Open Praxis, volume 8 issue 2

Open Praxis, May 2016

Inés Gil-Jaurena (ed.), Various Authors

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Open Praxis, volume 8 issue 2

Open Praxis 2304-070X Selected papers Inés Gil-Jaurena 0 0 Editorial board Suresh C. Garg, Indira Gandhi National Open University , New Delhi , India Gangappa Kuruba , University of Botswana, Botswana Thomas P. Mackey, SUNY Empire State College, New York, United States Marta Mena, National Technological University (Universidad Tecnológica Nacional) , Argentina Alan Tait , The Open University, United Kingdom Yang Zhijian, Open University of China (OUC) , China INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL FOR OPEN AND DISTANCE EDUCATION - 2016 Open Education Consortium Global Conference OPEN PRAXIS Editorial policies Open Praxis is a peer-reviewed open access scholarly journal focusing on research and innovation in open, distance and flexible education. It is published by the International Council for Open and Distance Education—ICDE The aim of Open Praxis is to provide a forum for global collaboration and discussion of issues in the practice of distance and e-learning. Open Praxis welcomes contributions which demonstrate creative and innovative research, and which highlight challenges, lessons and achievements in the practice of distance and e-learning from all over the world. — Open Praxis provides immediate open access to content on the principle that making research freely available to the public supports a greater global exchange of knowledge. Editorial team Editor Inés Gil-Jaurena, Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED), Spain Consultative editor Beatriz Malik, Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED), Spain Publisher and contact information ICDE—International Council for Open and Distance Education Lilleakerveien 23 0283 Oslo, Norway Journal history The ICDE Bulletin changed its name to Open Praxis in 1993. In 2003 became an electronic journal. In 2011 Open Praxis is relaunched as an scholarly and peer-reviewed open access journal, hosted by Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED) in its first period (2011–2017). Copyright notice Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms: a. Authors retain copyright and grant Open Praxis right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work’s authorship and initial publication in Open Praxis. b. Authors also grant ICDE right to publish a printed compendium of Open Praxis published articles in an annual basis. c. Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal’s published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in Open Praxis. Open Praxis does not necessarily agree with opinions and judgements maintained by authors OER and Open Education. Introduction to selected papers Inés Gil-Jaurena 2016 Open Education Global Conference Selected Papers Dimensions of open research: critical reflections on openness in the ROER4D project Thomas William King, Cheryl-Ann Hodgkinson-Williams, Michelle Willmers, Sukaina Walji A Framework for the Ethics of Open Education Robert Farrow The Best of Two Open Worlds at the National Open University of Nigeria Jane-frances Obiageli Agbu, Fred Mulder, Fred de Vries, Vincent Tenebe, Abel Caine Creating Open Textbooks: A Unique Partnership Between Oregon State University Libraries and Press and Open Oregon State Faye A. Chadwell, Dianna M Fisher Atolls, Islands, and Archipelagos: The California OER Council and the New Landscape for Open Education in California Lawrence Francis Hanley, Diego Bonilla Ten years of open practice: a reflection on the impact of OpenLearn Patrina Law, Anne Jelfs Localizing OER in Afghanistan: Developing a Multilingual Digital Library for Afghan Teachers Lauryn Oates, Jamshid Hashimi Women’s empowerment through openness: OER, OEP and the Sustainable Development Goals Leigh-Anne Perryman, Beatriz de los Arcos Book reviews Book Review of MOOCs: Opportunities, impacts, and challenges. Massive open online courses in colleges and universities Justin Keel 77 81 93 111 123 131 143 151 163 OER and Open Education. Introduction to selected papers Inés Gil-Jaurena Editor for Open Praxis. Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia — UNED (Spain) For a third consecutive year, Open Praxis has partnered with the Open Education Consortium for the publication of selected papers among those presented in the last Open Education Global Conference, which took place in Krákow (Poland) from the 12th to 14th of April 2016. Following a collaboration that led to the publication of special issues in 2014 (vol. 6 issue 2) and 2015 (vol. 7 issue 2), in this occasion the issue collects 8 selected papers. As stated in the conference website (, The Open Education Global Conference is the annual opportunity for researchers, practitioners, policy makers and educators to deeply explore open education and its impact on global education. Conference participants learn from thought leaders in open education and have the opportunity to share ideas, practices and discuss issues important to the future of education worldwide. Sessions cover new developments in open education, research results, innovative technology, policy development and implementation, and practical solutions to challenges facing education around the world. The theme of the conference in 2016 was Convergence Through Collaboration, and it featured various tracks, such as integration of open practices, collaboration, open education as strategy, or research to advance open education. The selected contributions relate to these topics and present either research results or innovative practice case studies. Among the diverse issues that the papers cover, we can group them into three main focuses: - A critical concern with various dimensions of open research, addressed in the first two selected papers. - Relevant examples of regional and institutional experiences supporting and promoting open education, presented in the next four papers. - Experiences of OER addressed to specific populations, teachers and women in developing countries respectively, seeking their empowerment through the use of OER, analysed in the last two papers. Papers submitted for publication in Open Praxis have followed a separate review process. The Open Education Global Conference 2016 Programme Committee first reviewed submissions for inclusion in the conference; those accepted for presentation and best rated by the committee were then recommended to Open Praxis for peer review and possible inclusion in this issue. The papers followed the usual submission guidelines in Open Praxis (i.e. double-blind peer review by two reviewers); additional revisions were requested during the peer review process, and finally eight papers were accepted for publication. Thomas William King, Cheryl-Ann Hodgkinson-Williams, Michelle Willmers and Sukaina Walji, from Cape Town University in South Africa (Dimensions of open research: critical reflections on openness in the ROER4D project), with a concern on favouring coherence between open ideology and open practice, take ROER4D as a case study to reflect upon fours dimensions of openness and exemplify how they approach them to undertake iterative open research. Ideological, legal, technical and operational openness are systematically analyzed in the paper, applied to ROER4D. The paper is an invitation to develop open research and hold a critical approach. ROER4D was one of the winners of the Open Education Consortium 2016 Project awards, in the category “Open Research”. Robert Farrow, from The Open University (United Kingdom), presents A Framework for the Ethics of Open Education. The ethical dimension in educational research and the implications of open data in research are discussed. The author presents a framework for thinking through ethical issues in contexts where openness is emphasized and/or without institutional support. The frame, which includes three positions within the normative theory (deontological, consequentialist and virtue ethics), is then applied to analyse the case of the OER Research Hub project. As the previous paper, this one is also an invitation to other researchers, in this case to incorporate the ethical dimension “in the open”. After those first two papers, which provide a reflection over various dimensions of open research, the next contributions present various relevant experiences of implementation of open education, narrated step-by-step and highlighting decisions, findings and lessons learned. Jane-frances Obiageli Agbu, Fred Mulder, Fred de Vries, Vincent Tenebe and Abel Caine, from National Open University of Nigeria, Open Universiteit in The Netherlands and UNESCO (The Best of Two Open Worlds at the National Open University of Nigeria) present the NOUN case in relation to OER. The paper explains in detail all the steps followed in the institution until they have reached and OER strategy and agenda. Framed within the situation of other open universities worldwide, NOUN has moved towards an OER-based university, and the paper highlights the process and lessons learned. It is remarkable that the Organizational Leadership Award, granted by the Open Education Consortium Board of Trustees, was awarded in 2016 to NOUN due to its strong determination to become a full-fledged OER-based Open University. Faye A. Chadwell and Dianna M. Fisher, from Oregon State University (US) (Creating Open Textbooks: A Unique Partnership Between Oregon State University Libraries and Press and Open Oregon State) introduce an open textbook initiative launched in partnership between the State and the University Library in Oregon. The project is clearly framed and explained in the paper. Being a successful initiative, it is being continued in a second phase now, with more prospective projects for adopting or developing OER in the horizon. Also referring to open textbooks as OER, Lawrence Hanley and Diego Bonilla, from the California Open Educational Resources Council (US), (Atolls, Islands, and Archipelagos: The California OER Council and the New Landscape for Open Education in California) explain the labour developed by this council. It is conformed by representatives from three California public higher education systems, with the mandate of locating, reviewing and curating a collection of open textbooks for the 50 most highly-enrolled courses. The paper explains the project, with a special focus on scale and complexity that the project has to face; on first findings about open textbook adoption and use, analysed through surveys and focus groups; and on sustainability of the council work. These elements are identified as key dimensions of interest to other OER projects. Closing this section, another institutional experience by Patrina Law and Anne Jelfs, from The Open University (UK) (Ten years of open practice: a reflection on the impact of OpenLearn), reports on the OU platform for free learning in its 10th anniversary. After a descriptive overview of OpenLearn, the authors introduce learners’ profiles, and focus specially on OU formal students as users of OpenLearn. The authors, building upon the gathered experience and analysis, collect some lessons learned, useful for open course providers. One of the OpenLearn projects, the Badged Open Courses, was recipient of one of the Open Education Consortium 2016 Project awards, in the category “Creative Innovation”. The first paper covering the use of OER with specific populations is written by Lauryn Oates and Jamshid Hashimi, from the Darakht-e Danesh Online Library for Educators in Afghanistan (Localizing OER in Afghanistan: Developing a Multilingual Digital Library for Afghan Teachers). They describe the development of a digital library in the three languages taught in the Afghan public school system. The need for localizing and contextualizing resources meets the need for increasing the available resources for teaching. Thus, the digital library purports to, at the end, improve teaching methods and educational quality in Afghan schools. The paper explains the process of creating the digital library, encountered challenges and decisions made in this pioneer initiative in Afghanistan. Leigh-Anne Perryman and Beatriz de Los Arcos, from The Open University (UK) (Women’s empowerment through openness: OER, OEP and the Sustainable Development Goals), analyse women’s’ digital exclusion and study, based on data collected on the OER Research Hub, developing world’s women’s interest in using OER, barriers to OER adoption, engagement with OER, and perceived impact of OER on teaching practices. This gender-based study describes women’s’ perceptions and uses about OER and advances their potential for empowerment. The authors suggest some valuable recommendations for OER and OER projects to include a gender equality component. Finally, a book review completes this special issue about OER and Open Education. Justin Keel, from US, presents a review of MOOCs: Opportunities, impacts, and challenges. Massive open online courses in colleges and universities, published by Michael Nanfito. It is our wish to contribute to the current and exciting debate about open education with the papers included in this issue. We specially thank from Open Praxis to the authors and the reviewers for their valuable contributions, and to the Open Education Consortium for the partnership and collaboration in the preparation of this special issue. Papers are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License Dimensions of open research: critical reflections on openness in the ROER4D project Thomas King, Cheryl Hodgkinson-Williams, Michelle Willmers & Sukaina Walji Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching, University of Cape Town (South Africa) , , & Open Research has the potential to advance the scientific process by improving the transparency, rigour, scope and reach of research, but choosing to experiment with Open Research carries with it a set of ideological, legal, technical and operational considerations. Researchers, especially those in resource-constrained situations, may not be aware of the complex interrelations between these different domains of open practice, the additional resources required, or how Open Research can support traditional research practices. Using the Research on Open Educational Resources for Development (ROER4D) project as an example, this paper attempts to demonstrate the interrelation between ideological, legal, technical and operational openness; the resources that conducting Open Research requires; and the benefits of an iterative, strategic approach to one’s own Open Research practice. In this paper we discuss the value of a critical approach towards Open Research to ensure better coherence between ‘open’ ideology (embodied in strategic intention) and ‘open’ practice (the everyday operationalisation of open principles). Introduction The Research on Open Educational Resources for Development (ROER4D) project was established in 2013 to contribute to a better understanding of the adoption and impact of Open Educational Resources (OER) in South America, Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia by developing a body of empirical evidence on OER activity in the Global South. The project comprises 18 sub-projects with 86 participating researchers and research associates across multiple time zones. It is coordinated by a central Network Hub team based at the hosting universities: the University of Cape Town (UCT), South Africa, and Wawasan Open University (WOU), Malaysia. Since its inception, the ROER4D Network Hub team, under the direction of the Principal Investigator, has aspired to adopt Open Research practices, recognising a natural affinity between OER and the other ‘Opens’—Open Access, Open Data, and Open Research. Based on the belief that ‘performing research in the open’ would lead to greater transparency, accountability and rigour, this approach manifested in an intention to release interim outputs, process documents, and other research products throughout the research process. In the course of project activity, certain initial assumptions about Open Research practice were revealed to be too optimistic, inappropriate, or difficult to implement. This engagement with Open Research practices led to specific choices in licensing, communication and dissemination that were more nuanced than initially envisaged. In this paper we discuss the value of a critical approach towards Open Research to ensure better coherence between ‘open ideology’ (embodied in strategic intention) and ‘open practice’ (the everyday operationalisation of open principles). Building upon Hodgkinson-Williams and King’s (2015) four domains of openness approach as a framework, we demonstrate how initial planning, complemented by an ongoing, iterative approach towards Open Research, can help to develop strategies to enhance congruence between the various domains of open practice which are appropriate in individual research contexts. The Four Dimensions of Openness in the ROER4D Open Research Strategy Defining ‘Open Research’ in the ROER4D context While the concept of ‘Open Research’ may be a new area of practice in social science research, it has been been a preoccupation of biosciences research for some time (Ohmann & Kuchinke, 2009). Although referring specifically to medical research, Ohmann and Kuchinke conceptualise open research as enabling the capacity to achieve “transparency … through open access, open data, open communication and open source software” (2009, p. 45). Wikipedia defines Open Research as an intention to share research publically with concomitant accountability inherent in sharing research methodologies, data and findings without barriers to access: Open research is research conducted in the spirit of free and open source software. Much like open source schemes that are built around a source code that is made public, the central theme of open research is to make clear accounts of the methodology freely available via the internet, along with any data or results extracted or derived from them (Wikipedia, n.d.). Weller has provided helpful explanations about how to “perform research practices in the open” (2012, p. 2), with examples of open practices including crowdsourcing, open online conferencing, open proposals, and sharing outputs such as presentations and publications. Building on these concepts, and Wiley’s “5Rs of Openness” (Wiley, 2014, p. 1), the ROER4D Network Hub has formulated the following definition of Open Research: Open research is the process of conducting and sharing research in which a selection of research proposals, work-process documents, literature reviews, methodologies, research instruments, analytical frameworks, findings and/or data are intentionally shared on publically-accessible platforms in order for others to freely access, use, modify, and share them subject to measures that preserve ethical practice and legal provenance (Hodgkinson-Williams & King, 2015, p. 5) The development of a shared, open ideology as a guiding principle for a particular research project carries with it a set of legal, technical and operational imperatives. Ideological openness The set of practices that characterise Open Research rest on a foundation of beliefs about the purpose and value of openness in research: an ‘ideology of openness’ (Gibbs, Rozaidi & Eisenberg, 2013) . While the concept of ‘ideological openness’ is employed in the literature, it is not always clearly defined (Chandra & Patkar, 2013) , or is sometimes used to describe broader ‘ideological self-disclosure’ (Klein 2011) —disclosing one’s ideological commitments and judgments. Tapscott and Williams (2013) popularised the idea of ‘radical openness’: the belief that reducing insularity, bureaucracy and secrecy in government, industry and research leads to better, faster innovation and development. However, Resnik (2006) considers that while openness may be essential to the scientific endeavour, there are many reasons for maintaining secrecy and protections. Indeed, the ideology of openness interacts with other ideologies of practice that exert in research, such as discourses around ethical practice, responsible research conduct, and what constitutes ‘good’ or ‘quality’ research. While openness is believed by many (Munthe & Welin, 1996; Poynder, 2015; Resnik, 2006) to serve the mandate of producing quality research, a commitment to Open Research may conflict with established doctrine in certain research cultures and with traditionally closed parts of the research practice, such as data production and early release of findings. Our use of the term ‘ideological openness’ is centred on the belief that Open Research adds value to the research process, which is made more transparent, accountable and verifiable to a wide scholarly and/or public audience through persistent and barrier-free access to the research outputs. Towards ideological openness in the ROER4D project Developing and explicating a coherent ideology of openness is an important foundational step towards Open Research practice. We found that before open research practices could be operationalised, we needed to develop a shared understanding and vocabulary of what openness was in the context of our project. In multilingual and cross-regional projects, the development of a shared vocabulary or understanding can be difficult to negotiate. The dominance of English in scholarly and scientific communication may lead to erroneous assumptions that the terminology employed when discussing Open Research (such as Wiley’s 5 Rs) is universally translatable and comprehensible. We found that language issues complicated attempts to build a shared research lexicon, due in part to the use of largely common-language terms (open, share, reuse, etc.) as key concepts within OER research; yet these English terms do not necessarily have equivalents in other languages. Furthermore, key concepts (such as “reuse” or “revise”) are used inconsistently across languages. Despite considerable effort to standardise terms across languages by OER advocates such as David Wiley (2014), the aspiration for a comprehensive shared set of descriptions in multiple languages for key concepts has not been entirely successful. Such ‘on-the-ground’ understandings of openness in the research process influenced how the project’s ideological openness was conceptualised and how it changed over time. Reflecting on how ROER4D’s ideological openness, expressed in various presentations and public interactions, such as OCWC 2014 (the annual conference of the OpenCourseWare Consortium) and the Open Education 2014 conference, indicates not only the intention to share early and often but also an evolving critical approach, in which the commitment to sharing openly by default is on condition that the sharing is valuable, legal and ethical. This condition refined the initial implicit and simpler open ideology expressed in the project proposal and scoping documents in which the alignment between OER and Open Research was alluded to but not explicitly defined; nor was there a precise strategy explaining how we intended to enact Open Research principles. The refinement came about as a result of reflection on the interplay (and misaligments) between a desire to conduct Open Research, the limited time and resources of the Network Hub (‘if it adds value’), and the need to protect researchers and research subjects (‘if it is ethical’ and ‘if it is legal’). Even though to ‘make open by default’ remained as the core principle, awareness of these misalignments began to emerge as a result of the self-evaluatory practices adopted by the Network Hub (Goodier, King & Hodgkinson-Williams, 2015) . Negotiating ideological openness has been an iterative process, and one in which understanding power relations between and the need for capacity development amongst research participants is particularly important. This is especially important in network-based or geographically dispersed projects where researchers pursue their own objectives, partly or largely in isolation from their project peers. While we argue that a strategic approach to openness is advisable, researchers will need to revise the overall strategy as their research progresses, particularly when engaging at-risk or vulnerable groups who may be uneasy about the release of interim research outputs or open data. Within this framework of ongoing negotiation, ideological commitment is enacted through the three other domains: legal openness, technical openness and operational openness. Legal openness Open licensing—such as the use of Creative Commons licences—provides the legal framework for Open Access, OER and Open Research. The ROER4D Network Hub’s commitment to sharing research outputs and data was enacted in the sub-grant agreements signed with sub-projects, which stipulated that (where possible) all outputs and findings would be made available under a Creative Commons licence to ensure the greatest possible development impact. The initial licensing terms allowed for a fairly generous interpretation of legal sharing in order not to compel researchers to contribute their research outputs and data openly, but rather to encourage a spirit of openness and responsible research conduct. This consideration regarding the level of openness and the readiness of the associated research community in the contracting process means that legal openness needs to be considered not only by project researchers, but also by institutional lawyers and senior authorities who endorse these agreements. A critical approach to legal openness allowed the project to determine which legal permissions would be feasible given the subject matter of the research, what was valuable for both the producers and users of the research, and what was practical given the levels of legal expertise and resources available internally or externally. The ROER4D Network Hub drew on prior documentation (Hodgkinson-Williams & Gray, 2009) and experience from other ‘Open’ projects at UCT—e.g. Opening Scholarship and OERUCT (Czerniewicz, Cox, Hodgkinson-Williams & Willmers, 2015) —to inform decisions. Towards legal openness in project documentation, research data and project outputs Publishing a selection of ROER4D research data in line with open principles proved to be more challenging than originally anticipated. From nascent initial plans to share research data in principle there emerged a nuanced and complex data publication strategy following the employment of a full-time Curation and Dissemination Manager to address the widely acknowledged challenges of Open Data (Floca, 2014; Pampel & Dallmeier-Tiessen, 2014) . The project recognised early on that openness as pertains to data sharing and legal permissions needs to be considered carefully in order to abide by ethical principles and protect research participants. A core ROER4D contractual provision stipulates that at no point will raw data (i.e. data still containing disclosive information that could be used to identify individuals) be shared, including exchanges between the sub-projects and the Network Hub. Subsequently, the project entered into a publishing agreement with DataFirst, an internationally recognised data service, whose expertise in data preparation and verification has supplemented the Network Hub’s data-sharing efforts. Open licensing of internal reporting documents has also presented a challenge, especially in the licensing of technical reports (i.e. those reports describing details of project implementation) by the Network Hub for the project funder. Although our contractual commitment expressed the desire to license outputs as openly as possible, in the case of technical documents of this nature we applied a Creative Commons Attribution No-Derivatives (CC BY-ND) 4.0 International licence as we felt the information needed to be stand as a complete record and that adaptation or derivation would compromise the intergrity of the information. While a critical and flexible approach to licensing of research outputs was possible in the project, research projects in the future may be constrained by funder mandates regarding licensing which are more prescriptive. This may limit options for flexibility. Therefore, early awareness of this at the contracting is beneficial as it has ramifications for implementing a contextually appropriate approach to legal openness. Technical openness Technical openness refers to the use of open file formats and open software development standards to ensure equitable access and discoverability of research. Depending on their technical format and/or mode of publication, outputs can manifest varying degrees of openness not necessarily aligned with their licensing provisions or the ideological commitments of their creators. The PDF format, for example, while ubiquitous, does not allow for easy revision or remixing unless the user possesses the necessary proprietary software, while outputs placed in obscure or inaccessible locations have minimal chance of being used, reused or revised regardless of their creators’ intentions. Towards technical openess for collaboration, availability, revisability and verification ROER4D’s approach to technical openness revolves around four elements that facilitate Open Research practice: 1. Collaboration: ensuring that, where appropriate, project documents can be written, edited and commented upon collaboratively within and beyond the ROER4D network. 2. Availability: ensuring that outputs are hosted on stable, secure platforms that facilitate open licensing and provide adequate metadata according to recognised international standards, thereby maximising their discoverability and no-cost accessibility. 3. Revisability/remixability: utilising open file formats (supported by open licensing) to facilitate access in a non-proprietary software context, allowing users to make changes, extract text or images, or otherwise alter the content. 4. Verification: the tools and instruments that support the analysis are freely available and facilitate interrogation of the research results. At the start of the project, we explicitly intended to address two key elements—availability and verification—while issues of collaboration and revisability emerged as a result of internal critical examination of our research processes. Our growing understanding of the importance of technical openness and a need to adhere to all four elements prompted the elevation of curation and dissemination from an ambition to a core project objective in order to address these issues systematically. Affordances of technical openness for collaboration One of the principal intentions of Open Research is to enable and support collaboration (Maurer, Rai & Salie, 2004; Woelfle, Olliaro & Todd, 2011) . To this end, the ROER4D Network Hub has used the cloud-based authoring tool Google Drive as its main research collaboration platform. This enables ROER4D researchers and mentors to create, review, edit and comment on shared project documents asynchronously across 16 time zones. As the Network Hub develops project documents, we open these up via Google Drive for input. While the use of Google Drive has been valuable where researchers are comfortable with the technology and have good Internet connectivity, researchers with limited connectivity or insufficient expertise have not always been able to use Google Drive effectively. The primary users of the document authoring features have been the Network Hub team, but Google Drive remains useful as an open storage space accessible by our researchers to monitor and comment on documents in progress. We maintain an agile approach to technical openness for collaboration and have on occasion used less technically open tools (such as Microsoft Word) if it aids collaboration with a particular researcher. Affordances of technical openness for discoverability Utilisation of stable curatorial platforms for sharing project outputs is vital in order to ensure that research outputs remain accessible and discoverable after the project ends. There are several online, publically accessible, open repository platforms (such as FigShare, Zenodo and Slideshare) which support different output types and disciplines, and can be adapted for a range of curatorial and publishing activities. We evaluated various repositories to determine the best fit for the project according to the following criteria: 1. Affordances for supporting open licensing. 2. Ability to accommodate multiple content types and genres. 3. Assurance of long-term stability. 4. Zero cost associated with deposit or access. 5. Use of an international metadata standards. While institutional platforms such as UCT’s open institutional repository (OpenUCT) were investigated, the ROER4D Network Hub has chosen to use Zenodo as the public curatorial space for its outputs, due to its stability, comprehensive licensing and metadata features, and capacity to accommodate a wide range of outputs from a cross-institutional group of researchers (institutional repositories such as OpenUCT only accept outputs from UCT-affiliated authors). As the ROER4D project is a grant-funded (and therefore time-bound) initiative, we needed to pursue options that enable longterm, free access to the materials under open licensing provisions without interrupted access. Affordances of technical openness for remixing File formats exist on a spectrum of technical openness, which impacts upon their accessibility, revisability and remixability. While certain, more ‘closed’ formats (e.g. PDF, EPUB) can usually be viewed with free software, it can be difficult to extract components of documents in these formats for revising and remixing without proprietary software. Open formats, such as ODT, ODS, HTML, XML and SVG, usually allow for access and remixing of constituent elements using open source software; while Microsoft Word is a popular choice for reuse and revision due to its ubiquitous use and familiarity, but requires proprietory software. Initially, the choice of ROER4D output formats was opportunistic, using what we had at hand and what we were familiar with. We become aware of the tension between our choice of document formats and the kinds of reuse we wanted to encourage, with a particular tension between PDF format and the ability to remix outputs. Due to lack of familiarity and the technical skills required to utilise open formats in the broader research community, we have decided not to default to the use of open formats while producing project documents, although we have committed to releasing final outputs under a range of formats to maximise revisability and remixability. Our approach to technical openness is informed by the ambition to provide end-users with affordances for revision and remixability of the outputs. Affordances of technical openness for verification Open research facilitates a value-added component to the research process: the verification of research through interrogation of open data. This means that access to the data that underpins the analysis and conclusions of the research process will also be shared openly where possible, enabling third-party analysis of the results and facilitates longitudinal and latitudinal studies without needing to contact the researcher to gain access to the data. We faced numerous challenging decisions around what data to make available (both quantitative and qualitative), how to best de-identify the data, which platforms to use, and which metadata to provide in order to optimise visibility and reusability. To guide decision-making a set of Data Publication Guidelines was devised (Willmers, 2015) as part of the ROER4D Open Data Initiative. Sharing data openly opens the research to in-depth scrutiny, and requires that data not only be comprehensive and accurate, but also that ethical procedures be conducted rigorously. As this area of activity is novel and potentially intimidating for researchers, the ROER4D project has not mandated that all sub-projects release their data openly, but supports those who do wish to do so. Operational openness For the ROER4D Network Hub, operational openness entails the enactment of the ideological, legal and technical principles in the course of conducting research. This can take many forms, including: early and frequent communication about the the project; sharing bibliographies, literature reviews, conceptual frameworks, and interim and preliminary findings; and actively developing networks of interested readers, colleagues and potential collaborators prior to the final publication of research outputs. Operational openness therefore refers to the openness practice that emerges as a result of critical reflection on when to be more or less open as the specific context dictates. To this end, the phrase ‘if it adds value’ has been a touchstone as we grappled with how and when to enact our commitment to ideological openness and where a more critical and nuanced approach towards openness was required. Towards operational openness in project activities and sharing outputs Within the Network Hub, we have adopted an agile approach to operational openness in order to support the research management process. An early activity was to make our weekly project administration meeting minutes available as a Google Document to which both partnering universities and the project funders had access. This small research management activity set the tone for our open practice and provided a platform to explore the experience of writing about research activities while others read and comment upon them dynamically. This process increased the rigour of our discussions as well as the accountability of our decisions, and highlighted the many sensitive decisions required when enacting ideological openness in research. The ROER4D Network Hub openly shares a range of outputs, including project proposal documents and technical reports (with summaries of individual sub-project reports) or extracts from technical reports that provide insights into the project without disclosing financial or contract details. In line with the guiding principle of ‘adding value’ while not unwittingly exposing researchers, we tried to model our operational openness through the activities of the ROER4D Network Hub, but did not require the same level of operational openness from others in the network For example, we created and maintained a publically shared ROER4D Bibliography1, in which the references used in the project were categorised, but did not require that sub-project researchers share their own bibliographies. An unexpected benefit of this activity came from outside the project in the form of an offer from John Hilton III, an OER researcher in the United States, to incorporate his 1 000-item OER bibliography with our then 450-itemed list. In this case, our operational openness resonated beyond the project before it resonated within the ROER4D community. Subsequently, one of the sub-projects has released their project’s annotated bibliography as a public document. Early and sustained communications about ROER4D was an attempt to operationalise open communications as part of Open Research practice. The project appointed a Communications Consultant to develop a communication strategy and engage with audiences through strategic use of social media, the ROER4D website, newsletters, weekly emails and SlideShare. Outward-facing stakeholder engagement and internal networking was further facilitated by the ROER4D Network Hub team’s attendance at conferences. This process of engagement was initiated well before interim outputs were scheduled for release in order to develop links with stakeholders and build a network of Global South OER scholars. The ROER4D communications strategy was therefore designed to be ‘dialogic’ rather than ‘transmissive’, in that the purpose of the communication is to develop an interested and interactive community of stakeholders whose commentary feeds back into the research process, rather than a one-way process of information delivery. Whether engaging in open research practices internally within the network or externally with potential research recipients, operational openness requires flexibility to account for possible changes in the methodology and refinements to the research process. Strategic decisions need to be made with regards to which open practices will be practical for the project given fluctuations in research formulation and progress. We found that a significant complicating factor in adopting operational openness is about timing and the difficulties associated with sharing interim data and analysis,. Releasing initial analyses may be misrepresentative of later analyses due to their partial nature, meaning that decision-making around the optimum time for data sharing is not straightforward. Moreover, some of our researchers have expressed the desire to ‘mine’ their own data before releasing it publically. The ROER4D Network Hub does, however, endeavour to release data and accompanying research instruments as soon as possible. An example of a ROER4D sub-project dataset (incorporating micro-data, instruments and extensive metadata) published via DataFirst is shown in Figure 1. Discussion Criticality in research can provide a self-reflexive lens for researchers and managers of research projects to examine how their practice aligns with their goals, surfacing areas in which there are tensions or contradictions in their Open Research practice and providing indicators for how to advance their openness in a way that is appropriate to their project context. Initially, aspects of the ROER4D Network Hub’s practice did not fully align with our ideology, a problem which only became visible after attempting to put our commitment to openness into practice. While this prompted changes in our practice, it also required a re-examination and subsequent refinement of our ideological position to one that adequately reconciled our belief in the value of openness with our commitment to quality, ethical research. In this sense, the interrelationship between the four domains was (and continues to be) iterative and coherent to various degrees at different stages of the project. Coherence is a worthy aspiration, but it may be elusive. As a new research orientation, Open Research ambitions are tempered by other priorities such ethical protection and quality assurance, and against the reality of limited resources. Individual researchers’ awareness and acceptance of Open Research also differ. Attempting to align all 86 researchers from different regions and across contexts to a single vision of Open Research seemed impractical and a distraction from the primary project deliverables. In ROER4D, the Network Hub acknowledged the difficulty of building consensus on appropriate Open Research practice amongst the broader researcher community, and so aimed to demonstrate our vision of Open Research practice and inspire the sub-projects to enact those aspects appropriate to their contexts and capabilities. We acknowledge that our context—operating under the auspices of a well-resourced institutional host, with human resources specifically allocated for expansive Open Research activity, and a focus on coordinating and supporting research—has allowed us to interrogate and develop our own practices in a way that less well-resourced projects or individuals may struggle to do. Conclusion ROER4D’s critical approach to openness is informed by the principle that research is only valuable if it is used. While some aspects of Open Research may seem like a departure from traditional methods, much of it speaks to the foundational aspiration to increase rigour and better communicate findings to maximise uptake and use—increasingly reflected in the growth of funder mandates that tend towards (mainly legal) openness. The ROER4D Network Hub’s experience suggests that adopting an Open Research strategy may be a way to improve the transparency and reach of research while simultaneously increasing rigour and building research capacity. Although a comprehensive Open Research plan is valuable, research contexts frequently change. An agile, iterative and strategic approach to openness is likely to better serve researchers than a rigid strategy, allowing researchers the freedom to adjust their ideological, legal, technical and operational approaches to improve their congruency. We term this approach ‘critical openness’ as a thinking tool to enable iterative strategic planning. Finally, we would argue against a single correct way of conducting Open Research. Contexts vary too widely and other pressures in the research process exert too strongly to support a prescriptive approach. Rather than a radical open approach, we argue for the importance of striving for congruency between the different domains of openness that researchers identify for themselves as valuable in their context. We encourage researchers to engage in Open Research not for the sake of openness, but as a tool for enhancing transparency and rigour and expanding the impact of their work. Acknowledgements This paper was presented at the 2016 Open Education Consortium Global Conference, held in Kraków (Poland) in April 12th–14th 2016 (, with whom Open Praxis established a partnership. After a pre-selection by the Conference Programme Committee, the paper underwent the usual peer-review process in Open Praxis. The ROER4D project was carried out carried out with the aid of a grant from the International Development Research Centre, Ottawa, Canada. Endnotes 1 2 Ohmann, C. & Kuchinke, W. (2009). Future developments of medical informatics from the viewpoint of networked clinical research. Methods of Information in Medicine, 48(1), 45–54. Pampel, H. & Dallmeier-Tiessen, S. (2014). Open research data: From vision to practice. In S. Bartling & S. Friesike (Eds). Opening Science: The Evolving Guide on How the Web is Changing Research, Collaboration and Scholarly Publishing. Retrieved from http://book. Poynder, R. (2015, October 23). Increased openness is the best way to tackle ethical problems in research and publishing. Online interview with Jayashree Rajagopalan. Retrieved from http:// Resnik, D. B. (2006). Openness vs secrecy in science research. Episteme (Edinburgh), 2(3), 135–147. Retrieved from Tapscott, D. & Williams, A. D. (2013). Radical Openness: Four Principles for Unthinkable Success. TED Books. Weller, M. (2012). The openness-creativity cycle in education. Journal of Interactive Media in Education, 2012(1). Retrieved from Wikipedia. (n.d.) Open Research. Retrieved 22 January 2016 from Open_research Wiley, D. (2014, March 5). The access compromise and the 5th R. Iterating towards openness. Retrieved from Willmers, M. (2015). ROER4D Data Publication Guidelines. [online]. Retrieved from https://docs. Woelfle, M., Olliaro, P. & Todd, M. H. (2011). Open science is a research accelerator. Nature Chemistry, 3, 745–748. Papers are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License Open Praxis, vol. 8 issue 2, April–June 2016, pp. 93–109 (ISSN 2304-070X) 2016 Open Education Global Conference Selected Papers A Framework for the Ethics of Open Education Robert Farrow The Open University (United Kingdom) What difference does openness make to the ethics of teaching and research? This paper approaches this question both from the perspective of research into the use of open educational resources (OER) in teaching and learning. An outline of the nature and importance of ethics in education research is provided before the basic principles of research ethics are examined through a discussion of traditional guidance provided by three UK research governance bodies: the Economics and Social Research Council; the British Education Research Association; and the British Psychological Society. The importance and foundation of institutional approval for research activities is analysed with several examples of the differences made by openness. It is argued that openness by its nature provokes particular issues for education researchers. A framework for understanding openness in education is then proposed based on basic meta-ethical positions (deontological; consequentialist; virtue). Used as a tool, the framework attempts to retain relevance in a variety of scenarios without requiring a dogmatic vision of openness (e.g. an insistence on open licensing). This framework is then evaluated in the context of the OER Research Hub project, which developed guidance for others in the form of an ‘ethics manual’ and online learning provided through the OER Research Hub’s ‘Open Research’ course hosted on P2PU’s School of Open. Use of the framework is intended to contribute to a better understanding of professional ethics for open practitioners. Keywords: open education, research ethics, professionalism, data, pedagogy, MOOC, OER The Emerging Open Paradigm There is widespread recognition that the move to digitized, online and freely accessible learning resources brings profound ethical challenges. New information technologies continue to change the way we teach and interact. The philosopher of technology Luciano Floridi has suggested that “the information society has been brought about by the fastest growing technology in history [. . .] No previous generation has ever been exposed to such an extraordinary acceleration of technical power over reality, with corresponding social changes and ethical responsibilities” (Floridi, 2011, p. 4). New technologies bring new forms of human interaction, requiring fresh engagement with their ethical import. This paper proposes a framework that focuses on the ethical significance of a particular group of educational technologies usually referred to as open education. A range of cultures, behaviours, practices and technologies from educational contexts may be described as ‘open’, including access to education or published research, policies, teaching methods, software, data sets and other educational resources. Open universities, now commonly found all around the world, have massively expanded access to education. Over the last decade—primarily in the form of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) and Open Educational Resources (OER)—the open education movement has expanded opportunities for education worldwide. “OER are teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others. Open educational resources include full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, and any other tools, materials, or techniques used to support access to knowledge.” (Hewlett Foundation, undated.) Other research (e.g. Sandys, 2005) identifies particular health-related benefits of the increased access to information offered through women’s use of ICTs, and many note that the various benefits of digital equality extend beyond individual women’s lives to those of their families, and to their communities. Women’s digital exclusion SDG 5, Target 5b acknowledges the fact that despite the potential for ICT use to contribute to women’s empowerment, women’s use of ICT is greatly lagging behind that of men in the developing world, with relatively little improvement in this situation over recent years. For example, Mijumbi (2002), exploring women’s digital exclusion in Uganda, identified diverse barriers to women’s ownership and use of ICTs including: • Gender inequalities; • Inadequate gender-sensitive policies supporting women’s ICT use; • Remote geographic locations with unreliable transportation infrastructure; • Poor ICT infrastructure in rural areas; • Illiteracy and lack of self-efficacy to use ICTs. Seven years later, Patil, Dhere and Pawar (2009) concluded that ‘oppressive gender relations’ were inhibiting women’s access to and ownership of ICTs in India and by 2015 a study of poor urban men and women across 9 developing countries by the World Wide Web Foundation (2015) reported that while nearly all women and men in those countries own a phone, women are still nearly 50% less likely to access the Internet than men in the same communities, with Internet use reported by just 37% of women surveyed and Internet-using women being 30–50% less likely than men to use the Internet to increase their income or participate in public life (World Wide Web Foundation, 2015). Table 1 shows the gender gap in Internet use across the 9 countries studied. The report identifies education and age as “the most important socio-economic drivers of the gender gap in ICT access”, with older, less educated women having far less access than younger, more educated women: “Controlling for income, women who have some secondary education or have completed secondary school are six times more likely to be online than women with primary school or less” (World Wide Web Foundation, 2015, p. 5). Additional drivers identified include the cost of Internet access, the impact of ‘patriarchy online’ and men’s censorship of what women see on the Internet. In the same year the World Wide Web Foundation report was published, Potnis (2015) gave a detailed account of both economic and non-economic reasons for the gender gap in ICT use in developing countries. Studying Indian women’s digital exclusion, and focusing on mobile phone ownership (which Madianou and Miller, 2011; and Potnis, 2011, cited in Potnis, 2015, identify as playing a key role in empowering women in developing countries) , Potnis explains that in India, mobile phones are by far the most common method of accessing the Internet but only 30% of mobile phones are owned by women. Potnis (2015, p. 2) observes that many of the inequalities posing a barrier to ICT use for women in the developing world replicate broader social inequalities. She divides barriers to women’s ICT ownership and digital participation into micro-level (individual), meso-level (related to family or group) and macro-level (regional or national), with reference to related literature (Table 2). Research around openness and development This paper’s focus on the potential of OER and OEP to help increase women’s empowerment in the Global South has links with broader research into the impact of OER projects in development settings. For example, since 2013 the ROER4D project ( has been conducting evidence-based research on OER impact and use in South America, Sub-Saharan Africa and South/ South East Asia and the OER Research Hub (now the Open Education Research Hub) have also researched OER use and impact in India (see Perryman, Buckler & Seal, 2014; Buckler, Perryman, Inequalities and Respective Barriers Socio-Cultural (e.g. oppressing gender roles for women in male-dominated societies; religious beliefs and practices) (Bourdieu, 1986; Hafkin and Huyer, 2008) Economic (e.g. inflation, lack of economic opportunities) (Annafari et al., 2013; Rice and Katz, 2003) Demographic (e.g. lower caste, less education) (DiMaggio and Cohen, 2003; Zainudeen et al., 2010; Dijk, 2005) Psychological (e.g., beliefs creating an inferiority complex among women) (Madianou and Miller, 2011) Geographic (e.g. rural vs. urban location, poor transportation infrastructure) (European Commission, 2005) • Women’s lack of freedom to make decisions • Lack of employment. • Inability to afford ownership of ICTs. • Illiteracy. • Lack of knowledge and/or skills. • Adverse attitudes toward ICTs (e.g. apathy about ICT adoption). • Lack of self-efficacy to own and/or use ICTs. • Neighbourhood with high crime rate or poverty. • Membership of organizations facilitating access to new media. • Low household income. • Social norms (e.g. parents saving money for the education of their male child but for the wedding of a female child). • High fees for ICT based services. • Shortage of ICT teachers. • Dominance of English on the Internet. • Long distances to ICT facilities. • Lack of ICT infrastructure (e.g. poor signal strength). Seal & Musafir, 2014; Perryman & Seal, 2015) and across the member states of the Virtual University for Small States of the Commonwealth (see Perryman & Lesperance, 2015). However, very little research has considered the potential of OER and OEP to help increase women’s empowerment in the Global South, though related research on the broader topic of ICT and women’s empowerment is growing (e.g. IT for Change, 2014; World Wide Web Foundation, 2015) , in part driven by SDG5b. Our own research, reported in this paper, draws on the open dataset produced by the Open Education Research Hub (OERH) as the basis for addressing three questions: • To what extent are women being empowered in developing countries through OER and OEP? • What are the barriers to women’s empowerment in developing countries through open educational resources and practices? • How might those barriers be removed? Methods Since 2013 the Hewlett-funded Open Education Research Hub (OERH), formerly Open Educational Resources Research Hub (OERRH), has collaborated with a range of projects and initiatives around the world and across educational sectors to gather evidence of the impact of OER use on teaching and learning, and facilitate comparative research. From a bank of questions ( OERHUBSurveyQuestions) designed to test eleven hypotheses (de los Arcos, Farrow, Perryman, Pitt & Weller, 2014) and explore teachers’, formal and informal learners’ perceptions of, and attitudes towards, open educational resources, a number of surveys were drafted and administered via some of the OERRH collaborations (e.g. OpenLearn, Siyavula, the Virtual University for Small States of the Commonwealth-VUSSC, and TESS-India). In total, 7,700 valid responses were collected and analysed with an aim to: • Profile users of OER—for example, their gender, age, academic qualifications and employment status; • Assess such users’ level of engagement with OER and identify the types of OER used and most popular repositories of open content; • Learn about the reasons for OER use and the barriers to adopting OER; • Evaluate the impact of open practices. The entire data set is available under an open license ( This paper analyses the OERH data in relation to women in the developing world’s existing use of OER and their OEP (and how this compares to that in the developed world), with particular attention to women’s interest in using OER, barriers to OER adoption, engagement with OER, and the perceived impact of OER on teaching practices. In order to categorise survey respondents, a distinction between developed and developing countries, or Global North and Global South, was made following Wikimedia’s regional classification ( by_regional_classification). SPSS software was employed in the analysis. Frequencies of all responses were calculated to have a general description of the data, and independent samples t-tests to examine whether there were statistically significant differences between women in the Global North and Global South, with North/South grouping as an independent variable. Cases with missing values were deleted analysis by analysis. Reliability was high on all subscales, i.e. Cronbach’s Alpha on 9 items measuring the impact of using OER on teaching practices (α = .91). The OERH dataset comprises 7,700 valid responses from 175 countries around the world, although most reside in the Global North (76%). Despite there being more female than male survey respondents overall (50.6%/48.4%), in developing countries female survey respondents account for only 36.6% (n=653). These women, however, are better qualified than their counterparts in the Global North: 71.6% of female respondents in the Global South hold either an undergraduate (31.4%) or postgraduate qualification (40.2%), a greater percentage than in the Global North (61.2%). Levels of employment amongst female respondents in developed countries are higher—43.5% work fulltime and 20.8% part-time—but also, more women in the Global North state their status as unwaged with domestic responsibilities—6.4% compared to 3.2% in developing nations. Interestingly, while 10.9% of all OERH survey respondents declare a disability, this percentage increases to 14% for female respondents in the Global North, and decreases to 3.8% for women in the Global South. Equally revealing are the differences between North and South with regard to Internet access: while 87.9% of female respondents in developed countries have broadband in their homes compared to 65.2% in developing nations, access via a mobile device does not set the two groups widely apart —68.7% of female respondents in the Global North and 61% in the Global South use an Internetenabled mobile phone. This is likely to be a reason for our not finding major dissimilarities in digital practices, with the exception of shopping online (Table 3). GLOBAL NORTH Sent an email Written a document using word processing software Used presentation software Performed calculations with spreadsheet software Contributed to a wiki (e.g. Wikipedia) Written a blog post Shared an image online Posted on a microblogging platform (e.g. Twitter) Took part in a videochat (e.g. Skype) Contributed to an Internet forum Contributed to a social network (e.g. Facebook) Used cloud-based storage (e.g. Google Drive) Shopped online Downloaded a podcast Downloaded a file using a torrent client Filmed and uploaded video content Used a virtual learning environment to study or teach Recorded and uploaded a podcast Count 2204 2135 1554 1491 368 695 1397 823 1334 932 1753 1366 1975 1112 440 628 1114 175 % 94.6 91.6 Findings Our analysis of female survey respondents in developed and developing countries shows significant differences in women’s motivation to use OER and how they engage with OER, while exposing technology as an acute dividing factor affecting OEP and emphasizing the impact of OER in widening the range of teaching methods employed by educators in the Global South. Interest in using OER When asked about their interest in using OER, a comparison between responses from women in developed and developing countries reveals that the latter give more importance to the role of open resources in their professional development (68.4% vs 56%), training others at work (22.2% vs 6.7%) and improving both their non-native language skills (32.7% vs 14.6%) and study skills (57.3% vs 47.7%). All these differences were found to be statistically significant (Table 4). A female educator from the VUSSC comments: Using OER puts you in contact with other teachers and you can learn from how they do things differently to you. I’ve changed a lot from using other people’s materials. You can also share your own work with many more people than you could by just publishing it in a journal and as a teacher you can benefit greatly from their feedback and learn how to improve things. A female respondent in India adds: ‘Knowing OER has really helped me in motivating people to use and adopt [resources] in better ways. I train teachers on how to use OER effectively for their teaching and learning.’ Improve non-native language skills *p < .001. °Eta squared. M Extending the comparison to the responses of women and men in developing countries, we find that using OER for professional development, for training others at work and improving one’s study skills are also ranked highly by male respondents. However, women are more motivated than men to use OER to improve their non-native language skills (32.7% vs 29.6%), to teach in an educational institution (30.3% vs 26%) and to find information rather than study a whole course (36.5% vs 28%). Challenges of using OER In relation to the barriers affecting the adoption of OER (Figure 2), although all survey respondents agree on the seriousness of overcoming technology problems when downloading resources, the challenge seems particularly severe for women in developing countries: 45.5% report technology as a barrier, compared with 27.3% of women in developed countries. Knowing where to find resources is ranked even higher as a barrier by female survey respondents in the Global South (50.8%), while the greatest difference between Global North and Global South refers to finding resources relevant to their local context—38.4% in developing and 28.4% in developed nations. In addition to these barriers, independent samples t-tests reveal statistically significant differences regarding women’s perception of their ability to edit resources to suit their needs, getting work colleagues/managers to accept the use of OER, and finding suitable resources in their subject area (Table 5). Finding resources in my local context Getting colleagues to accept use of OER *p < .001, **p < .01 °Eta squared. Not being skilled enough to edit resources Finding resources in my subject area –2.37** .002 M When analysing how the responses of men and women in the Global South differ in their perception of the challenges of using OER, although findings suggest that female respondents encounter generally higher levels of difficulty across all variables, statistically significant differences were only observed in finding context-relevant resources (t = 2.40, df = 803, p < .05), not knowing whether one has permission to use or change resources (t = 2.16, df = 771, p < .05), and not having enough time to look for suitable material (t = 2.52, df = 794, p < .05). Engagement with OER With reference to their engagement with OER (Table 6), female survey respondents in the Global South were found to have adapted resources to fit their needs (75.3%) and created resources for studying/teaching (28.3%) more often than female respondents in the Global North, but shared those resources online on an open license less frequently (6.5%). However, none of these differences were found to be statistically significant. Quotes such as ‘I have started feeling that there is no harm in sharing my slides and other study material across the globe, as it would [be of] benefit to a larger section’ possibly exemplify the embryonic but optimistic state of sharing practices in developing countries. I have adapted open educational resources to fit my needs I have created open educational resources for study or teaching I have created resources myself and published them on a CC license A comparison of types of OER highlights similar patterns of use in female respondents from developed and developing countries (Table 7). Female respondents in both developed and developing countries report comparable awareness of OER repositories, with YouTube (55.7% in the Global North vs 55.9% in the Global South), TEDTalks (38.8% vs 36.3%) and iTunes (36.7% vs 21.7%) being the most popular. Particularly notable is the fact that repositories specifically branded as ‘free learning’ and ‘open’ receive considerably less attention by both groups: MERLOT, for instance, is used by only 1.9% of female respondents in the Global North and 2.4% in the Global South; MIT courseware has been accessed by 16.4% in the Global North and 16.2% in the Global South; and Connexions by 2.6% and 3.7% respectively. Local repositories seem to fare better: a look at responses from female educators in India indicate widespread use of eGyanKosh (59%) and the National Repository of Open Educational Resources (NROER) (18.7%), although still below the prevalence of YouTube (65.6%). In addition, our data shows that male and female respondents in the Global South engage with OER in similar ways, with adapting resources to fit one’s needs being a more frequently reported behaviour than creating resources and sharing them openly. In like manner, YouTube, TEDTalks and Khan Academy are the most popular repositories, irrespective of gender, and open textbooks, ebooks and videos being the most commonly used types of OER. Impact of using OER on teaching practices Figure 3 shows a frequencies analysis of how female educators assess the impact of using OER on their teaching practices. An independent samples t-test revealed a statistically significant difference between women in the Global North and Global South in relation to the impact of OER on curriculum coverage (t = 3.17, df = 561, p < .005) and on the teaching and learning methods used (t = 2.16, df = 563, p < .05); women in the Global South (M = 2.26, SD = 1.13) perceive that OER use facilitates their greater coverage of the curriculum compared to women in the Global North (M = 2.58, SD = .99), and report that OER have broadened the range of teaching and learning methods they use in their classrooms (M = 2.23, SD = 1.13) more often than women in the Global North (M = 2.45, SD = 1.0). Statistically significant differences were also found that relate to the impact of OER on the development of ICT skills (t = 3.09, df = 207.8, p < .005) and use of multimedia (t = 2.70, df = 546, p < .05): female educators in developing countries (M = 2.39, SD = 1.2) report a greater improvement in their ICT skills than their counterparts in the developed world (M = 2.74, SD = 1.02), and also indicate they make use of a wider range of multimedia (M = 2.24, SD = 1.06) in comparison with women in the Global North (M = 2.52, SD = 1.03). Table 8 shows how female and male respondents in the Global South understand their teaching practices have been affected by the use of OER. Men seem to think that the impact is more strongly felt in their coverage of the curriculum, reflecting on the way they teach and broadening the range of teaching and learning methods used; women, however, regard the latter as the biggest impact of OER on their teaching, adding the effect on having a more up-to-date knowledge of their subject area and having broadened the range of multimedia they use in the classroom. One caveat, though; an independent samples t-test reveals that only the difference in use of multimedia carries statistical significance (t = 2.31, df = 299, p < .05). I have broadened my coverage of the curriculum I use a broader range of teaching and learning methods I have improved my skills in information and communication technologies I make use of a wider range of multimedia I make more use of culturally diverse resources I have a more up-to-date knowledge of my subject area I reflect more on the way that I teach I more frequently compare my own teaching with others I now use OER study to develop my teaching I collaborate more with colleagues FEMALE MALE Count 99 107 101 90 96 65 92 63 66 54 69.2 74.3 The findings discussed above show that the fairly small (in relation to the total OERH dataset), fairly well-educated group of female survey respondents that feature in our research are using OER relatively extensively for professional development, to train others, to improve their language skills, to broaden their range of teaching resources and to improve their teaching practice. However, our research is limited by our well-educated, Internet-connected self-selecting sample. It is clear, though, that these survey respondents are still facing barriers to their engagement with OER and OEP and reference to related literature indicates that a much wider range of barriers are in operation in the developing world and are preventing women from online participation and the potential for empowerment that it offers. Engagement with OER and OEP, and women’s empowerment On the basis of O’Neil et al.’s (2014, p. 1) definition of women’s empowerment as “a process of personal and social change through which [women] gain power, meaningful choices and control over their lives” it is apparent that OER, and OEP such as resource adaptation, sharing, collaboration and peer support have potential to achieve increased women’s empowerment. More specifically, our analysis of the OERH dataset offers an indication that both OER and OEP can help (some) women in the Global South to gain financial power and autonomy through low cost professional development and, following Gurumurthy and Chami (2014) , to gain: • Informational power: by giving women access to quality education, and to relevant, accurate and up-to-date information, including information on health, parenting and civic/political issues; and • Associational power: by giving free access to knowledge that could lead to women’s increased civic and political participation and engagement (also involving women gaining ‘communicative power’); by promoting and supporting networking with peers within and beyond the global south, through a culture of openness; and, through capacity-building, whereby OER are used by women to train others, resulting in a multiplier effect. The level of OER and OEP engagement shown by the OERH female survey respondents (and indeed the male respondents) in the Global South is particularly impressive considering the fact that our research suggests, in common with other studies (e.g. Perryman & Seal, 2015; Perryman & Lesperance, 2015; Perryman, 2013) , that female educators, formal learners and informal learners in the Global South face greater barriers to OER use than do similar categories of people in the Global North, especially in terms of the availability and reliability of technology and Internet access, the lack of resources relevant to local contexts and in specific subject areas, and a perceived lack of skill to adapt OER. This level of engagement, in the face of increased challenges over those experienced in the Global North, also echoes other, non-gender-focused studies (e.g. Perryman & Seal, 2015; Perryman & Lesperance, 2015) . Limitations of our research The relatively small number of OERH survey respondents from the developing world, and the even smaller percentage of female survey respondents from this area, indicates that empowerment through openness is being enjoyed by people who are already empowered. Indeed, the demographic of our sample suggests that OER use and OEP amongst women in the Global South may be limited to a particularly well-qualified elite and it is important to acknowledge that our research covers a limited, self-selecting sample that reflects the gender equality imbalances in the developing world. Inevitably, the OERH survey data, all collected online, does not cover people excluded from OER use and ICT due to lack of connectivity, equipment, opportunity and/or skill. Recommendations The World Wide Web Foundation (2015) report makes recommendations for measures that could help increase women’s digital inclusion (and, consequently, their engagement with OER and OEP), in the interests of empowerment: 1. Establish time-bound targets for equity in Internet access, use and skills, by gender and income level. 2. Teach digital skills from primary school onwards. 3. Smash the affordability barrier. 4. Practice woman-centred design. 5. Make women’s civic and political engagement an explicit goal. 6. Combat harassment of women online. 7. ‘It’s not (just) the technology, stupid’. In 7 above, the report makes the important point that: Empowering women does not happen in separate boxes labelled “offline” and “online”, but requires progress across several fronts at once. Government agencies, civil society groups and private sector stakeholders will need to work together in all sectors to ensure that ICT initiatives are systematically integrated with wider efforts to expand women’s choices and capabilities in the labour market, in the home, at school and in public life. Training policymakers across different sectors (such as health, education, small business, agriculture) to understand and harness the potential of ICTs to tackle poverty and gender inequality may be a good starting point. (World Wide Web Foundation, 2015, p. 7) More specifically, any increase in women’s empowerment through openness (and ICT engagement more broadly) needs to follow, or parallel, the removal of other, micro-level, meso-level and macrolevel (Potnis, 2015) factors connected with gender inequality such as lack of financial autonomy, low levels of literacy, child marriage, early motherhood, gender-based violence, traditional seclusion practices, the favouring of boys in families’ education investment, and the gendered division of household labour—all identified by UNESCO (2015, p.26) as amongst the “structural barriers and entrenched discriminatory social norms’ that impede women’s empowerment”, and featuring in Gurumurthy and Chami’s (2014) research framework (Figure 1) and Potnis’s (2015) table of barriers reinforcing the gender-related digital divide (Table 1). We strongly support the World Wide Web Foundation recommendations above, including their assertion that social, political, cultural and economic changes in the offline world are vital for achieving women’s empowerment both generally and through the use of ICTs (and, it follows, through engagement with OER and OEP). However, we have limited our own recommendations to those which researchers and OER/OEP projects can realistically achieve: 1. Extend the practice of releasing OER in a variety of formats, to mitigate against the cost barrier to engagement: The World Wide Web Foundation report (2015) suggests that cost is a major inhibitor to Internet connectivity and use of ICTs by women in developing countries, noting that: In the countries in our study, a monthly prepaid data allocation of one GB (enough for just 13 minutes of Web use a day, excluding video) costs, on average, about 10% of average per capita income. That’s 10 times more than what the same data costs the average OECD citizen, relative to income, and is double what people in developing countries spend on healthcare (p. 4). The consideration of cost is particularly pertinent to our own research in suggesting that it is possible that the ‘freeness’ of ‘online only’ OER would be irrelevant where the cost of connecting to the Internet to access such OER is prohibitive. While it has long been voiced that “no well-known definition of Open Educational Resources (OERs) states that the resource must be available online” and “in fact OERs do not even have to be digital” (Open Knowledge Foundation, 2014) , the majority of OER are released solely in digital format. That said, various OER for development projects (e.g. TESS-India) have been releasing multi-format versions of resources, including print, CD, SD card and radio-delivered versions, in order to meet the needs of their target users. We fully support the Open Knowledge Foundation (2014) recommendation that “when a version is available online there is need to encourage OER producers to offer an offline/portable version wherever feasible” and, indeed, we propose that this should be the default practice when creating and releasing OER. 2. Prioritise the development of communities of practice (Wenger, 1998) for the creation of OER and enactment of OEP, to include women at all stages of empowerment: Glennie, Harley, Butcher and van Wyk (2012, p. v) note the dangers of OER for development projects involving “the rich north [pushing] resources at the poor south” without thought of reciprocity, leading to one-directional flows of knowledge and resources—a tendency that replicates broader trends in international development. Acknowledging this, Perryman, Buckler and Seal (2014, p. 1) argue that “when collaboration is embedded within OER production and localisation, their creation and use can lead to a knowledge partnership approach whereby communities of OER practice engage in mutually beneficial sharing of expertise and contextual understanding”. We propose that it is important to have women as creators as well as consumers of ICTs (and OER), and that OER projects should seek to develop user-centred communities of practice such as those featuring in the Karnataka OER project (; see also Perryman, 2013) and operating in the Virtual University for Small States of the Commonwealth (see Perryman & Lesperance, 2015), as a means of providing skills development and peer support around women’s creation, use and evaluation of OER. 3. Move into the offline world when conducting research on ICTs and openness, and explore a broader range of barriers to digital participation and engagement with openness: The World Wide Web Foundation (2015) identify a correlation between women’s activities offline and online, for example in noting that: Women who are active in “offline” political and civic life are not only more likely to be connected in the first place, but are also three times more likely (controlling for education level, age and income) to use the Internet to express opinions on important or controversial issues than other women. We need to better understand this synergy between offline and online agency in order to learn how gender norms that silence women in both realms can be overcome (p. 5). It is clear that purely online research will only perpetuate the gender-related digital divide and we recommend that future research on openness in development contexts should include hard copy surveys delivered to hard-to-reach areas. In the next phase of our own research we will be conducting a new survey, covering a wider range of barriers to ICT/OER/OEP engagement, including societal, economic and cultural inhibitors to participation, specifically targeted to women, and conducted both online and offline. 4. Prioritise the localisation of existing OER, including translation into mother tongue languages to increase accessibility and relevance: Removing technological barriers to openness by increasing Internet connectivity and ICT availability and reliability, making ICTs more affordable to use, and minimising societal barriers to digital participation will not be effective in increasing engagement with OER if resources are contextually inappropriate and are inaccessible due to the language in which they are presented. Robinson-Pant (2007, p. 429) points out that “in many countries of the world there is gendered access to languages” and “whereas men and boys have often had the opportunity to learn the language of power at school, women may only know how to speak their mother tongue”. IBIS (2014 , p. 2) concur that ”marginalised people (especially women) speak languages that are often not valued or even recognised outside their communities” and that these “’linguistic minorities’ often outnumber speakers of the dominant/national language”. Consequently, IBIS argue, “the question of language thus has huge implications for participation, governance, citizenship, fulfilment of rights and the distribution of power and resources”. We believe that the ‘question of language’ also has huge implications for empowerment through openness and we therefore recommend that OER localisation should include translation into mother tongue languages where possible. Ivins (2012 , p. 219) argues that “localization must involve locals; a community of practice bolsters localization; localization must be done in appropriate formats; and effective localization is directly proportional to understanding local contexts”. Accordingly, localising resources on a community of practice, or crowd-sourced basis could be of value here in drawing on the skills of experts in these languages. Conclusion So, what can the open education movement do to help increase women’s empowerment through openness, and specifically OER and OEP? We propose that while top-down initiatives can be effective in attracting funding and institutional support for projects intended to achieve transformation in a development context it is also crucial for such projects to have a bottom-up focus driven by the people they are aiming to help. Communities of practice (Wenger, 1998) such as Karnataka OER can work well in this regard, especially in facilitating capacity building. However, communities of practice such as Karnataka OER are often dependent on at least some Internet connectivity and ICT skill amongst members and, for some women, participation in such communities is precluded by societal and structural factors such as discrimination, isolation, lack of autonomy and financial power, and lack of access to education. These basic ‘unfreedoms’ (Sen, 1999) need to be removed before the full potential of openness can be realised. Advocacy, activism and raising awareness is important here and, indeed, the 2015 SDG have driven a renewed focus on this in relation to SDG5. Partnerships with NGOs and other organisations working in the Global South can also work well in informing localisation of OER in terms of language, content and appropriate formats. Above all, we recommend that all OER and OEP projects operating in the Global South should have a gender equality component to ensure the privileges typically enjoyed by the open education movement can be leveraged to help contribute to achieving widespread women’s empowerment, on a global scale, as swiftly as possible. Acknowledgement This paper was presented at the 2016 Open Education Consortium Global Conference, held in Kraków (Poland) in April 12th-14th 2016 (, with whom Open Praxis established a partnership. After a pre-selection by the Conference Programme Committee, the paper underwent the usual peer-review process in Open Praxis. References Kleine, D. (2008). ICT4What?—Using the Choice Framework to operationalize the Capability Approach to Development. Retrieved from 09sp/ictd09/Kleine.pdf Mijumbi, R. (2002). ICTs as a tool for economic empowerment of women: experiences from the use of a CD ROM by rural women in Uganda. Report for United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women. Retrieved from Open Knowledge Foundation (2014). Do open educational resources have to be online? Open Education Handbook. Retrieved from draft/_v/1.0/do-open-educational-resources-have-to-be-online/ O’Neil, T., Domingo, P. & Valters, C. (2014). Progress on Women’s empowerment: From technical fixes to political action. Development Progress Working Paper 06. Retrieved from http://www. womens_empowerment_-_from_technical_fixes_to_political_action_final_-_20-11-14.pdf Patil, D., Dhere, A., and Pawar, C., (2009). ICT and empowerment of rural and deprived women in Asia. Asia-Pacific Journal of Rural Development 19(1): 1–22. Perryman, L. (2013). Addressing a national crisis in learning: open educational resources, teachereducation in India and the role of online communities of practice. Seventh Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning (PCF7), 2–6 Dec 2013, Abuja, Nigeria. Retrieved from Perryman, L., Buckler, A. & Seal, T. (2014). Learning from TESS-India’s Approach to OER Localisation Across Multiple Indian States. Journal of Interactive Media in Education, 2014(2), 7. http://dx.doi. org/10.5334/ Perryman, L. & Lesperance, J. (2015). Collaborating across borders: OER use and open educational practices within the Virtual University for Small States of the Commonwealth. Open Education Global Conference 2015, 22–24 April, 2015, Banff, Alberta, Canada. Retrieved from http://oro. Perryman, L. & Seal, T. (2015). Open educational practices and attitudes to openness across India: reporting the findings of the OER Research Hub pan-India survey. OER15, 14–15 April 2015, Cardiff. Retrieved from Potnis, D. (2015). Inequalities creating economic barriers to owning mobile phones in India: Factors responsible for the gender digital divide. Information Development, 1–11. 10.1177/0266666915605163 Robinson-Pant, A. (2007). ‘Literacy’. In B. Bank (ed.). Gender and Education: An encyclopaedia. Volume 1. (p. 429). London: Praeger. Sandys, E. (2005). Women 2000 and Beyond, Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women Through ICT, United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women. Retrieved from Sen, A. (1999). Development As Freedom. Oxford: Oxford University Press. UNESCO (2015). Education for All Global Monitoring Report 2015: Gender and EFA 2000–2015 achievements and challenges. Retrieved from 234809E.pdf?new Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of Practice: learning, meaning and identity. London: Cambridge University Press. World Wide Web Foundation (2015). Women’s Rights Online: Translating Access into Empowerment. Retrieved from Papers are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License Open Praxis, vol. 8 issue 2, April–June 2016, pp. 181–183 (ISSN 2304-070X) Book Review of MOOCs: Opportunities, Impacts, and Challenges. Massive Open Online Courses in Colleges and Universities MOOCs: Opportunities, impacts, and challenges. Massive open online courses in colleges and universities, Michael Nanfito, Publisher: Author, December 11, 2013, 205 pages, ISBN-13: 9781494495886 (softcover). Reviewed by: Justin Keel Frostburg State University (USA) Introduction For several years there has been hype about Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) in higher education. These MOOCs are changing the landscape of higher education by changing the way online education is viewed. Many unanswered questions exist for faculty, administration, and students about how these MOOCs will impact the current status quo in the American university. Now that the hype is slowing down around the creation of MOOCs, it is the time to analyze the struggles and successes of these massive online courses. As the title points out, the author strives to analyze opportunities, impacts, and challenges for universities now that MOOCs are part of this educational landscape. Each chapter of this book has two goals. To look at things that have gone wrong in MOOCs offered up to this point, and also to look at new and innovative practices that can be incorporated into higher education. To facilitate these goals, the author has broken up this text into three sections (a) The Landscape, (b) Nuts and Bolts, (c) The Shape of Things (to consider). The author has written this book to appeal to college and university faculty and administrators, but this book would also appeal to the general public interested in the current and future landscape of higher education. Content Part 1: The Landscape The first section of this text includes three chapters: Isolating the Hype, Identifying Expectations and Hope, and Demographics of MOOCs. These three chapters focus on the current realities of MOOCs. Included in these chapters are the current public/private partnerships, current funding models, and current enrollment data in MOOCs. In this text, the author presents several questions about MOOCs. How should universities count MOOC enrollment? Why are completion rates so low in MOOCs? Should universities charge for MOOCs? Who is enrolling in MOOCs? As in most of this book, there are not answers to many of these questions, but developing an improved model of higher education begins with asking good questions. Justin Keel Part 2: Nuts and Bolts The second section of this text includes two chapters: Impacts of Online Learning Technologies and Can MOOCs be Made to Add Up. The first chapter in this section looks at the software platforms that are being used to facilitate MOOCs. This chapter also includes information about the necessity of accessibility, copyright, and bandwidth issues that have been noted in early MOOCs. Chapter five deals with money. This chapter looks at corporate partnerships and other methods of funding a MOOC. Some of the methods of paying for an open course seem to be selling advertising space in the course, charging for test proctoring, charging for a completion certificate, or charging for course credit. The author makes no judgment on the correct model for any institution, but does provide a rudimentary analysis of each of these scenarios. Part 3: The Shape of Things (to consider) The last section of this text includes four chapters: Creditable Credits, Measurement of Knowledge and Competency, The Rise of the Machines, and the Conclusion. Chapter six looks at traditional university credits and how they may apply to MOOCs. Some may ask if college credit should be given for completion of a MOOCS. Others think that credit should be given for this type of course work, but the traditional credit (which was created to reflect seat time) is no longer a valid measure for universities. Again, the author provides no judgment on this matter, but does provide information for the reader to form his/her own ideas. Assessment of students is a hot topic in every area of education. Assessment in the MOOC area provides its own challenges. MOOC providers have the option to develop assessment systems that will provide credit for completing the MOOC. Alternatively, an option being researched by several universities is the ability to complete competency exams for courses offered at the university. This exam option would allow students to get credit for all of their prior knowledge, not just the knowledge acquired from a MOOC. Just like assessment, big data and data analytics are growing topics in higher education. The class sizes of MOOCs provide a significant advantage in for data analytics by increasing sample sizes. MOOCs are providing a unique area for big data and data analytics. They provide a large sample size of students while completing all interactions online. This data can be analyzed to provide teaching and learning insight to future MOOCs, as well as, traditional online and face-to-face courses. Chapter eight also briefly discusses adaptive learning. Many textbook publishers and platform vendors are working on adaptive learning environments. These environments can be a benefit to students when used correctly to give the student the level of learning he/she would benefit from the most. In the last chapter of this text, the author makes the conclusion that MOOCs are here to stay. Face-to-face courses are also here to stay. It is up to each institution to review their strategic plan and mission and decide what mode of delivery fits into these documents. MOOCs are not the answer for every higher education institution, but they will have a place in the landscape. Conclusion This book is a great practical look at the MOOCs that have been carried out by individual universities and in university/private company partnerships. It is an easy read and applicable to university administrators and faculty members, as well as, students, parents, and anyone interested in higher education in America. The author does a good job of providing information while allowing the readers to draw their own conclusions. This book also provides a reference section in each chapter for Book Review of MOOCs: Opportunities, Impacts, and Challenges. Massive Open Online Courses in Colleges 183 and Universities readers to dig deeper in any area of the areas covered. In conclusion, this book covers the 2013 landscape of MOOCs in higher education very well. The topics of online learning technologies, learning analytics, awarding college credits, and strategic planning covered in this book can also be applied to current MOOCS and traditional online courses. This book is a valuable contribution to the field of online learning through a consolidated and unbiased look at MOOCs. 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Unpublished paper underpinning presentation at the 12th Annual Open Education Conference , 18 -20 November 2015 , Vancouver, Canada. Klein , D. B. ( 2011 ). In praise of ideological openness . Economic Affairs , 31 ( 3 ), 54 - 55 . http://dx. 0270 . 2011 . 02101 .x Maurer , S. M. , Rai , A. & Salie , A. ( 2004 ). Finding cures for tropical diseases: Is Open Source an answer ? PLoS Medicine , 1 ( 3 ). Munthe , C. & Wellin , S. ( 1996 ). The morality of scientific openness . Science and Engineering Ethics , 2 ( 4 ), 411 - 428 . Buckler , A. , Perryman , L. Seal , T. & Musafir , S. ( 2014 ). The role of OER localisation in building a knowledge partnership for development: insights from the TESSA and TESS-India teacher education projects . Open Praxis , 6 ( 3 ), 221 - 233 . 136 de los Arcos , B. , Farrow , R. , Perryman , L. , Pitt , R. & Weller , M. ( 2014 ). OER Evidence Report 2013-2014 . Retrieved from uk/41866 Glennie , J. , Harley , K. , Butcher , N. & van Wyk , T. ( 2012 ). 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Proceedings of Cambridge 2012 : Innovation and Impact-Openly Collaborating to Enhance Education, a joint meeting of OER12 and OpenCourseWare Consortium Global 2012 . Cambridge, UK. Kabeer , N. ( 1999 ). Resources, Agency, Achievements: Reflections on the Measurement of Women's Empowerment. Development and Change , 30 , 435 - 464 . Retrieved from https://www.utsc.

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Inés Gil-Jaurena (ed.), Various Authors. Open Praxis, volume 8 issue 2, Open Praxis, 2016, 75-183, DOI: 10.5944/openpraxis.8.2.323