This communication presents an investigation on the dimensions of the adoption of Open Educational Resources (OER) by professors of Latin American universities.
After more than 15 years, OER are still far from being part of the daily life of teachers and universities (McGreal, Anderson, and Conrad, 2015). In addition, initiatives developed in the periphery countries are little studied (de los Arcos and Weller, 2018), creating difficulties to identify their particular characteristics and to contribute with an own perspective in the global concert of OER.
The conception of OER as an instrument of educational equity and inclusion arises from the central countries as a solution to the needs resulting from structural neoliberal transformations of Higher Education. This has imbued the Open movement with its own rhetoric and frameworks from these central areas (Weiland, 2015). Research is developed mainly in these contexts, building a circular and closed perspective, oriented to recurring topics and impact analysis. Moreover, numerous studies conducted in other regions are addressed by taking these perspectives and central models as parameters to categorize practices and levels of adoption, leading to a single way of conceiving OER. Fortunately, recent studies from the Global South (Cox, 2017; Hodgkinson-Williams and Arinto, 2017), and other critical studies in the north (Cronin, 2018; Arcos and Weller, 2018) have favored the emergence of new questions and critical approaches.
OER Repositories (ROER) are also a critical factor for OER adoption (Atenas, 2014), being necessary to develop understanding to facilitate their integration into the material culture of educational institutions.
In order to face these problems, in this study we chose the interpretive paradigm and a perspective of social co-construction of technological systems (Pinch and Oudshoorn, 2005). This approach implies going into the conditions that keep OER in a marginal position in the educational practices and in the processes of selection of didactic materials, from a double perspective on agency and structure, the faculty and the university institution, from within the phenomenon studied.
A qualitative methodology was implemented based on Grounded Theory (Corbin and Strauss, 2015; Charmaz and Mitchell, 2001), together with Biographical Method (Ricoeur, 1995) and Digital Ethnography (Hine, 2000), in twelve subjects, teachers from three public universities in three Latin American countries (Uruguay, Costa Rica and Venezuela).
Findings led to identify four main categories as dimensions of the adoption of OER and ROER by Latin American university teaching staff: 1) Teacher Professional Identity 2) Practices and Transformations in the Curriculum; 3) Creation, Use and Opening of Educational Resources; and 4) Social Representations about ROER.
As a result, a theoretically based conceptual model of the adoption of OER was developed from a Latin American critical perspective, which: 1) places teachers as the most important agents in the adoption of OER in the context of Higher Education, in the framework of a reflective and situated practice, highlighting the existing links between their personal and professional identities as a relevant factor; 2) locates the adoption of OER within the framework of the curriculum, understood not only as content, but as processes, practices and contexts that exert influence and power, both in its hidden and manifest forms ; 3) contributes to transcend the post-colonial perspective of the universality of OER, facing the challenges for their critical appropriation in diverse contexts.
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