Thursday, November 19 • 9:45am - 10:15am
Researching OER in the open: Developments in the ROER4D project

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Many promises have been made about the potential benefits of the adoption of open educational resources (OER) in development countries in particular. While there are a few empirical studies of OER adoption and impact in countries in the so-called Global South, most of these studies to date have been carried out in the Global North. The Research on Open Educational Resources for Development (ROER4D) project was established in late 2013 to contribute to a better understanding of OER adoption and impact in countries in South America, Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. This paper will reflect on the ROER4D project's commitment to open research processes, the benefits experienced and challenges faced whilst investigating the openness of OER.

The ROER4D project, funded by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), the Open Society Foundations (OSF) and DFID was launched in August 2013 to undertake research on the adoption and impact of OER specifically in countries in the Global South. The project's main aim is to inform educational policy and practice in developing countries through its research findings on possible ways in which and under what circumstances OER may address the key educational challenges. There are 18 sub-projects under the ROER4D banner being undertaken in 26 countries across Southeast Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa and South America. Study sites are spread over 16 time-zones and the 86 researchers and research associates speak over 14 different languages between them. Sub-project activities are coordinated and supported by the ROER4D Network Hub, based at the University of Cape Town, South Africa and Wawasan Open University, Penang, Malaysia.

In keeping with the principle of openness, the ROER4D team committed themselves to follow emerging open research practices. From the contract level where researchers agreed to make their research data and documents openly available, through to the conceptual level of how various concepts are operationalised in questionnaires and interview schedules, to the practical level of creating identifiable, but anonymised, datasets, strategies needed to be created and procedures implemented to fulfil the ‘open research' intention. Benefits included early studies on our ‘open' processes undertaken by a separate research group and synergies between the ROER4D project and other OER research projects such as the OER Evidence Hub at the Open University. Some of the challenges emerged at the conceptual level and were complicated by the various languages into which questionnaires and interviews needed to be translated. Strategies adopted to make the ROER4D research open included a range of activities at the ROER4D Network Hub level as well as at the individual project level and were implemented with varying degrees of success. This presentation will reflect upon the initial intentions of open research by the ROER4D team and trace the emergence of a more comprehensive and more complex set of open research practices.

avatar for Cheryl Hodgkinson-Williams

Cheryl Hodgkinson-Williams

Associate Professor, University of Cape Town
Cheryl Hodgkinson-Williams is an Associate Professor in the Centre for Innovation in Teaching & Learning at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. She teaches Online Learning Design and Advanced Research Design courses to postgraduate students and also supervises Masters and... Read More →

Thursday November 19, 2015 9:45am - 10:15am PST
BC Ballroom

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