SP4: Academics’ views on sharing OER in South Africa

Factors shaping lecturers’ adoption of OER at three South African universities

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The research presented here focuses on understanding the obstacles, opportunities and practices associated with Open Educational Resources (OER) adoption at three South African universities. It addresses the question: Why do South African lecturers adopt – or not adopt – OER? In trying to answer this, the authors also attempt to identify which factors shape lecturers’ OER adoption decisions, and how lecturers’ institutional cultures influence their OER use and creation choices.This study employed a qualitative research approach through in-depth personal interviews with 18 respondents at three different universities which together broadly represent the characteristics of South Africa’s university sector. Unique analytical tools – the OER adoption pyramid and OER adoption readiness tables – were developed to help with analysing and synthesising the data.

Findings indicate that whether and how OER adoption takes place at an institution is shaped by a layered sequence of factors – infrastructural access, legal permission, conceptual awareness, technical capacity, material availability, and individual or institutional volition – which are further influenced by prevailing cultural and social variables.

This study has value and application for researchers and institutions pursuing an OER agenda, policy-makers seeking tools to assess OER readiness in institutional contexts, and funding agencies aiming to boost institutional OER engagement.

The dataset arising from this study can be accessed at:

Cox, G. & Trotter, H. (2017). Factors shaping lecturers’ adoption of OER at three South African universities. In C. Hodgkinson-Williams & P. B. Arinto (Eds.), Adoption and impact of OER in the Global South (pp. 287–347). Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.601935

Other project outputs

Research on Open Educational Resources for Development. Research into the Social and Cultural Acceptability of Open Educational Resources in South Africa 2015. (ROER4D Sub-project 4) [dataset]. Version 1.1. Cape Town: ROER4D [producer], 2015. Cape Town: DataFirst [distributor], 2015. Available at: https://www.datafirst.uct.ac.za/dataportal/index.php/catalog/555/related_materials.

Journal articles
Cox, G. & Trotter, H. (2017). An OER framework, heuristic and lens: Tools for understanding lecturer’ adoption of OER. Open Praxis, 9(2), 151-171. Retrieved from https://openpraxis.org/index.php/OpenPraxis/article/view/571

Cox, G. & Trotter, H. (2016) Institutional Culture and OER Policy: How Structure, Culture, and Agency Mediate OER Policy Potential in South African Universities. International Review of Research on Open and Distributed Learning (IRRODL), 17(5). Retrieved from: http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/2523

Cox, G. (2016). The OER quality debate: Explaining academics’ attitudes about quality. Presentation at Open Education Global 2016, 12-14 April 2016. Krakow, Poland. Retrieved from http://www.slideshare.net/oeconsortium/the-oer-quality-debate-explaining-academics-attitudes-about-quality-62107741

Cox, G. & Trotter, H. (2015). Ready of Not? OER workshops at 3 South African universities. Presentation at the OEC Global Conference 2015, April 2015. Banff, Canada.

Cox, G. and Trotter, H. (2016). UCT, Fort Hare or UNISA: Which university is OER ready? Presentation at the University of Cape Town Teaching and Learning Conference 2015, 30 March 2016. Cape Town, South Africa. Retrieved from http://www.slideshare.net/ROER4D/uct-fort-hare-or-unisa-which-university-is-oer-ready

Trotter, H. (2015). Harmonising Research between South and North: Results from ROER4D’s Question Harmonisation Experiment (ROER4D). Presentation at Open Education Global 2016. 22-24 April 2015: Banff, Canada. Retrieved from http://www.slideshare.net/oeconsortium/harmonising-research-between-south-and-north-results-from-roer4ds-question-harmonisation-experiment-roer4d

Poster Presentations
Trotter, H. & Cox, G. (2016) The OER Adoption Pyramid. Presentation at Open Education Global 2016. 12-14 April 2016: Krakow, Poland. Retrieved from http://open.uct.ac.za/handle/11427/18936

Workshop Presentations
Cox, G. (2015). Copyright & Creative Commons: With Regards to Open Educational Resources. Presentation at the University of South Africa, 18 March 2015.

Cox, G. (2015). Openness in Higher Education: Open Educational Resources. Presentation at the University of South Africa, 17 March 2015. Retrieved from http://www.slideshare.net/ROER4D/openness-in-higher-education

Trotter, H. (2015). How and where to find Open Educational Resources. Presentation at the University of South Africa, 18 March 2015. Retrieved from http://www.slideshare.net/ROER4D/how-and-where-to-find-open-educational-resoures-oer

Cox, G. & Trotter, H. (2017). Understanding lecturer’s adoption of OER: a multi-factorial approach. Presented at Open Education Global Conference, 8-10 March 2017, Cape Town. Retrieved from https://www.slideshare.net/oeconsortium/understanding-lecturers-adoption-of-oer-a-multifactorial-approach-72978845

Cox, G. & Trotter, H. (2017). The OER Adoption pyramid [Video]. Retrieved from https://open-educational-resources.de/oer-adoption-pyramid-video/

Cox, G. (2017). Factors shaping lecturers’ adoption of OER in three South African universities (video). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x4bmIOVpeDU&list=PLqSYUJvxD-UDZPS5NwTJixYZqHTgYu7i2&index=14