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Arinto, P. B., Hodgkinson-Williams, C., King, T., Cartmill, T. & Willmers, M. (2017). Research on Open Educational Resources for Development in the Global South: Project landscape. In P. B. Arinto & C. Hodgkinson-Williams (Eds.), Adoption and impact of OER in the Global South. Cape Town & Ottawa: African Minds, International Development Research Centre & Research on Open Educational Resources for Development. DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.1005330

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Arinto, P. B., Hodgkinson-Williams, C., King, T., Cartmill, T. & Willmers, M. (2017). Research on Open Educational Resources for Development in the Global South: Project landscape. In P. B. Arinto & C. Hodgkinson-Williams (Eds.), Adoption and impact of OER in the Global South. Cape Town & Ottawa: African Minds, International Development Research Centre & Research on Open Educational Resources for Development. DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.1005330

Chapter 1
Research on Open
Educational Resources for
Development in the Global
South: Project landscape
Patricia B. Arinto, Cheryl Hodgkinson-Williams, Thomas King,
Tess Cartmill and Michelle Willmers
Adoption and Impact of OER in the Global South
4
Acronyms and abbreviations
DFID Department for International Development
HEI higher education institution
IDRC International Development Research Centre
MOOCs Massive Open Online Courses
OEP Open Educational Practices
OER Open Educational Resources
OSF Open Society Foundations
PANdora PAN Asia Networking Distance and Open Resources Access
ROER4D Research on Open Educational Resources for Development
TESSA Teacher Education in Sub Saharan Africa
UNESCO United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
UCT University of Cape Town
WOU Wawasan Open University
Introduction
The Research on Open Educational Resources for Development (ROER4D) project was
proposed to investigate in what ways and under what circumstances the adoption of Open
Educational Resources (OER) could address the increasing demand for accessible, relevant,
high-quality and affordable education in the Global South. The project was originally
intended to focus on post-secondary education, but the scope was expanded to include
basic education teachers and government funding when it launched in 2013. In 2014, the
research agenda was further expanded to include the potential impact of OER adoption and
associated Open Educational Practices (OEP).
ROER4D was funded by Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC), the
UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) and the Open Society Foundations
(OFS), and built upon prior research undertaken by a previous IDRC-funded initiative, the
PAN Asia Networking Distance and Open Resources Access (PANdora) project.
This chapter presents the overall context in which the ROER4D project was located
and investigated, drawing attention to the key challenges confronting education in the
Global South and citing related studies on how OER can help to address these issues. It
provides an abbreviated history of the project and a snapshot of the geographic location of
the studies it comprises, the constituent research agendas, the methodologies adopted and
the research-participant profile. It also provides an overview of the other 15 chapters in this
volume and explains the peer review process.
Open Educational Resources: Definitions and research
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/
5
Research on Open Educational Resources for Development in the Global South: Project landscape
or re-purposing by others”.1 The term “Open Educational Resources” was coined during
a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) meeting
in 2002 to optimise information sharing about what was then an emerging phenomenon
(D’Antoni, 2008). Related terms used prior to 2002 include “open content”,2 “learning
objects” (Downes, 2007; Hodgins, 2004), “reusable learning objects” (Boyle, 2003),
“reusable learning content” (Duval et al., 2001) and “open courseware” (Malloy, Jensen,
Regan & Reddick, 2002). After 2002, the terms “open eLearning content” (Geser, 2007),
“digital learning resources” (Margaryan & Littlejohn, 2008) and “reusable digital learning
resources” (Leacock & Nesbit, 2007) were also used to refer to OER. In the popular media,
OER are also referred to as “open-source materials” or “open-source textbooks”.3 Equivalent
terms for OER in other languages which need to be taken into account when researching this
phenomenon across countries in the Global South include “recursos educativos abiertos
(REA) (Betancourt, Celaya & Ramírez, 2014) or “recursos educativos digitales abiertos
(REDA) (Sáenz, Hernandez & Hernández, Chapter 54) in Spanish; “recursos educacionais
abertos” (REA) in Portuguese (Amiel, Orey & West, 2011); “sumber pendidikan terbuka
(SPT) in Indonesian (Abeywardena, 2015); and “Боловсролын нээлттэй нөөц
(Bolovsroliin neelttei nuuts)” in Mongolian (Zagdragchaa & Trotter, Chapter 11).
The most often-cited feature of OER is Wiley’s “5Rs”5 framework which defines the five
rights afforded in the exchange of open content, namely: “the right to make, own, and
control copies of the content (Retain); the right to use the content in a wide range of ways
(Reuse); the right to adapt, adjust, modify, or alter the content itself (Revise); the right to
combine the original or revised content with other open content to create something new
(Remix); and the right to share copies of the original content, your revisions, or your remixes
with others (Redistribute)”.6 Alternative descriptions of OER have been put forward by
White and Manton (2011), more detailed reuse steps by Okada, Mikroyannidis, Meister and
Little (2012), and a more practice-inclusive Open Education cycle by Hodgkinson-Williams
(2014). All explanations of OER include a clause stipulating open licensing – that is, use
of a licence that explicitly describes the ways in which a particular resource may be legally
reused, shared, modified and curated. The most commonly used form of open licensing
is Creative Commons,7 although other forms of open licences (such as the GNU General
Public Licence) offer similar functionality.
Since the early 2000s, there has been increasing interest in OER as a means of addressing
key challenges in education and research in this area has grown significantly. Most OER
research has, however, taken place in countries in the Global North. Within this context, the
key educational issues raised by researchers centre around the rising costs of textbooks
(Allen 2013; Hilton III, Robinson, Wiley & Ackerman, 2014; Levi, Hilton III, Robinson, Wiley
& Ackerman, 2014; Wiley, Green & Soares, 2012) and, in some cases, the quality of student
learning (Lovett, Meyer & Thille, 2008) or student outcomes (Feldstein et al., 2013).
1 Adapted from http://www.hewlett.org/programs/education-program/open-educational-resources.
2 https://web.archive.org/web/19990128224600/http://www.opencontent.org/home.shtml
3 http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/open-source-textbooks-gain-push-college-affordability-36864005
4 Chapter cross-references in the in-text citations of Chapters 1, 2 and 16 refer to chapter numbers of the relevant
chapters in this volume.
5 https://opencontent.org/blog/archives/3221
6 https://opencontent.org/blog/archives/3221
7 https://creativecommons.org/
Adoption and Impact of OER in the Global South
6
In the Global South, unequal access to education, and more specifically to higher
education, continues to be a major challenge (UNESCO, 2014). In better-resourced
areas, universities often function in line with international standards, while in poorer
regions educational systems tend to be dysfunctional on multiple levels. There are notable
disparities in the level of access to the physical infrastructure and inputs needed for
education (such as computer labs, classroom space and textbooks) as well as access to
an enabling environment for educational innovation (such as policy and technical support).
Digital interventions, including OER, risk reinforcing these inequalities. Hence the need for
research that will provide a better understanding of the dynamics of OER use and its impact
in the Global South.
Educational challenges facing the Global South
Education in the Global South faces several key interrelated challenges for which OER are
seen to be part of the solution and against which use of OER might be evaluated. These
challenges include: unequal access to education; variable quality of educational resources,
teaching and student performance; and increasing cost and concern about the sustainability
of education.
Unequal access to education
In contrast to the Global North, where student numbers are predicted to stagnate and even
decrease as a result of demographic change (Vincent-Lancrin, 2008), student enrolments in
the Global South have continued to grow, fuelled by population growth (World Bank, 2013).
Many countries are reaching universal primary and secondary enrolment (Bold & Svensson,
2016; Kiamba, 2016), resulting in a massively increased demand for higher education
(ADB, 2011; Teferra, 2013). In Sub-Saharan Africa, tertiary education enrolments increased
by 8.7% every year from 1991 to 2005, which is double the global average (World Bank,
2009). In several countries in Asia, gross enrolment ratios in undergraduate programmes
have increased more than tenfold over the last four decades, and the Asian region as a
whole now accounts for almost half of higher education enrolment worldwide (UNESCO
Institute for Statistics, 2014). Gross enrolment in tertiary education in Brazil has been rising
steadily, but primarily amongst female students. In 2015, 59% of the enrolments were
female.8 A similar pattern of an increasing female student (94%) gross enrolment ratio is
evident in Chile (compared to 83% male students). Likewise, in Colombia, gross enrolment
ratios of female students (60%) surpass those of male students (52%).9
While participation rates have increased dramatically, funding for higher education
has stagnated. University budgets in Asia have not kept up with the growth in enrolments
(UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 2014) and in many countries in Africa funding for higher
education has been falling in real terms (Newman & Duwiejua, 2016). This has adverse
impacts on access to quality resources for education. In Sub-Saharan Africa, textbook
8 http://uis.unesco.org/en/country/br
9 http://uis.unesco.org/en/country/co
7
Research on Open Educational Resources for Development in the Global South: Project landscape
scarcity has been noted as a problem since the 1980s (Fredriksen, Brar & Trucano, 2015).
Even when a country’s economy is sufficiently developed to support a successful local
publishing industry, such as in South Africa, not all students have textbooks (DBE, 2011) or
textbooks are not always delivered on time. In many developing countries, there is a general
lack of pedagogical materials – particularly instructional materials and teachers’ guides
(Kanwar, Kodhandaraman & Umar, 2010; Nazari et al., 2016). This is often coupled with
and compounded by shortages in classroom space and computer labs, unreliable internet
connectivity and irregular power provision (DBE, 2011; Mtebe & Raisamo, 2014).
The lack of educational resources is often exacerbated along spatial, gender and
class lines. Rural communities generally have poorer physical infrastructure and internet
connectivity (Hernandez & Benavides, 2012; Narváez & Calderón, 2016) and fewer schools
and teachers.10 Rural students also often face higher costs in accessing higher education
opportunities due to their need to travel or relocate to urban areas where educational
institutions are concentrated (Bray, Davaa, Spaulding & Weidman, 1994). By contrast,
urban residents have better access to educational institutions and thus tend to have higher
levels of educational attainment across all levels (primary, secondary and tertiary), which
leads to improved socioeconomic outcomes over time (Xhang, Li & Xue, 2015). Teachers in
urban areas also have more opportunities for teacher professional development (Robinson,
2008) and are thus better placed to develop new pedagogical knowledge and skills. They
are also more likely to have access to personal digital devices and computer labs in which
to practise technologically enabled educational innovation.
Gender remains a factor in access to education in the Global South. Despite significant
gains in gender parity in primary and secondary education across the globe (UNESCO,
2016), female access to higher education remains constrained by traditional gender
norms in Africa and Asia in particular. In Asia, while significant improvements in female
participation in higher education over the last decade have led to females outnumbering
and academically outperforming males in about a third of countries, there are proportionally
fewer women in higher levels of education (UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 2014). Also,
females are often still relatively disempowered within the education system due to a number
of factors, such as sociocultural pressures placing women into more “feminine” but less
prestigious and less economically rewarding fields of study (UNESCO, 2007). While primary
and secondary teachers are more likely to be female (UNESCO, 2015), males hold the
majority of academic posts in higher education, particularly in upper management.11 In some
contexts, the increased burden of childcare and housework may inhibit female teachers
from accessing professional development opportunities, particularly if these opportunities
incur time and travel costs.
Finally, in the Global South there is a wide disparity in terms of the educational opportunities
afforded to the rich and the poor. In many countries in Asia, the disparity expands at each
stage of schooling from primary to higher education (UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 2014).
For example, in Vietnam 52% of young adults from the richest households have attended
higher education institutions (HEIs), compared to only 4% of young adults from the poorest
10 https://www.brookings.edu/blog/techtank/2016/08/23/classroom-technologies-narrow-education-gap-in-
developing-countries/
11 https://www.daad.de/veranstaltungen/en/52839-female-leadership-and-higher-education-management-in-
developing-countries/
Adoption and Impact of OER in the Global South
8
households. More generally, in middle- and low-income South and Southeast Asian
countries, less than 7% of young adults from the poorest 20% of households have ever
enrolled in higher education (UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 2014). In general, educational
opportunities tend to favour young people from wealthier households – not only in terms of
access to schooling, but also in terms of the types of schools that they attend and the quality
of education they receive.
Variable quality of education
Aside from questions regarding adequacy of provision for rapidly increasing student numbers,
education systems in the Global South face heightened concern about the quality of instruction,
as increased access to education does not always result in improved learner performance. The
results of international testing show that students in developing countries generally lag behind
their peers in more developed countries, especially in science, mathematics and reading.
Common problems across the Global South include poor skills development; persistent
differences in urban–rural student attendance and performance; considerable inter- and
intraregional variation in performance and outcomes (OREALC, 2008); low retention rates;
and generally poor performance in key competencies (Dundar, Béteille, Riboud & Deolalikar,
2014; UNESCO–IICBA, 2016). For example, in Sub-Saharan Africa, deficiencies in primary
education manifest in low levels of basic skills for large numbers of pupils after several years
of schooling (Bold & Svensson, 2016). In India and Afghanistan, studies have found that
students lack basic reading and comprehension skills (ACER, 2013; Magid, 2013).
One aspect of quality of instruction relates to instructional materials, which in the Global
South are deficient not only in quantity, but also in quality. Teachers in developing countries
often only have access to outdated, proprietary textbooks (Moon & Villet, 2016), and where
textbooks have been updated they may be of low quality (Tani, 2014). Moreover, there
is the problem of relevance and appropriateness of textbooks and instructional materials
imported from the North, which are widely used in many developing countries. As Richter
and McPherson (2012) have noted, uncertainty regarding the contextual appropriateness
in developing countries of resources produced in the Global North is to be expected,
particularly given that there are issues with adopting these resources even in their countries
of origin where institutions have similar pedagogic strategies, curricular frameworks and
cultural and linguistic norms.
As many OER are adapted from existing teaching and learning materials and contain
specific sociocultural examples, users in developing contexts can experience dissatisfaction
with topics, assumptions or illustrative examples designed for more developed or more
resourced contexts. Language is also a key issue. Because the majority of currently available
OER are in English (Krelja Kurelovic, 2016), speakers of less-used languages run the risk of
being “linguistically and culturally marginalised” (Bradley & Vigmo, 2014, p.4). In addition
to linguistic diversity, the presence of strong oral traditions, as is the case in Colombia
(Sáenz et al., Chapter 5), can also hinder teachers’ engagement with OER adaptation, as
those teachers favour knowledge-sharing through personal interaction over formal and
academic writing (Castro, Catebiel & Hernandez, 2005; Hernández, 2015).
The quality of teacher pedagogy is also a major concern in countries in the Global South.
In resource-constrained areas, teachers may lack adequate qualifications and support – a
9
Research on Open Educational Resources for Development in the Global South: Project landscape
situation compounded by poor physical infrastructure and overcrowding. In Asian HEIs,
there are shortages of qualified instructors because staff recruitment has not kept pace with
rapidly increasing enrolments (ADB, 2011). Teacher professional development is also in short
supply in many parts of the Global South, such as India (PROBE, 1998) and Latin America
(UNESCO, 2012b; 2012c). As noted by Burns and Lawrie (2015, p.7): “In many parts of
the globe – particularly in the world’s poorest and most fragile contexts where the need for
quality teaching is greatest – the frequency of professional development is episodic, its quality
variable, its duration limited and support or follow-up for teachers almost non-existent.”
The need to meet increasing student demand places further pressure on educators
and institutions to address the quality of education. Large numbers of enrolments in public
institutions and the proliferation of private HEIs have drawn attention to the need for quality
assurance in education in India (Varghese, 2015), Mongolia (ADB, 2011) and Chile (Fundación
La Fuente/Adimark GFK, 2010), among others. There are considerable disparities in quality
within single countries, resulting in low retention and throughput rates (MINEDC, 2012), which
in turn gives rise to social problems for students and economic problems for institutions.
Expansion occurring in conjunction with curricular reform and pedagogical change can result
in a disordered educational system where practice is not supported by policy or is inhibited by
an environment organised around a more traditional educational model.
Increasing costs and concerns about the sustainability of education
The expansion of the higher education system and increasing privatisation have resulted in
increased higher education-related costs in many countries. Often these costs are borne by
students, whether due to institutions beginning to charge fees where tuition had previously
been free (such as in Mongolia), decreased public spending on higher education as a
percentage of GDP (as in South Africa), or an increase in privatisation and for-profit tuition
(as in Brazil and Chile). Even where tuition is free, students still need to cover the cost of
textbooks and, where online resources are used to replace or supplement textbooks, fees
for use of facilities to access these resources, such as devices and connectivity.
In many developing countries, college textbooks are sourced from the US and other Global
North countries, which makes them expensive. In Brazil and other parts of South America,
the average annual cost of textbooks to students is over 50% of the annual minimum wage
(Frango, Ochoa, Pérez Casas & Rodés, 2013). In the Philippines, where the price of imported
textbooks is prohibitive, there is widespread photocopying of textbooks by college students.12
In public primary and secondary schools where textbooks are usually provided free of charge,
the increasingly large numbers of students mean that the cost to government of providing
textbooks sourced from proprietary publishers is substantial. In addition, there are costs
incurred by problems associated with procurement and delivery, as has been reported in
Afghanistan (Oates, Goger, Hashimi & Farahmand, Chapter 15), the Philippines13 (Lontoc,
2007) and South Africa (SAHRC, 2014). In the Philippines, “[s]ustainability is also an issue
as books may be lost, at times on a large scale, due to natural calamities” (Arinto & Cantada,
2013, p.144) and due to the destruction of schools in areas where there is armed conflict.
12 http://charles-tan.blogspot.co.za/2011/01/essay-ebook-piracy-and-copyright-in.html
13 http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/news/specialreports/98684/deped-adopts-textbook-walk/story/
Adoption and Impact of OER in the Global South
10
OER as a response to educational challenges in the
GlobalSouth
The adoption of OER as a response to educational challenges in the Global South has
garnered support from intergovernmental agencies such as UNESCO and the Commonwealth
of Learning, and attracted substantial funding from philanthropic organisations such as
the Hewlett Foundation. Bliss and Smith (2017) estimate that the Hewlett Foundation
has donated over USD 170 million to the Open Education movement over the past 15
years. UNESCO hosted the 1st World OER Congress in 2012, which issued the Paris OER
Declaration (UNESCO, 2012a), and the 2nd World OER Congress in 2017, which produced
the Ljubljana OER Action Plan (UNESCO, 2017). These calls to action build upon earlier
initiatives such as the 2007 Cape Town Open Education Declaration.14 This community-
and funder-driven activity has recently been matched by initiatives in the private sector,
as traditional publishers such as Cengage have announced that they are creating a new
product line based on OER.15 There has, therefore, been concrete, global support for OER as
a potential response to pressing educational challenges. The three main value propositions
that are raised in favour of OER adoption are that they can widen access to education,
improve the quality of education and reduce the cost of education (Daniel, Kanwar & Uvalic´-
Trumbic´, 2009).
Researchers have, however, cautioned that access to OER without the support structures
and cultural practices that promote its use, is insufficient. Ehlers (2011) points out how the
initial focus of the OER community on creating content and improving access to it through
infrastructure, repositories and software tools has not resulted in the predicted increase in
use, due largely to the lack of attention to practices supporting OER uptake, use and reuse.
Similarly, Knox (2013, p.22) questions whether free access to information is sufficient to
“realise the goals of universal education and economic prosperity often promised by the
open education movement”.
With regard to the potential of OER to improve the quality of education, at least three
broad subsidiary categories can be distinguished, namely: how OER can improve the
quality of learning materials; how OER can improve the quality of teaching practice; and
how OER can influence student outcomes. In their seminal OER report, Atkins, Brown and
Hammond (2007) posited that OER can foster high-quality content development. Kanwar et
al. (2010) also highlight the potential of OER to improve the quality of education, particularly
in developing countries where there is a dearth of quality materials. What constitutes OER
quality has been the subject of a number of studies (Yuan & Becker, 2015) and reports
(Camilleri, Ehlers & Pawlowski, 2014; Kawachi, 2014), and it continues to be a closely
scrutinised topic, as evidenced by the current UNESCO project to determine a set of
indicators to measure OER adoption and impact (Miao et al., 2017). The debates around
OER as a “quality” product have included discussions around the value of a range of reuse
activities, perhaps most comprehensively described by Okada et al. (2012), which include
repurposing, contextualisation and translation, amongst others. The value of peer review
14 http://www.capetowndeclaration.org/
15 https://www.cengage.com/oer
11
Research on Open Educational Resources for Development in the Global South: Project landscape
and/or public scrutiny of OER (Weller, 2012) as well as trust in the organisations that produce
OER (Clements & Pawlowski, 2012) are also aspects in the determination of OER quality.
Research on the role of OER in improving pedagogical practice (Casserly & Smith, 2009)
points to collaborative development of materials and the shift in focus “from materials
production to mentorship and facilitation” (Ossiannilsson & Creelman, 2012, p.3.) as
enabling factors. There has been some research on how exposure to OER resources and
tools can support collaboration among teachers and encourage new conversations about
teaching practices (Petrides, Jimes, Middleton-Detzner & Howell, 2010). More recently,
the role of OER adoption in improving the quality of teacher professional development has
also been investigated (Wolfenden, Buckler & Keraro, 2012). In comparing two Global
South teacher education programmes (Teacher Education in Sub Saharan Africa [TESSA]
and Teacher Education through School-based Support in India [TESS-India]), Buckler,
Perryman, Seal and Musafir (2014, p.221) highlight how these projects have prompted
localisation of OER, “contribut[ing] to more equal knowledge partnerships in the pursuit of
education quality”. Studies in Zambia and South Africa have shown that use of OER within
a school-based teacher professional development programme encouraged teachers to try
out new pedagogical strategies, raised their expectations of their pupils, and helped them
to adapt to their learners’ level of understanding and adopt more learner-centred strategies
(Hennessy, Haßler & Hofman, 2016).
The potential and/or actual influence of the use of OER on student outcomes has
stimulated some research in this area (Feldstein et al., 2013; Fischer, Hilton III, Robinson
& Wiley, 2015), despite the fact that it is very difficult to isolate OER as a single variable in
educational settings, which are inherently complex and context-specific. In their study of
the OER4Schools professional development programme, Hennessy et al. (2016, p.399)
conclude that primary school students “built deeper understanding of subject matter, were
actively engaged, worked collaboratively and used digital technologies for problem-solving”.
What needs to be taken into account in this finding is that this was a year-long programme
with weekly teacher workshops; it is not clear whether this activity would be sustained when
teachers are operating outside of the initiative. Students’ perceptions of OER suggest that
they like using open textbooks compared to traditional textbooks (Lindshield & Koushik,
2013), but it is not easy to ascertain whether this is a result of the format and design of the
materials, rather than of the “openness” of the materials per se.
Finally, with regard to the proposition that OER can help to reduce cost and foster the
sustainability of education, a great deal of attention has been paid to investigating cost
savings arising from the use of OER, especially in the form of open textbooks (Allen, 2013;
Wiley, Hilton III, Ellington & Hall, 2012). Other initiatives have explored the co-authoring
(Okada et al., 2012) or collaborative development of OER in schools (Marcus-Quinn,
Diggins, Griffin & Hinchion, 2012) and in higher education (Lane, 2012) as a way of lowering
course development costs. Some researchers have pointed out that while there are obvious
cost savings that accrue from use of learning resources that are “free”, there are aspects
of OER-based course development that could entail significant costs, such as the time
spent on locating, evaluating and adapting OER, and the technical infrastructure required
for production and dissemination of OER-based courses (Annand, 2015). The need for
sustainable funding for institutional OER initiatives has also been pointed out (Annand,
2015; Annand & Jensen, 2017; de Langen, 2013; Mulder, 2013).
Adoption and Impact of OER in the Global South
12
The ROER4D project
The ROER4D project sought to build on and contribute to the body of research on how
OER can help to improve access, enhance quality and reduce the cost of education in
the Global South. By examining various aspects of OER use and OER-related practices
in secondary education, tertiary education and teacher training in a range of countries in
South America, Sub-Saharan Africa and South and Southeast Asia, the ROER4D studies
aim to help improve Open Education policy, practice and research in developing countries.
The overarching research question that the studies as a group address is: In what ways
and under what circumstances can the adoption of OER and OEP address the increasing
demand for accessible, relevant, high-quality and affordable education in the Global South?
The next section provides a brief overview of the project’s main activities, processes,
participants and outputs.
Project formulation
Phase 0: Inception
Following on the IDRC-supported second phase of the PANdora project, which initiated
mapping exercises to establish the nature, practice and challenges relating to the
production and use of OER in Asia, it was proposed that a more extensive, long-term,
multidimensional and multifaceted research project be developed to “explore the potential
of OER for further educational development and to determine their value under present and
forward practices in the ‘Global South’ (Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, the Arab world and Latin
America/Caribbean)” (Dhanarajan & Ng, 2011, p.8). To this end, a group of OER scholars
was identified to form a Planning Group to devise a South–South collaborative OER research
agenda (Dhanarajan & Ng, 2011) at a meeting in May 2012 in Chiang Mai, Thailand. It was
at this roundtable meeting that the ROER4D project was conceived.
In July 2012, research proposals were solicited from those “who have already been
developing OER so that they [can] focus on research generating evidence to motivate
policy making” and from developing countries where assistance could serve to “influence
educational policy change through applied research and development” (Dhanarajan & Ng,
2011, p.14). The independently-scoped proposals were evaluated by the Planning Group in
October 2012 and those demonstrating high probability of research operationalisation were
invited to present their proposals at a face-to-face meeting in Jakarta, Indonesia, in January
2013. A final set of 12 research proposals from all regions except the so-called Arab world16
and a meta-synthesis proposal were submitted to the IDRC in May 2013.
Phase 1: Adoption studies
The main project grant was awarded by the IDRC to the University of Cape Town (UCT) as
the ROER4D host institution in August 2013, with additional funding from the OSF for one
project in Latin America. The first ROER4D workshop, held in Cape Town in December
2013, provided an opportunity for sub-project researchers to meet, refine their proposals
16 Political tensions precluded the involvement of the Middle East and North African regions at the time.
13
Research on Open Educational Resources for Development in the Global South: Project landscape
and participate in a gender-awareness workshop. Most of the ROER4D adoption studies, as
this first cohort of 12 sub-projects was referred to, conducted their research from January
2014 until December 2015.
Phase 2: Impact studies
Funding from DFID through the Information and Networks in Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa
programme made a second set of sub-projects possible and the proposal for a set of OER
impact studies was submitted to the IDRC in January 2014. In April 2014, IDRC awarded
the additional funds from DFID to Wawasan Open University (WOU), Malaysia, in its capacity
as host of the second cohort of six impact studies – bringing the final number of ROER4D
sub-projects to 18. The research proposals were solicited via an open call in August 2014,
and between September and October 2014 these proposals were evaluated by a panel
of jurors, including members from IDRC, the original Planning Group, an external expert
and members of the ROER4D project management teams at UCT and WOU. In December
2014, shortlisted candidates were invited to present at a face-to-face meeting in Penang,
Malaysia. Most of the ROER4D impact studies, which were independently scoped to suit
their contexts, commenced their research in March 2015 and concluded in February 2017
(Figure 1).
SP1
OER desktop
review
in Global
South
SP2
OER survey
12 institutions
per region
SP3
Attitudes of
academics
re OER
in India
SP4
Attitudes
of
academics
to OER use in
South Africa
SP5
Co-creating
OER with
teachers
in India
SP6
Co-creating
OER with
teachers
in
Colombia
SP7
Using OER
in course
creation with
teacher
educators in
Malaysia and
India
SP8
OER in
Mongolia
SP9
Effectiveness
of OER use in
higher
education in
Chile
SP11
Educational
expenditure
in
South
Africa
SP12
Educational
expenditure
in
South
America
South
America
Peru,
Colombia,
Chile
Sub-
Saharan
Africa
Kenya, Ghana,
South Africa
South/
Southeast
Asia
Indonesia,
Malaysia,
India
South
America
Brazil, Chile,
Colombia
Sub-Saharan
Africa
Kenya, Ghana,
South Africa
South/
Southeast
Asia
Indonesia,
Malaysia,
India
SP10.1
Impact
of TESSA
project’s OER
on educators in
Mauritius, Tanzania
and Uganda
SP10.2
Impact of OER
in maths and
science in Kenya,
Somalia, Tanzania,
Uganda, Zambia
and Zimbabwe
SP10.3
Impact of
MOOCs as OER
on educators’
practice at UCT,
South Africa
SP10.4
Impact of OER
library in
Afghanistan
SP10.5
Impact of OER
on teaching
and learning
in
Pakistan
SP10.6
Impact of OER
use on
educators’
practice at
OUSL,
Sri Lanka
SP10.7
Impact of
OER course
development
at UPOU,
Philippines
Project coordination:
WOU from Penang, Malaysia
and Singapore
O
E
R
a
d
o
p
t
i
o
n
s
t
u
d
i
e
s
SP10
OER
impact
studies
O
E
R
a
d
o
p
t
i
o
n
s
t
u
d
i
e
s
specific objectives
enabling objectives
evaluation
Data curation
Communication Networking
Research
capacity
building
Knowledge
building
Leadership Management
R
O
E
R
4
D
H
u
b
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t
w
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n
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t
h
A
f
r
i
c
a
Figure 1: Snapshot summary of ROER4D adoption and impact studies
Adoption and Impact of OER in the Global South
14
Figure 2 provides a global snapshot of the location of the 18 ROER4D sub-projects in 21
countries. A total of 103 research team members from 19 countries worked on these sub-
projects: 18 lead researchers, 39 researchers, 27 local coordinators of a cross-regional
survey, 14 research assistants and five meta-synthesis researchers from the Network Hub.17
Uruguay
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l
B
r
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l
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Z
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Z
m
b
i
a
A
f
g
h
n
i
s
t
n
P
k
i
s
t
a
n
S
r
i
L
a
n
k
a
P
h
i
l
i
p
p
i
n
e
s
Figure 2: Geographic overview of ROER4D sub-project locations
The ROER4D researcher network was supported by a Network Hub of 12 people at two
centres:
UCT Network Hub, Cape Town, South Africa
Principal Investigator, Project Manager, Curation and Publishing Manager,
Project Curator, Associate Editor, Communications Advisor and Evaluation
Consultant
Deputy Principal Investigator from the University of the Philippines Open
University
WOU Network Hub, Penang, Malaysia
Project Leader/Coordinator and Research Assistant
Coordinator and Research Assistant
Methodological approach and participant profile
The ROER4D sub-projects employed a wide variety of data collection methods: survey
questionnaires, interviews, focus group discussions, document analysis, workshops,
17 http://dx.doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.1036247
15
Research on Open Educational Resources for Development in the Global South: Project landscape
observations, logs and desktop reviews. In the course of conducting the studies, researchers
produced chat records, concept maps, a database of student data, a lesson plan assessment
tool, literature reviews, narratives, online interactions and self-reflections.18 Ten sub-projects
generated both quantitative and qualitative data in their research, six generated only
qualitative data and two generated only quantitative data.
The sub-projects mainly focused on education in general, with mathematics (in five
sub-projects) and science (in four sub-projects) being more prominent than other sub-
disciplines.19 Sub-projects also investigated OER use in a variety of disciplines, including
educational research methodology, health and management, Islamiyat and Pakistan
studies, languages, social science and teaching with technology. Nine sub-projects covered
the higher education or university sector, six focused on in-service teacher education, one
on pre-service teacher education, and two examined OER-related activity at governmental
level.
The number of participants across the sub-projects reported on in the edited volume is
as follows:
396 school teachers from four countries: Afghanistan (51), Colombia (48), India
(62) and Sri Lanka (230)
69 teacher educators from four countries: Colombia (11), India (5), Mauritius
(9), Tanzania (18) and Uganda (31)
701 university lecturers from 15 countries: Brazil (17), Chile (33), Colombia (9),
Ghana (38), India (250), Indonesia (44), Kenya (53), Malaysia (54), Malaysia
and India (49), Mongolia (42), Somalia (1), South Africa (96), Tanzania (6),
Uganda (5), Zambia (3) and Zimbabwe (1)
4 985 university students from nine countries: Brazil (287), Chile (451), Colombia
(170), Ghana (817), India (437), Indonesia (645), Kenya (798), Malaysia (716),
Malaysia and India (43) and South Africa (621)20
Edited volume overview
The ROER4D project builds on previous Open Education research in the Global South, but
is the first project of its kind in terms of the scope and scale of the study. The aim of this
research endeavour has been to generate an empirical baseline upon which further OER
research, advocacy and uptake work can be built.
Apart from this 16-chapter edited volume and the companion datasets for six sub-
project studies,21 ROER4D outputs22 to date include at least 10 journal articles, three book
chapters, two monographs, five keynote addresses, 10 conference papers, 75 conference
presentations, 64 blogs and a number of teaching sessions with postgraduate students and
staff. Further communication and dissemination activities are planned to leverage the work
conducted in the project.
18 http://dx.doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.1036247
19 http://dx.doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.1036247
20 http://dx.doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.1036247
21 https://www.datafirst.uct.ac.za/dataportal/index.php/catalog/ROER4D
22 For a full list of ROER4D outputs, see goo.gl/r4PQfE.
Adoption and Impact of OER in the Global South
16
In order to capture synthesised contributions of the various sub-projects and promote
access to the Global South empirical contribution on Open Education research, the ROER4D
Network Hub has published this edited volume in collaboration with the IDRC and African
Minds Open Access publishers. The Network Hub decision to function as a co-publisher of
the research produced was largely informed by the project’s Open Research agenda, which
enables a more self-determined approach in terms of advance online release and peer-
reviewstrategy. The peer-review process was administered by ROER4D in collaboration with
African Minds publishers, with each chapter being reviewed by at least two external peer
reviewers in an open and collaborative peer-review model.
The edited volume is composed of 16 chapters – 13 are based on the research reports
of 13 ROER4D sub-projects, and three (Chapters 1, 2 and 16) are synthesis and overview
chapters. The chapters are organised into five main sections: Overview, South America,
Sub-Saharan Africa, South and Southeast Asia, and Conclusion. Within these broader
sections, chapters are presented in sequence according to whether the research addresses
basic or higher education.
Section 1 – Overview – includes this introduction and a meta-synthesis chapter, “Factors
influencing Open Educational Practices and OER in the Global South: Meta-synthesis
of the ROER4D project” by Cheryl Hodgkinson-Williams, Patricia Arinto, Tess Cartmill and
Thomas King, as well as the chapter “OER use in the Global South: A baseline survey of
higher education instructors” by José Dutra de Oliveira Neto, Judith Pete, Daryono and
Tess Cartmill on the findings from the cross-regional quantitative survey of 295 instructors
at 28 HEIs in nine countries (Brazil, Chile, Colombia; Ghana, Kenya, South Africa; India,
Indonesia and Malaysia).
Section 2 – South America – presents research from Chile, Colombia and Uruguay.
The first chapter in this section, “Open Access and OER in Latin America: A survey
of the policy landscape in Chile, Colombia and Uruguay” by Amalia Toledo, provides
valuable insight into the South American “open” policy landscape. It is followed by a
chapter addressing “Collaborative co-creation of OER by teachers and teacher educators
in Colombia”, written by María del Pilar Sáenz Rodríguez, Ulises Hernandez Pino and Yoli
Marcela Hernández, which describes a study conducted with public school teachers in
southwestern Colombia by members of the Collaborative Co-Creation of Open Educational
Resources by Teachers and Teacher Educators in Colombia (coKREA) project. The final
chapter in this section, by Werner Westermann Juárez and Juan Ignacio Venegas Muggli,
is an investigation into the impact of OER on learning outcomes in a Chilean university,
titled “Effectiveness of OER use in first-year higher education students’ mathematical
course performance: A case study”.
Section 3 – Sub-Saharan Africa – features research from South Africa, Mauritius, Uganda
and Tanzania. The first of the chapters in this section, “Tracking the money for Open
Educational Resources in South African basic education: What we don’t know”, is a desk
review and document analysis of publicly available information on expenditure in South
African basic education by Sarah Goodier which aims to better understand government
influence on the cost-saving dimension of OER. It is followed by the chapter “Teacher
educators and OER in East Africa: Interrogating pedagogic change” by Freda Wolfenden,
Pritee Auckloo and Jane Cullen, which examines the use of OER in six teacher education
institutions in three contrasting East African settings. The fourth chapter in this section,
17
Research on Open Educational Resources for Development in the Global South: Project landscape
Factors shaping lecturers’ adoption of OER at three South African universities” by
Glenda Cox and Henry Trotter, focuses on understanding the obstacles, opportunities and
practices associated with OER adoption. South Africa is also the focus of the final chapter
in this section, “OER in and as MOOCs” by Laura Czerniewicz, Andrew Deacon, Sukaina
Walji and Michael Glover. It reports on an investigation into the production and rollout of
four Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) at UCT, and on how MOOC-making with OER
influences educators’ OEP.
Section 4 – South and Southeast Asia – presents research from Mongolia, India, Sri
Lanka and Afghanistan. The first of the chapters in this section, “Cultural-historical factors
influencing OER adoption in Mongolia’s higher education sector” by Batbold Zagdragchaa
and Henry Trotter, is a landmark study in terms of Open Education in the Mongolian context,
investigating the strategies and practices of educators from six Mongolian HEIs in order to
understand the role of OER in their work. The focus on use of OER by higher education
faculty is also a central theme in the next chapter, “Higher education faculty attitude,
motivation, perception of quality and barriers towards OER in India” by Sanjaya Mishra
and Alka Singh, which compares data across four institutions in order to identify the issues
that influence OER uptake in India. The next chapter, “Impact of integrating OER in teacher
education at the Open University of Sri Lanka” by Shironica P. Karunanayaka and Som
Naidu, reports on a research project implemented among secondary school teachers enrolled
in a postgraduate programme at the Open University of Sri Lanka in order to investigate the
impact of integrating OER in the teaching-learning process. This is followed by a chapter
examining enabling and constraining techno-social, techno-pedagogical and sociocultural
factors surrounding OER adoption in a teacher professional development context by
Gurumurthy Kasinathan and Sriranjani Ranganathan titled, “Teacher professional learning
communities: A collaborative OER adoption approach in Karnataka, India”. The final
chapter in this section, “An early-stage impact study of localised OER in Afghanistan” by
Lauryn Oates, Letha Kay Goger, Jamshid Hashimi and Mubaraka Farahmand, evaluates a
group of Afghan school teachers’ use of OER from the digital Darakht-e Danesh Library, and
is also a landmark study in terms of investigation into Open Education in the Afghan context.
Section 5 – “OER and OEP in the Global South: Implications and recommendations
for social inclusion” by Patricia Arinto, Cheryl Hodgkinson-Williams and Henry Trotter –
provides a summary statement on the findings from the ROER4D project and reflects on the
extent to which the use of OER by educators and students is contributing to social inclusion
in the Global South.
Conclusion
Each of the chapters in this edited volume seeks to identify the key educational challenges
in specific contexts in the Global South to which OER and educators’ associated OEP may
be a useful response. Although these challenges are often similar to those experienced
in the Global North, additional or more nuanced perspectives have surfaced in the
ROER4D studies. These include the need to support teachers in war-torn countries such
as Afghanistan (Oates et al., Chapter 15) or in post-war areas such as northern Sri Lanka
(Karunanayaka & Naidu, Chapter 13); support equity of student access to higher education
in a largely privatised system in Chile (Westermann Juárez & Venegas Muggli, Chapter 6);
Adoption and Impact of OER in the Global South
18
and enhance the quality of educational materials for basic education in India (Kasinathan
& Ranganathan, Chapter 14). Each chapter presented explores the degree to which OER
and the underlying OEP have emerged as ways to address context-specific educational
problems, and which factors might account for their variable adoption and nascent impact.
The hope is that these empirical studies establish a baseline of Global South OER and OEP
adoption and impact research that will stimulate more targeted advocacy, implementation
and research.
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How to cite this chapter
Arinto, P. B., Hodgkinson-Williams, C., King, T., Cartmill, T. & Willmers, M. (2017).
Research on Open Educational Resources for Development in the Global South:
Project landscape. In C. Hodgkinson-Williams & P. B. Arinto (Eds.), Adoption and
impact of OER in the Global South (pp. 3–26). Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.5281/
zenodo.1038980
Corresponding author: Patricia B. Arinto <patricia.arinto@gmail.com>
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International
(CCBY 4.0) licence. It was carried out with the aid of a grant from the International
Development Research Centre, Ottawa, Canada.
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
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For the past decade, South Asian governments have been investing heavily to achieve the education millennium development goals (MDGs). The region has also made great progress in enrolling girls in both primary and secondary school. The rapid gains in enrollment have not been accompanied by commensurate improvements in learning levels, with the average level of skill acquisition in South Asia being low by both national and international standards. A major reason for this is that throughout the 2000s, most South Asian countries focused on: (a) achieving universal access to primary education, and (b) sustained investment in better-quality school inputs to improve the quality of primary and secondary education. This report covers education from primary through upper secondary school. Given its importance for school readiness, this report also reviews early childhood development even though that is outside formal education systems in the region. To examine what types of policies hold promise for improving student learning, it reviews data from large-scale national learning assessments and the findings of a small but increasing number of impact evaluations being conducted in the region. Finally, based on evidence from South Asia and other regions, it identifies strategic options and priorities to improve learning outcomes in South Asia. The findings make it clear that to be successful, policies to ensure lasting improvements in student learning outcomes need to be integrated into a larger agenda of inclusive economic growth and governance reform. This report makes an important contribution to ones understanding of the performance of education systems in South Asia and the causes and correlates of student learning outcomes. Further, drawing on successful initiatives both in the region and elsewhere in the world, it offers an insightful approach to setting priorities for enhancing the quality of school education despite growing competition for public resources.