Open educational resources: staff attitudes and awareness

The aim of this study was to explore staff awareness and attitudes towards ‘‘open educational resources’’ (OER) within a higher education institution.

The author developed a questionairre to gauge and explore staff awareness and attitudes towards ‘‘open educational resources’’ (OER). Questionnaire was givern to 50 other faculty members and results collated.

Staff were familiar with the concept of OER and of a culture of sharing between close colleagues but there was reluctance to share resources online even though they had used online material themselves (Rolfe, 2012).

Drivers of positive engagement with OER were a strong belief in OER to enhance individuals’ and institutions’ reputation.

Out of the sample of 50 respondents to the online questionnaire it was shown that drivers of positive engagement with OER were a strong belief in OER to enhance individuals’ and institutions’ reputation. Barriers were copyright issues, lack if IT support and lack of a rewards system. Staff had much less hesitiation in sharing resources with colleagues but although half of the cohort had retrieved resoures from the web, only 12% shared their own resources.OER have grown from the recent development of online technologies that allow authoring and sharing of digital resources and the copyright simplifying mechanism of the Creative Commons license.

Sustainabiluty is a major threat to OER movement. Institutional staff and communities play a vital role in the sustainability of a OER repository and academic staff in providing quality assurance for the OERs. As academic staff play such an important role this paper set out to bench mark their awareness attitudes towards OER and identify how they may be supported in the future.

Drivers to share resources included enhanced reputation, support for open education, and the potential cost savings in sourcing OER. Based on this study it seems that OER are slowly penetrating the academic culture of third level education. But for OER to grow in terms of usage and quality it is important that a culture of sharing OER online is nurtured amongst academics.

Bibliography

Rolfe, V. (2012). Open educational resources: staff attitudes and awareness. Research in Learning Technology , 20.

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