OER15: Open educational practices and attitudes to openness across India: reporting the findings of the OER Research Hub pan-India survey

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April 15, 2015 by Leigh-Anne Perryman

Here’s the second post from the OER15 conference in Cardiff, with the abstract, slides and full paper link for my presentation (with a virtual Tim Seal) premiering the early findings from the dual-language, pan-India survey into open educational practices and attitudes towards openness in India – research conducted in connection with my OER Research Hub Fellowship.

Abstract
India appears to show a huge appetite for openness. In 2008 the Indian Government’s National Knowledge Commission (NKC) called for a ‘national econtent and curriculum initiative’ to stimulate the creation, adaptation and utilization of OER by Indian institutions and the leveraging of OER produced outside India. Since then India has gained its own national OER repository – the National Repository of Open Educational Resources (NROER), launched in 2013, extending the existing provision of OER offered by repositories such as the Indira Ghandi National Open University (IGNOU)-hosted e-GyanKosh. Beyond the creation and delivery of content, open educational practices have been promoted by the ever-growing Wikimedia India Chapter and by Creative Commons India, not to mention numerous OER projects seeking to exploit the potential of OER in the interests of educational inclusion and social justice. Tracking the development of OER in India, Das (2011, p. 14) concludes that ‘Indian OER initiatives serve diverse learning communities and bridge knowledge gaps between privileged and under-privileged communities’.

Since 2013 the OER Research Hub has been conducting collaborative research with the UK Open University-led India-based TESS-India project, which is developing OER for use in India’s teacher education system. In 2014 this research was broadened to include a pan-India survey of OER use and attitudes to OER and openness. The biggest of its kind ever to have been conducted in India, the survey employs many of the questions developed by the OER Research Hub for use in its OER impact research around the world, plus further questions designed to be appropriate to Indian educators and learners. Availability in English and Hindi language versions has increased the survey’s reach, as has its being available both online and in hard copy format, thereby avoiding the perpetuation of the digital divide that can occur when online-only surveys are conducted in the developing world. The survey respondents include educators in the K12, college and higher education sectors, in addition to teacher educators, education managers, NGOs, academics, activists and policy-makers. Topics covered by the survey include understanding of open licensing, attitudes to sharing and actual sharing practices, open resource creation and adaptation, disciplinary differences in the creation and use of OER, selection indicators used when choosing OER, perceptions of the impact of OER on India’s formal and informal learners, cost-savings enjoyed through OER use, and barriers to OER use and re-use experienced by educators and learners.

The pan-India survey report will be launched at OER15 and this paper will share the main survey findings, building an overall picture of attitudes to openness and the use of OER in diverse education sectors across India. These findings will then be compared with data collected by the OER Research Hub elsewhere in the world. The paper concludes by providing recommendations to existing and future OER projects operating in India, arguing that the distinct social, economic and cultural factors impacting on India’s education system demand a unique approach to developing, using and promoting OER for use in the Indian sub-continent.

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Blogging on open educational resources (OER), open educational practices (OEP), educational research methods and online practices in the developing world, and in the voluntary sector.

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