The ROER4D project in the Global South aims to provide empirical evidence of OER adoption and impact to improve educational policy, practice, and research in developing countries. Its specific objectives are to:
(1) build an empirical knowledge base on the adoption and impact of OER in education;
(2) develop the research capacity of OER researchers;
(3) build a network of OER scholars; and
(4) communicate research to inform education policy and practice. To help meet these objectives, an implicit intent has been framed as an additional objective, namely to
(5) develop a strategic approach towards the curation, publication, and dissemination of research documents and data collected in the project.
As a number of philanthropic foundations and a few governments have already committed substantial funding to OER initiatives, it is necessary to search for evidence of how OER creation and use are influencing educational practices and policy in the Global South. This will help to ensure that education policy development initiatives and further expenditure by philanthropic foundations and governments are indeed achieving the outcomes of resourcing easily accessible, socially acceptable, high quality and affordable education in the Global South.
The primary research question of the project asks:
Whether, how, for whom and under what circumstances can engagement with open educational practices and resources provide equitable access to relevant, high quality, affordable and sustainable education in the Global South?
Archer’s (2003) social realist theory will be used to explore the causal mechanisms underlying the various OER practices so that future OER interventions can take cognisance of why certain practices are taking place or not and why certain factors are either inhibiting or facilitating optimal uptake of OER. In particular the study will endeavour to understand the interplay between culture, structure and agency and how this influences OER adoption in the Global South.
Archer, M.S. (2003). Structure, Agency and the Internal Conversation. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.