Ghanaian instructors the least (5%).

figure 3

Figure 3: Creation of OER by instructors (Appendix D)

Creation of OER by students

Using the same method as for instructors, the data show that overall only 9% of students have created OER at least once, with 14% in South and Southeast Asia, and 5% in the other two regions (Figure 4).

figure 4

Figure 4: Creation of OER by students (Appendix E)

Adaptation of OER by instructors

To estimate the extent of OER adaptation (revising, remixing, translating OER), we compared the open licensing question with the general question about what activities (including “modifying”) instructors undertook in relation to a number types of “Educational Resources” (ER) (not OER specifically as this concept was not well enough understood to ask directly).

This approximation suggests  that 18% of educators had adapted ER and attributed an open licence (30% in South & Southeast Asia, 12% in South America and 9% in Sub-Saharan Africa). As with creation of OER, the Indonesian educators seemed to be the most prolific adaptors of ER and users of open licences at 41% (Figure 5). An outlier in these findings is that no instructors in Brazil reported adapting ER, but this could be due to the relative small sample size in that particular country.

figure 5

Figure 5: Adaptation of OER by instructors – approximation of adaptation of educational resources and open licensing (Appendix F)

Adaptation of OER by students

Using the same approximation as for instructors, the data suggest that very few students had adapted ER and attributed an open licence (6%), with South & Southeast Asia at 11%, South America at 4% and Sub-Saharan Africa at 3%, and Indonesia the highest at 16% (Figure 6).

figure 6

Figure 6: Adaptation of OER by students – approximation of adaptation of educational resources and open licensing (Appendix G)

Concluding thoughts

It is not a surprise that educators would be using, creating and adapting OER more often than their students, but the comparatively low rates of OER creation and adaptation (versus OER use “as is”) by both groups suggest that the Global South is more of a consumer of OER than a producer of it. This is understandable in the short-term as educators and students get to know this relatively new pedagogical innovation, but over the long-term, it is through adapting and creating OER – through developing, altering, re-combining and sharing these open materials – that citizens of the Global South begin to experience the full value proposition of OER and start to reap the benefits from these higher order social inclusion activities than simply using OER “as is.”

The ROER4D project will be releasing an edited volume in December 2017 with the data and analyses from all of its various sub-projects, reflecting on these issues in much greater detail. Follow the ROER4D Blog or the Twitter account for further news on the edited volume.

 

Appendix A

Regions/ Countries and Higher Education Institutions that took part in the survey.

South America

  • Brazil: Claretiano – Centro Universitário, Batatais, Universidade de São Paulo
  • Chile: Universidad de Chile, Universidad Santo Tomás, Universidad de Tarapacá
  • Colombia: Universidad Nacional de Colombia

Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Kenya: Great Lakes University, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Maseno University, Tangaza University College
  • Ghana: Catholic Institute of Business and Technology, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, University of Cape Coast, University of Ghana
  • South Africa: University of Cape Town, University of Fort Hare, University of Pretoria, University of South Africa

South and Southeast Asia

  • India: Gauhati University, University of Delhi
  • Indonesia: Universitas Mercu Buana, Universitas Nasional, Universitas Pancasila, Universitas Terbuka
  • Malaysia: Disted College, Kolej Damansara Utama, University of Malaya, Wawasan Open University

 

Appendix B

Use of OER by instructors (numbers):

Region / Country Yes, have used OER Not sure if used OER Never used OER Grand Total
South America 29 21 9 59
Brazil 12 4 1 17
Chile 15 12 6 33
Colombia 2 5 2 9
Sub Saharan Africa 53 36 26 115
Ghana 20 12 6 38
Kenya 21 13 9 43
South Africa 12 11 11 34
S&SE Asia 68 16 37 121
India 16 5 2 23
Indonesia 31 3 10 44
Malaysia 21 8 25 54
Grand Total 150 73 72 295

 

Use of OER by instructors (percentages):

Region / Country Yes, have used OER Not sure if used OER Never used OER Grand Total
South America 49,15% 35,59% 15,25% 100,00%
Brazil 70,59% 23,53% 5,88% 100,00%
Chile 45,45% 36,36% 18,18% 100,00%
Colombia 22,22% 55,56% 22,22% 100,00%
Sub Saharan Africa 46,09% 31,30% 22,61% 100,00%
Ghana 52,63% 31,58% 15,79% 100,00%
Kenya 48,84% 30,23% 20,93% 100,00%
South Africa 35,29% 32,35% 32,35% 100,00%
S&SE Asia 56,20% 13,22% 30,58% 100,00%
India 69,57% 21,74% 8,70% 100,00%
Indonesia 70,45% 6,82% 22,73% 100,00%
Malaysia 38,89% 14,81% 46,30% 100,00%
Grand Total 50,85% 24,75% 24,41% 100,00%

 

Appendix C

Use of OER by students (numbers):

Region / Country Yes, have used OER Not sure if used OER Never used OER Grand Total
South America 280 270 199 749
Brazil 109 94 83 286
Chile 102 99 92 293
Colombia 69 77 24 170
Sub Saharan Africa 652 928 657 2237
Ghana 180 368 269 817
Kenya 316 304 178 798
South Africa 156 256 210 622
S&SE Asia 923 477 398 1798
India 373 24 40 437
Indonesia 216 274 155 645
Malaysia 334 179 203 716
Grand Total 1855 1675 1254 4784

 

Use of OER by students (percentages):

Region / Country Yes, have used OER Not sure if used OER Never used OER Grand Total
South America 37,38% 36,05% 26,57% 100,00%
Brazil 38,11% 32,87% 29,02% 100,00%
Chile 34,81% 33,79% 31,40% 100,00%
Colombia 40,59% 45,29% 14,12% 100,00%
Sub Saharan Africa 29,15% 41,48% 29,37% 100,00%
Ghana 22,03% 45,04% 32,93% 100,00%
Kenya 39,60% 38,10% 22,31% 100,00%
South Africa 25,08% 41,16% 33,76% 100,00%
S&SE Asia 51,33% 26,53% 22,14% 100,00%
India 85,35% 5,49% 9,15% 100,00%
Indonesia 33,49% 42,48% 24,03% 100,00%
Malaysia 46,65% 25,00% 28,35% 100,00%
Grand Total 38,78% 35,01% 26,21% 100,00%

 

Appendix D

Creation of OER by instructors (numbers):

Region / Country Created OER Not created OER Grand Total
South America 8 51 59
Brazil 1 16 17
Chile 5 28 33
Colombia 2 7 9
Sub Saharan Africa 13 102 115
Ghana 2 36 38
Kenya 5 38 43
South Africa 6 28 34
S&SE Asia 46 75 121
India 9 14 23
Indonesia 24 20 44
Malaysia 13 41 54
Grand Total 67 228 295

 

Creation of OER by instructors (percentages):

Region / Country Created OER Not created OER Grand Total
South America 13,56% 86,44% 100,00%
Brazil 5,88% 94,12% 100,00%
Chile 15,15% 84,85% 100,00%
Colombia 22,22% 77,78% 100,00%
Sub Saharan Africa 11,30% 88,70% 100,00%
Ghana 5,26% 94,74% 100,00%
Kenya 11,63% 88,37% 100,00%
South Africa 17,65% 82,35% 100,00%
S&SE Asia 38,02% 61,98% 100,00%
India 39,13% 60,87% 100,00%
Indonesia 54,55% 45,45% 100,00%
Malaysia 24,07% 75,93% 100,00%
Grand Total 22,71% 77,29% 100,00%

 

Appendix E

Creation of OER by students (numbers):

Region / Country Created OER Not created OER Grand Total
South America 41 708 749
Brazil 18 268 286
Chile 11 282 293
Colombia 12 158 170
Sub Saharan Africa 120 2117 2237
Ghana 30 787 817
Kenya 47 751 798
South Africa 43 579 622
S&SE Asia 252 1546 1798
India 36 401 437
Indonesia 109 536 645
Malaysia 107 609 716
Grand Total 413 4371 4784

 

Creation of OER by students (percentages):

Region / Country Created OER Not created OER Grand Total
South America 5,47% 94,53% 100,00%
Brazil 6,29% 93,71% 100,00%
Chile 3,75% 96,25% 100,00%
Colombia 7,06% 92,94% 100,00%
Sub Saharan Africa 5,36% 94,64% 100,00%
Ghana 3,67% 96,33% 100,00%
Kenya 5,89% 94,11% 100,00%
South Africa 6,91% 93,09% 100,00%
S&SE Asia 14,02% 85,98% 100,00%
India 8,24% 91,76% 100,00%
Indonesia 16,90% 83,10% 100,00%
Malaysia 14,94% 85,06% 100,00%
Grand Total 8,63% 91,37% 100,00%

 

Appendix F

Adaptation of OER by instructors (numbers):

Region / Country Modified OER Not Modified OER Grand Total
South America 7 52 59
Brazil 17 17
Chile 5 28 33
Colombia 2 7 9
Sub Saharan Africa 10 105 115
Ghana 2 36 38
Kenya 3 40 43
South Africa 5 29 34
S&SE Asia 36 85 121
India 7 16 23
Indonesia 18 26 44
Malaysia 11 43 54
Grand Total 53 242 295

 

Adaptation of OER by instructors (percentages):

Region / Country Modified OER Not Modified OER Grand Total
South America 11,86% 88,14% 100,00%
Brazil 0,00% 100,00% 100,00%
Chile 15,15% 84,85% 100,00%
Colombia 22,22% 77,78% 100,00%
Sub Saharan Africa 8,70% 91,30% 100,00%
Ghana 5,26% 94,74% 100,00%
Kenya 6,98% 93,02% 100,00%
South Africa 14,71% 85,29% 100,00%
S&SE Asia 29,75% 70,25% 100,00%
India 30,43% 69,57% 100,00%
Indonesia 40,91% 59,09% 100,00%
Malaysia 20,37% 79,63% 100,00%
Grand Total 17,97% 82,03% 100,00%

 

Appendix G

Adaptation of OER by students (numbers):

Region / Country Modified OER Not modified OER Grand Total
South America 32 717 749
Brazil 12 274 286
Chile 8 285 293
Colombia 12 158 170
Sub Saharan Africa 57 2180 2237
Ghana 11 806 817
Kenya 17 781 798
South Africa 29 593 622
S&SE Asia 189 1609 1798
India 27 410 437
Indonesia 100 545 645
Malaysia 62 654 716
Grand Total 278 4506 4784

Adaptation of OER by students (percentages):

Region / Country Modified OER Not modified OER Grand Total
South America 4,27% 95,73% 100,00%
Brazil 4,20% 95,80% 100,00%
Chile 2,73% 97,27% 100,00%
Colombia 7,06% 92,94% 100,00%
Sub Saharan Africa 2,55% 97,45% 100,00%
Ghana 1,35% 98,65% 100,00%
Kenya 2,13% 97,87% 100,00%
South Africa 4,66% 95,34% 100,00%
S&SE Asia 10,51% 89,49% 100,00%
India 6,18% 93,82% 100,00%
Indonesia 15,50% 84,50% 100,00%
Malaysia 8,66% 91,34% 100,00%
Grand Total 5,81% 94,19% 100,00%

 

References

de Oliveira Neto, J. D., Pete, J., Daryono & Cartmill, T. (2017). OER use in the Global South: A baseline survey of higher education instructors. In C. Hodgkinson-Williams & P. B. Arinto (Eds.), Adoption and impact of OER in the Global South. Chapter 3 advance publication. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.154559

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