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Utilising open educational resources in support of curriculum transformation at Africa Nazarene University: A participatory action research approach

TitleUtilising open educational resources in support of curriculum transformation at Africa Nazarene University: A participatory action research approach
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication2017
AdvisorVan Niekerk, L. J.
DegreeDoctor of Education (Curriculum Studies)
Date Published05/2017
UniversityUniversity of South Africa
Place PublishedPretoria, South Africa
Type of WorkThesis
Keywordsbusiness models, curriculum transformation, ODeL, OER, OER Maturity index, open licences, participatory action research, Systems theory
Abstract

This thesis, Utilising Open Educational Resources in support of curriculum transformation at Africa Nazarene University: A participatory action research approach, derives from a multi-year project implemented by OER Africa, and funded by the Hewlett Foundation, to explore the potential of Open Educational Resources (OER) in support of pedagogic transformation in African universities. The project involves four institutions: Africa Nazarene University (ANU) in Kenya, the Open University of Tanzania (OUT), and the Universities of Pretoria and the Free State (UP and UFS) in South Africa. This study centred on ANU only in the period 2013 to 2016, with a focus on the period 2015-2016, and was timed to inform ANU’s new strategic planning process from 2017.

The wider project adopted a participatory action research process in its engagement with the four core institutions. Within this over-arching project methodology, this study made use of an analytical autoethnographic approach to capture and analyse data and to make recommendations, to acknowledge the researcher’s dual role as both a co-participant and an institutional project lead. The approach was informed primarily by hermeneutics and systems thinking and involved multiple in-country engagements with ANU and the triangulation of information derived from document review, observation and iterative focus group discussions and individual interviews. An OER Maturity Index and Planning Tool was also developed and used to inform planning and reflection and to provide a barometer of changing attitudes and activities regarding engagement with OER.

Initially the engagement focused on developing a supportive policy and capacity-building environment for individuals to integrate OER into specific Open, Distance and e-Learning (ODeL) courses and to publish revised course materials under an open licence. However, as the initiative progressed, it became apparent that there was need to revisit the institution’s overall business model considering increased competition, new regulatory requirements and a growing demand from students for more flexible forms of provision. In fact, the key finding of this study is the suggestion that engagement with OER is unlikely to move from being an individual to an institutional focus unless such engagement is aligned with the overall vision, mission and business model of the university.

URLhttp://hdl.handle.net/10500/22619
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Refereed DesignationDoes Not Apply
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