Specific Objectives and Research Questions
- To evaluate the impact of OER on teaching and learning
- To investigate the linkage between impact of OER and institutional educational policy on OER creation and dissemination
Research questions: The main research question of this study is to evaluate the impact of OER in Pakistan by investigating its impact on 1) teaching; 2) student learning; and 3) institutional educational policy. As a part of determining this, we will be looking at the extent of adoption, enabling and inhibiting factors, use and benefits/costs of OER on students and teachers at secondary and tertiary levels.
Open Educational Resources are increasingly being used by students and teachers leading to the spread of the idea as well as an increase in the number of available resources. There is a great deal of interest in how Open Educational Resources can be used in developing countries to increase access, improve quality and reduce the cost of educational provisions. OER includes both open content and open source software and tools. This research will focus on open content rather than open software and tools.
There is not an “authoritatively accredited definition” of OER, there are accepted interpretations of OER. UNESCO defines OER as educational resources “enabled by the information and communication technologies, for consultation, use and adoption by a community of users for non-commercial purposes’. Downes defines OER in terms of different learning material that can be included in OER and says that an entire course, a complete book or a “a more granular piece such as a single learning object” can be a part of it. Bissell described OERs as ‘digitized materials offered freely and openly for educators, students, and self-learners to use and reuse for teaching, learning and research.
For this project OER is defined as: “OER are teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others” – Dutra has updated it to reflect the diverse levels of openness that various OER actually have: “OER are teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits activities enabled by different degrees of openness.” Examples of OER include full courses, course materials, modules, open textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, Massive Open Online courses (MOOCs) and any other tools, materials, or techniques use to support access to knowledge.
A large number of institutions and individuals all over the world are contributing to Open Educational Resources. The results of a web based survey conducted by Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (2007) indicated that the majority of OER producers are in western countries. The institutions producing OER have national and international reputation and they use their own staff for the production of OER. The most famous program is MIT Open Course Ware that provides open access to different materials that are used to teach over 2200 courses, another initiative is of NPC that has 260 courses.
The increase in the users of OER is due to the numerous benefits of OER specifically,” enhanced quality and flexibility of resources; seeing/applying knowledge in a wider context than their course would otherwise allow, and enhanced opportunities for learning; support for learner-centered, self-directed, peer-to-peer and social/informal learning approaches.
Pakistan is facing serious challenges, stemming from education gaps that affect the quality of life, economic growth, and equal opportunities to its citizens. By the end of 2015, Pakistan aims to achieve an 88% overall literacy rate. According to Pakistan Social and Living Standards Measurement (PSLM) Survey 2012-13, Completion/Survival rate in Grades 1 to 5 is 50% and Literacy Rate for 10 years and above is 60%.
The Government of Pakistan has included integration of ICT in its educational policy and aims to use ICT to “assist teachers and students” to “strengthen the quality of teaching”.[xvi] The National ICT Strategy 2007 emphasizes the use of ICTs in Pakistani education system and states that “ICTs must be used to extend the reach of educational opportunity to every citizen”. The statistics about ICT and internet usage in Pakistan are much better than it was a decade ago. In “The world economic forum’s Global Information Technology Report 2013” Pakistan was ranked 105 out of 144 countries. This shows that Pakistan did not considerably translate ICT investment into tangible benefits in terms of employment, development and competitiveness. Furthermore, it was reported that there are 10% internet users in Pakistan. Therefore, programs are now required to build capacity of the teachers and students for the effective utilization of these ICT resources to improve the teaching and learning process.
Virtual University of Pakistan (VUP) has also uploaded nearly 6000 hours of course material made available through open licensing, comprising over 160 university level courses, on the Internet. Initiatives have been started by the provincial and federal government of Pakistan like IT Labs project through which 4200 public schools in Punjab were equipped with IT labs and laptop schemes through which around 200,000 laptops have been distributed and another 200,000 laptops will be distributed in the coming years.
Different projects have been started in Pakistan to promote and to contextualize OER pertaining to the curriculum. Punjab is the first province to provide open access to science and math textbooks of grades 9 and 10 to students. The textbooks are augmented with videos, animations and simulations to help the students to interact with the text. Translation of Khan Academy videos is done in Urdu on topics pertaining to the mathematics curriculum of public school students.
However, research needs to be done on the extent of adoption and the impact of Open Educational Resources on secondary and tertiary students and teachers of Pakistan. The findings of the study would be exploited to inform both government and institutional stakeholder on the current adoption of OER as well as its impact on teaching and learning.
Project Leader: Dr. Naveed Malik
Researcher: Dr. Sarmad Hussain, Dr. Yasira Waqar and Sana Shams
Recipient Institution: Virtual University of Pakistan
Estimated Duration: 18 months
Methodology: Interviews and surveys
Mentor: Patricia Arinto