Are higher education institutions positioned to reap the dividends of open education resources? : the case of Durban University of Technology
Van der Merwe, Alexander Dawid
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The potential benefits of open education resources (OERs) are well documented in the literature. These include cheaper education, improved equity in respect of educational prospects, greater access to higher education opportunities for non - traditional learners, encouraging new modes of collaborative learning and leveraging public funds by sharing knowledge. So compelling are these advantages that leading universities globally are currently experimenting with new business models calibrated to extract value from educational offerings that, increasingly, will be expected to include free content. In spite of the obvious merits of OERs, the open education movement faces challenges which are rooted significantly in educators' perceptions of these resources. This descriptive case study sought t o examine the attitudes Durban University of Technology (DUT) faculty have towards OERs with the aim of gauging their capacity to be actively involved as developers and users of these materials. The study found that in spite of respondents' recognition of the advantages of OERs and even a degree of superficial employment of these instructional aids, there appears to be no real open education ethos at the institution. Evidence of this includes the relatively low level of sharing of content amongst faculty an d the consensus of respondents that there is no institutional support for OER initiatives. The study concludes that for the university to retain its relevance in an evolving educational landscape, it should create a framework that will not only create space for OER projects but should also address the very human need for recognition and acknowledgement that developers of free and open content have.
Van der Merwe, A.D. 2013. Are Higher Education Institutions Positioned To Reap The Dividends Of Open Education Resources? The Case Of Durban University Of Technology. International Business & Economics Research Journal, 12(9): 1119-1130.