Examining the technological and pedagogical elements of select open courseware
Keywords:oer, open education, open pedagogy, open courseware, higher education
Openness in open courseware (OCW) and open educational resources (OER) requires an open licence, such as Creative Commons licenses, but is affected by several factors both technological and pedagogical. This pilot study examines different factors impacting openness by looking at a very small random sample of 10 relatively recent open courseware offerings from TU Delft and MIT. This paper has two primary objectives: 1) to determine how open the sampled OCW are across eight factors of analysis; and, 2) to determine if the sampled OCW are suitable for educator reuse. The authors evaluated the sampled courses using an existing framework to conceptualize openness. The level of openness was evaluated across eight-factors: copyright/open licensing, accessibility/usability, language, support costs, assessment, digital distribution, file format, and cultural considerations. The framework describes each factor across three dimensions of openness — closed, mixed, and most open — and each author coded the sampled OCW accordingly. This content analysis provided several insights into where sampled OCW succeeded and failed in terms of openness. Courses tended to be relatively open in terms of copyright, assessment, and digital distribution, but closed in terms of language, support costs, and file format. Factors such as accessibility and cultural considerations were more mixed; discipline and course content play a factor in a course’s openness and reuse. This paper also serves a secondary purpose, on the effectiveness of the framework for assessing openness. Openness is a spectrum, with an interplay between factors that determine openness. Greater attention needs to be shown toward pedagogical considerations, rather than technical, when developing open content.
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