How does OER and OEP contribute to social inclusion in the Global South?
This presentation explores the implications of the findings of the Research on Open Educational Resources for Development (ROER4D) project for how OER and OEP relate to the attainment of social inclusion. Based on research by over 100 researchers in 17 sub-projects across 21 countries in South America, Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia over a three-year period, we discuss whether and how OER and OEP promote equitable access, participatory pedagogy and education, and empowerment of teachers and students, and thus contribute to social inclusion – at least in certain Global South contexts (Hodgkinson-Williams & Arinto, 2017). We also reflect on where and why OER and OEP currently fail to live up to their potential.
Drawing on Gidley, Hampson, Wheeler and Bereded-Samuel’s (2010) concept of “degrees” of social inclusion, we suggest that it is analytically useful to see inclusion not as an either-or outcome, but as “a nested schema regarding degrees of inclusion” where ”the narrowest interpretation pertains to the neoliberal notion of social inclusion as access; a broader interpretation regards the social justice idea of social inclusion as participation; whilst the widest interpretation involves the human potential lens of social inclusion as empowerment” (Gidley et al., 2010, p.2).
In general, the ROER4D studies found variable access to and engagement with OER. Of the three forms of engagement with OER – OER use (“as is”), adaptation and creation – the most frequently cited by research participants was the use of OER “as is.” The second was OER creation and third was OER adaptation (e.g. revising, remixing, localisation, translation). We posit that these three forms of OER adoption – which form part of the broader Open Education cycle (Walji & Hodgkinson-Williams, 2017) – contribute to the achievement of social inclusion in the following ways:
● OER use “as is” widens access to educational materials and to education more broadly.
● OER adaptation fosters participatory pedagogy, which encourages learner-centred teaching, extends the range of localised OER available to students and deepens learner engagement.
● OER creation empowers educators and students to contribute to knowledge production.
Based on the insights gained from the project, we offer recommendations related to advocacy, policy, and practice for promoting social inclusion through OER and OEP.
Gidley, J., Hampson, G., Wheeler, L. & Bereded-Samuel, E. (2010). Social inclusion: Context, theory and practice. The Australasian Journal of University-Community Engagement, 5(1), 6–36. Retrieved from https://researchbank.rmit.edu.au/view/rmit:4909
Hodgkinson-Williams, C. & Arinto, P. B. (2017). Adoption and Impact of OER in the Global South. Cape Town & Ottawa: African Minds, International Development Research Centre & Research on Open Educational Resources.
Walji, S. & Hodgkinson-Williams, C.A. (2017). Factors enabling and constraining OER adoption and Open Education Practices: lessons from the ROER4D project. Presentation at World Conference for Online Learning, Toronto, Canada, 15-19 October 2017. Retrieved from: https://www.slideshare.net/ROER4D/factors-enabling-and-constraining-oer-adoption-and-open-education-practices-lessons-from-the-roer4d-project