In the last 15-20 years, researchers have focused on the creation, reuse and sharing of OER, and little attention has been given to adaptation of resources or what teachers do with them, and to the practices with OER rather than OER itself. Thus, to date, there is scant evidence of OER reuse impacting on teaching practices. This presentation discusses the findings of a doctoral study, conducted with a group of online language teachers in a distance learning Higher Education institution in the UK. Data were collected and analysed following Charmaz’s (2014) constructivist grounded theory methodology. The experience of teachers’ reuse and adaptation of OER – which had been created specifically for synchronous online language teaching – was explored via seventeen online interviews. The presentation focuses on showing how, consistent with a grounded theory approach, conceptual categories were allowed to emerge, rather than being initially driven by a theoretical framework. The findings of this study build on Cronin (2018) who contends that OEP ‘is complex, personal, contextual, and continually negotiated’ (p.158) and (Schuwer and Janssen, 2018) who suggest that ‘motivation for sharing and reuse of learning materials for educators and managers is directly related to the ambition to achieve better education for students’ (p.151). Indeed, this research findings indicate that OER reuse promotes self-reflection and therefore can play a significant role in teachers’ development as online educators, supporting the first part of Weller et al.’s (2017) fifth hypothesis that ‘use of OER leads to critical reflection by educators, with evidence of improvement in their practice’ (p. 70)’. However, the findings also challenges the assumption that teachers work together in communities of practice and develop open educational practices as a result of working with OER. The results of this research provide an insight into the connection between OER reuse and reflections on online language teaching practices. At the same time, they raise questions with regard to the apparent normalisation of reuse of OER and their promise to improve the quality of teaching. This session will be of particular interest to colleagues who wish to engage in debating around basic aspects of OER such as whether it is desirable to expect teachers to share their resources online or whether it is necessary for open education to be exclusively online. The findings of this research indicates that teachers maybe using and adapting online resources but they do not necessarily share their adapted resources back to online repositories. This raises the question of the sustainability of the OER movement and why educators want teachers to use and share online resources. This session will give an opportunity to participants to discuss the important question: whose interests are served in the OER movement and what are the risks for the movement is teachers are unwilling to share their resources back in public domains.
20 minute session
Charmaz, K. (2014) Constructing grounded theory, 2nd edn, London, Sage.
Cronin, C. (2018) ‘Openness and praxis: A situated study of academic staff meaning-making and decision-making with respect to openness and use of open educational practices in higher education’, PhD Thesis, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland. [online] Available at: https://go-gn.net/theses/
Schuwer, R. and Janssen, B. (2018) ‘Adoption of sharing and reuse of open resources by educators in higher education institutions in the Netherlands: A qualitative research of practices, motives, and conditions’, International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, vol. 19, no. 3, pp. 151-171. [online] Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.19173/irrodl.v19i3.3390
Weller, M., de los Arcos, B., Farrow, R., Pitt, R., and McAndrew, P. (2017) ‘What Can OER Do for Me? Evaluating the Claims for OER’, in Jhangiani, R. S. and Biswas-Diener, R. (eds.) Open: The Philosophy and Practices that are Revolutionizing Education and Science, London, UK, Ubiquity Press, pp. 67-77. [online] Available at: http://oro.open.ac.uk/49041/1/__userdata_documents7_rep237_Downloads_what-can-oer-do-for-me-evaluating-the-claims-for-o.pdf