In this presentation the focus will be on findings from ROER4D Sub Project 4 (SP4) in relation to the findings of the ROER4D meta-synthesis. SP4 is a qualitative study focused on lecturers’ teaching practices as they relate to (potential) open educational activity and analyses the barriers and enablers of OER adoption at three South African universities, in order to better understand why South African lecturers adopt – or do not adopt – OER. Interviews were undertaken with 18 lecturers at the universities of Cape Town (UCT), Fort Hare (UFH) and South Africa (UNISA) (Cox & Trotter, 2017). The ROER4D meta-synthesis analyses how three phases of OER adoption – creation, use and adaptation – are observed in the studies as forms of Open Educational Practices (OEP), identifying where there are most likely to be disjunctures that inhibit optimal OER adoption processes and their longer-term sustainability.
Select key findings from SP4 will be compared to the overall findings of the ROER4D project, drawing upon Archer’s (2003) social realist theory to uncover agential decision-making about OER creation, use and adaptation in relation to structural and cultural environments. Archer’s social realist theory provides an analytical mechanism to separate out structural factors (physical things, social structures, institutions, organisations), cultural factors (relations between ideas, beliefs and values) and agential factors (institutional, individuals or groups of individuals who have decision making power). Constraints and enablements are identified within these three factors followed by an examination of the relations or interplay between the factors. The interactive interplay reveals the conditions that enable change or consistency in the agents who hold power in these contexts.
This theoretical approach aids in the identification of decision makers who have the power to enable or constrain OER related activity. SP4 is located in Higher Education, but the overall ROER4D project included various educational contexts such as; Higher Education studies, schools and other forms of tertiary education. Therefore the comparison between SP4 and the overall project surfaces agency and power dynamics in different contexts. Social realist theory provides a lens to explain the power relations at play in the complex institutions, organisations and communities where educators can potentially include or have included openness in their educational practice.
Archer, M. S. (2003). Structure, agency and the internal conversation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Cox, G. & Trotter, H. (2017). Factors shaping lecturers’ adoption of OER at three South African universities. In C. Hodgkinson-Williams & P. B. Arinto (Eds.), Adoption and impact of OER in the Global South. Chapter 9 advance publication. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.154562