OER in and as MOOCs



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African Minds, International Development Research Centre & Research on Open Educational Resources for Development


University of Cape Town


Adoption and Impact of OER in the Global South

This chapter reports on the investigation into the production and rollout of four Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) at the University of Cape Town (UCT) in South Africa, and on the experiences of the educators involved in their production. The overarching aim of this study is to address the question: How does MOOC-making with Open Educational Resources (OER) influence educators’ Open Educational Practices (OEP)? The authors were interested to know why UCT educators wanted to make MOOCs, whether they adopted OER, whether their practices become more open after making a MOOC, and in which ways. Drawing on Beetham et al. (2012) and Hodgkinson-Williams (2014), an analytic framework of OEP was developed comprising three dimensions: legal, pedagogical and financial. The research methodology is qualitative, using semi-structured interviews and data from MOOC discussion forums. Six MOOC lead educators were interviewed at three intervals: before their MOOCs ran, immediately after their MOOC’s first run, and six to 10 months later. Transcripts were coded using OEP concepts. The findings offer insights into the relationships between educators’ motivations for making MOOCs, their MOOC design tools, the OEP that can be identified and the contradictions they experienced in making MOOCs. Despite the challenges that educators faced, they largely achieved their purposes of making MOOCs and manifested legal, pedagogical and financial dimensions of OEP. The impact on educators’ open practices was observed in several subsequent projects after the MOOCs were first run. Tensions involved in making MOOCs, adopting OER and enacting OEP point to how educators could be better supported to become more open in their educational practices. No negative experiences were attributed to the creation of OER and, indeed, MOOC-making with OER appeared to be conducive to OER adoption in general. However, more time would be needed to conclude whether these educators could become OER advocates or could function autonomously in creating and sharing OER.