Educators' challenges and behavioural intention to adopt open educational resources : the case of Africa University, Zimbabwe

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

A review of the literature confirms that Open Educational Resources (OER) initiatives have created free, openly licenced and high quality educational resources for anyone to use. However, these free, openly licensed and high quality educational resources appear to remain largely unused by Africa University academics in the educationally resource-impoverished Zimbabwe. The objectives of this research study are to explore the challenges and enablers experienced by Africa University educators who may potentially adopt OER, and ascertain barriers preventing them from adopting OER in mainstream teaching. The sample consists of 45 full time educators from Africa University. Data was gathered by means of a survey questionnaire administered by the researcher. A modified version of the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT) model developed by Venkatesh et al. (2003) was used. The UTAUT model was created from a fusion of eight diffusion of innovation models, and this gave it conceptual superiority over other candidate models. Key findings indicate that the extent to which educators believe that using OER will help them to enhance their teaching performance (Performance Expectancy),the extent of perceived easiness associated with finding, customising, and using OER (Effort Expectancy) and the extent to which educators perceive how important the opinion of their peer educators if they adopt OER or not (Social Influence)have a statistically significant positive influence on the educators' Behavioural Intention to adopt and use OER. The extent to which an individual is satisfied with the institutional framework, policies and technical infrastructure to support the use of the innovation (Facilitating Conditions) did not yield a statistically significant influence on the Behavioural Intention and this was interpreted to mean Africa University educators are satisfied with the current resources and infrastructure in place. However educators felt Institutional Support in the form of institutional OER supportive policies, official OER project enactment, and OER related incentives needed attention. Also, significant differences were found in the barriers which potential users of OER identified as either limiting to potential use of OER, or negatively affecting their intention to use OER. These barriers include open licensing knowledge; institutional support; follow up training sessions; relevance, reliability and adaptability of OER. Addressing these factors could lead to a more widespread adoption of OER, at Africa University and help address the prevalent educational resource challenge.