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A critical attribute of open educational practices (OEP) is the pursuit of open scholarship which comprises the release of educational resources under an open licence…
A critical attribute of open educational practices (OEP) is the pursuit of open scholarship which comprises the release of educational resources under an open licence scheme that permits no-cost access, use, reuse, adaptation, retention and redistribution to others. The degree of openness in relation to this attribute will depend on the context and culture of the place and the people in it. When left to chance, the adoption and practice of open scholarship by educators is at best sketchy. For optimum impact, a design-based approach is essential. A central focus of such an approach will need to target educators’ belief systems and practices about their scholarship. Any such work will involve researchers collaborating with practitioners in real-life settings to improve educational practices through iterative analysis, design, development and implementation. The purpose of this paper is to report on how the development and use of such a design-based approach, implemented by the Open University of Sri Lanka, impacted the adoption and uptake of open scholarship among teachers in the Sri Lankan school system in terms of changes in their use of instructional resources, pedagogical thinking and pedagogical practices.
The study adopted a design-based research (DBR) approach (Reeves, 2006), which involved researchers collaboratively working with practitioners in real-life settings to improve their educational practices along three aspects – instructional resource use, pedagogical perspectives and pedagogical practices. Based on the four stages of the DBR approach – analysis, solution, testing and refinement, and reflection, a professional development intervention programme was designed and implemented to support teachers on the integration of open educational resources (OER) and adoption of OEP in their teaching-learning process. Data collected throughout the process using multiple strategies such as questionnaire surveys, concept mapping, lesson plans, focus group interviews, self-reflections and “stories”, were analyzed using both qualitative and quantitative methods.
By the end of the intervention, significant changes were observed in teachers’ use of instructional resources, their pedagogical thinking and pedagogical practices. While resource usage has shifted from no or low usage of OER to reuse, revise, remix and creation of OER, the pedagogical thinking and practices of teachers moved from a content-centric and individualized patterns to more constructivist, context centric and collaborative ways. The diffusion of OEP was prominent along two dimensions – enhancements in the individual practices in innovative OER use as well as collaborative practices of sharing of resources, knowledge and good practices.
The systematic and flexible methodology adopted based on the DBR approach via a framework designed as a contextualized, process oriented and a self-reflective enquiry has been very useful to support changes in OEP among practitioners over time.
This iterative process allowed the researchers to function as “designers”, while investigating real-life issues in collaboration with the practitioners through reflective enquiry to further refine innovative practices towards OEP. This provides valuable insights for improved design solutions for future interventions in similar contexts.
The purpose of this paper is to reveal how support services for open and distance students are designed, developed and implemented to ensure successful learning to take…
The purpose of this paper is to reveal how support services for open and distance students are designed, developed and implemented to ensure successful learning to take place, with specific references to the Open University of Sri Lanka (OUSL) and Universitas Terbuka (UT) Indonesia. Success in distance learning is one major challenge for open universities to respond to expectations of students and stakeholders. This study focuses on the strategies of student support services in OUSL and UT, investigating related factors including instructional design and development, learning engagement and motivation, policy and strategy in reducing dropouts, use of OER/MOOCs, and quality assurance.
A qualitative study was employed involving analyses of documents; interviews and focus group discussion with senior administrators, academic staff, students; and on-site observation in locations of teaching and learning.
This research is exploratory in nature. Findings of the study are expected to improve our understanding of student support in distance learning, in which analysis is based on good practices, challenges and rooms for improvement of both OUSL and UT.
Findings of this study reveal practices and lessons learnt that may be useful as reference to open universities, taking into considerations the fact that each open university has been established to address specific challenges in its own unique circumstances.
This research may be adopted as baseline framework for analysis of student support for open universities. Further in-depth study is needed to understand how various aspects of student support contribute to success in open and distance learning.