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Min Ja Kim1, Sang Kyung Lee2, Doo Bong Han3
Researcher, Center for Teaching and Learning, Korea University Assistant Manager, Center for Teaching and Learning, Korea University 3 Director, Center for Teaching and Learning, Korea University
This paper aims to establish strategies to raise social awareness of OpenCourseWare (OCW), especially for course contents providers. OCW projects are on the increase across institutions in nations in Asia. Although this is a very positive sign for the development of OCW and meeting the goals of OCW, mere concern among institutions is not enough to achieve the primary goals of OCW. It seems that voluntary and active participations from providers and users are omitted from OCW projects. One effective way of increasing voluntary participation is raising social awareness. In order to determine how to raise awareness among contents providers, mainly professors, of OCW, this paper analyzes internal and external factors affecting them. The main focus of the strategies suggested in this paper is to utilize driving forces by implementing appropriate programs or creating systems of recognition and reward, and lowering barriers to participation by phrasing out hindrances. In addition to the theoretical analysis, many programs can be implemented along with this simple strategy. Selected examples of programs are also briefly introduced in this paper. It concludes by spotlighting the great potential the Asian region has for OCW – unmet needs and development of higher education, which might differ from Western institutions. By raising awareness of OCW, it is possible to achieve the genuine goals of OCW, and, this in turn will enhance higher education in Asia.
The Open educational resources (OER) movement including OpenCourseWare (OCW), has spread across the world. Institutions in Asia motivated by improving competiveness, fear of lagging behind and sometimes pure altruism, have actively launched OCW projects. Since the OCW movement requires more freely accessible course contents to meet its primary objective - the sharing of knowledge worldwide (D’antoni, 2008) - this is a positive phenomenon for development of OCW. However, this strong institutional-level aspiration seems not to have penetrated into the real course providers and users. The level of
even if an institution secures financial funding. organizing and managing the places are in vain. The strategies suggested here require different efforts and budgets. this paper begins by analyzing perceived gains or incentives and barriers to participating in OCW projects by referring to the literature. The only possible solution is reducing the weight of an OCW project while maintaining funds from various sources. Thus. The familiarity with OCW among contents providers. An OCW project can be sustained financially if an institution can expect to obtain longer term external funding or has a systematically light body so that it can be sustained with small investment. it affects the sustainability of the OCW movement. Then we suggest strategies for maximizing gains and minimizing barriers. and intentions toward contributing. Asia has a great potential for expanding OCW since large populations are in need of quality-based higher education. Awareness Raising on OCW What is the single most important factor for OCW? We think spontaneous participation from both providers and users is the heart of OCW. No matter how many places are open for people. as practitioners. We hope to share and listen to results of these strategies after their implementation at the Conference next year. This is the research question of this paper – how to improve contents providers’ awareness of OCW. Rather. Thus. Appropriate incentives can be facilitators for spreading the OCW movement among the real beneficiaries of OCW. The issue of sustainability is central to every institution participating in the OCW movement. Firstly. creating. Sustainability is not equal to continuation of operation. Assuming that an institution obtains continuous funds from foundations or governments. There are two main reasons why voluntary participation is critical for OCW. according to anecdotal evidence. perceived benefits of participating in OCW.recognition among providers and users is considerably low. Furthermore to contribute to increased access to knowledge worldwide. an institution can establish multiple strategies according to their situations. it cannot be said that this project is sustainable. both internally and externally. most institutions are depending on the external funds which are not guaranteed for the future. mostly professors in institutions. it includes accomplishing goals for longevity of a project (OECD. How familiar course providers and users are with OCW closely correlates to participation and contribution rates. since it has longevity but could not accomplish the goals. In reality. based on the analysis. 2. it might be able to sustain an OCW project financially. 2 . The answers cannot be drawn easily without a deep understanding of course providers’ attitudes and beliefs about OCW. OCW is a place for people to interact in higher education. if no one comes. 2007). if it does not raise social awareness of OCW. is particularly critical for securing enough contents and for expanding OCW. their awareness of OCW’s potential is central to this movement. we need to ask how we can raise contents providers’ awareness of OCW. The key to reducing project weights is encouraging voluntary contributions. Therefore. but can be a party without guests if only project managers participate. Therefore.
and equip learners with the competencies and skills for the current and emerging knowledge-based societies and economies (OLCOS. what is the reason for OCW exists? These goals cannot be achieved without voluntary participation. If no one interacts with others. The degree that people are exposed to and are aware of OCW defines the level of participation and contribution. raising social awareness of OCW is significant for expansion and development of OCW. 3 .Secondly. many people recognize awarenessraising as most urgent for improving the Open Educational Resources movement. A study showed that there is correlation between this important factor – participation – and familiarity with OCW (Hardin. especially from disadvantaged areas like rural areas in a country or developing nations. provides materials and uses OCW materials usefully. All types of appropriate efforts to increase familiarity with OCW and ultimately expand participation are termed awareness-raising activities. Regardless of participants’ occupations and regions. What are the purposes of OCW? Apart from each individual institution’s distinctive and specialized purposes. 2008) In practice. 2007). to promote awareness-raising as a top priority. the goals are generally similar for all OCW projects. the participants commonly answered that awareness-raising is the most important thing need to be addressed (D’antoni. Figure1. Priority issues in rank order (Source: D’antoni. Over 500 people from various regions participated in IIEP’s (UNESCO International Institute for Educational Planning) virtual forum. participation is closely related to the genuine goals of OCW. 2008) (Figure 1). OCW aims to improve the quality of education by sharing educational materials and interactions between professionals and learners. In this regard. institutions or sometimes governments are eager to create OCW projects. Due to this reason. 2009). enhance access to higher education.
advertise or implement proper strategies for improving voluntary contributions and participation. Based upon this analysis. How to improve social awareness on OCW? 3.However. The top-down approach naturally inclines toward centralization of an OCW project. seems common in Asia. teachers and instructors to share course materials. Subsequent sections will analyze internal and external driving forces and barriers for course providers to participate in OCW projects. 3. However. However. Since the initiation of the open educational resources (OER) movement’s initiation. Altruistic or community support reasons Personal non-monetary gain Commercial reasons The attitude of “It is not worth the effort to keep the resource closed” The first motivation is altruistic and community support reasons. The top-down approach itself can accelerate the proliferation of OCW projects within a short period of time. There are already a number of awareness-raising activities among users in the world and raising users’ awareness can preced providers’ awareness-raising. administrators and managers of OCW projects need to have strategies to raise awareness of OCW. Unless institutions promote. this paper uses ‘professor’ or ‘course contents provides’ concepts including the meaning of ‘professors as users’ to analyze professor groups’ perceived gains and incentives. understanding course providers’ interests and driving and detruding forces need to first be addressed.1. 4 1 . securing OCW contents created by Asian institutions is largely in need. starting from an institution reaching to participants. if Asian institutions do not want to be mere recipients of the OCW movement from Western education and want to contribute to the world. ‘users’ implies only students and self-learners. but it has a critical defect which is not negligibly small. The actors in OCW can be classified as providers and users. Therefore. strategies to raise awareness will be discussed. This top-down approach. the degree that potential participants are aware of OCW is under question. it seems difficult to bring about change contrary to the nature of the top-down structure. Raising awareness of both is essential. Course providers Professors also are users of OCW contents. many institutions and researchers have conducted surveys in order to determine the main incentives and inhibitors. After comprehensive case studies. the OECD report (2007) summarized four main motives for individual researchers. Incentives and Barriers at the Individual Level Prior to moving on to strategies to raise awareness on OCW. which pursues goals that can be achieved by less centralized and spontaneous participation. in the Asian context. but we think raising providers’ awareness should take precedence over raising users’ awareness 1. Thus.
gaining feedback. Contents providers regard this factor as the most important for sharing their materials (Figure 2). the OECD found that vague and non-practical goals are not effective. some institutions directly provide financial incentives to compensate for contributing course contents. Although this motivation has the least popularity according to the public survey (Figure 2). clearing copyrights. opportunities to restructure and systemize lectures. and bringing down costs for students is important for eliciting this motivation. In an indirect way. outreaching to disadvantaged communities. and could draw genuine participation. Popularity derived from open contents can be invaluable for launching commercialization scenarios such as publications or special lectures. On the other hand. The other special nonmonetary gains from participating in OCW activities are support for digitizing teaching materials. reputation. They will be acknowledged as creators of resources or course materials when these are used and gradually gain public recognition and reputation. What is important to you as a producer of open contents Be personally financially recompensed for the use Have your group/department/institution financially recompensed Know how the resources are used Know the changes made to the resource Have a quality review of the resource Be acknowledged as the creator Be acknowledged as the creator when the resource is adapted or changed 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% (Source: OECD. To arouse altruism. However. or “egoboo”. as Anderson explained in his book (2009). articulated goals are required. but 5 . Articulating explicit impacts or goals of OCW projects such as assisting developing countries. 2007) Some believe that innovation occur effectively not by patent or copyright systems. Direct support can be the strongest incentives for encouraging contributions as long as budget allows. The third motivation to participation is commercial reasons. and increased possibilities for future publications. Second is personal non-monetary gains represented as publicity.recognize the importance and positive impact of sharing educational materials and are satisfied by the fact that they have participated in performing a good deed. Figure2. However. providing free contents can create another value-added market. one needs to consider whether this is a sustainable strategy or a strategy for sustainability. this is a powerful driving force to attract people.
In this research. As regards the second motivation – non-monetary gains. Respondents also pointed out that the lack of know-how for producing and using OCW contents is another main inhibitor. holding lectures and other requirements for the tenure process without OCW. 2007) The inhibitor the most respondents identified is a lack of time and skills to produce and use open educational resources. conducting research. The three major barriers are below: Lack of time and skills Absence of a reward system Feeling of loss of control over materials Figure3. This is fourth motivation. the OLCOS (Open eLearning Content Observatory Services) study analyzed how teachers view open educational contents (OLCOS. Also. Also. 193 people from 49 different countries throughout the world identified the main barriers to participating in the open educational movement (Figure 3). lessons learned and suggestions for enhancing the value of educational resources as a gain. 2007). some believe that “what is junk to one may be gold to another”. Barriers to producing open educational resources Lack of interest in padagogical innovation among staff members No support from management level Lack of business model for open content initiatives Lack of skills No reward system for staff members devoting time and energy Lack of time 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% (Source: OECD.by opening and sharing. they viewed academic interaction by providing their own assessment. These two reasons relate to the second barrier – the absence of a reward system to 6 . They believe that it helps to avoid unnecessary duplication of efforts and increase the speed of innovation. Teachers as users believed that they could gain from accessibility to a broader range of subjects and topics and save time and effort to create new educational materials by reusing resources. The OECD (2007) also surveyed the factors inhibiting contents providers’ participation. Most professors already fully utilize their time by writing papers.
Financial gains in return for giving away contents or as compensations 2) Conditions that contents providers require for becoming more involved in OCW Skills for creating OCW contents Know-how for using open source materials Copyright law Simple participation process Reward system The lessons above are the basis for setting strategies. Clarifying the ways that their contents can be protected by copyright. One effective strategy can be to establish a credible academic reward system that includes the production and use of OCW contents. OECD (2007) suggested that establishing a credible academic reward system might be the single most important policy issue for the large-scale deployment of OER in teaching and learning. we can draw the following lessons: 1) Factors that contents providers regard as gains or incentives for participating in OCW Sense of participating in good deeds Reputation By-products – clearing copyright. Relevant reward systems can help professors put to devote greater priority to participating in OCW projects. etc. Strategies Four sets of strategies can be drawn from the lessons learned from the previous analysis.2. digitization of course materials. 3. Based on this analysis. By understanding perceived gains and incentives. which means that it helps them make time for participating in it and learning the required skills. and needs and barriers. The third issue is also a significant barrier for professors taking on an OCW project. we suggest four sets of strategies for raising awareness and consequently expanding participation of contents providers. 2006). educating them about the Creative Commons License (CCL) options they can choose for the protection and enabling them to add comments to their materials about their appropriate usage would lower this barrier. Each will be discussed in detail in below sections. especially among humanists (ACLS.2. These are discussed in Section 3. This issue can be addressed by understanding the conservative culture of scholarship. Professors feel loss of control over their materials of users and concern on possible misuse or misunderstanding among users because of the lack of an appropriate context in the material. 7 . These strategies are divided by target incentives or needs.encourage professors to devote time and energy to produce open contents. and resolving and clarifying copyrights and metadata issues.
an institution needs to set distinctive and specialized goals apart from the general purposes of OCW.g. Through this process. advertisements. It helped raise awareness among students and faculty members within and outside Korea University. Awareness-raising among users is a powerful method to enhance professors’ participation and itself real purpose of OCW. and unmet needs for the general public to access to higher education. This promotion strategy can improve social awareness of not only professors but also users. promotion strategies can be used. Korea University. Consolidating ‘Internal Stability’ Strategy This strategy aims to arouse altruism for those who regard participating in helpful deeds as an incentive. University of Iowa for WiderNet. event. As mentioned. for instance. orientation. Educating professors is also needed.g. Above all. Educational gaps within a nation and between nations are severe as economic development has accelerated. 2007). To improve recognition on an OCW project in an institute. increasing incentives. the purposes of OCW should be delivered 8 . Education – e. This will be discussed in the next section. an institution can also effectively advertise its OCW project. participants will feel a sense of duty and reward. Popular social network services can be economically effective tools for spreading OCW. advertisement is the most popular means. Using broadcasting and newspapers. Holding events or conferences also can be an effective advertisement model. held the first Asia OCW Conference in 2009 and acquired a good venue for advertisement. and lowering barriers can be reduced. For instances. University of Mauritius and the Academy for Educational Development for the Global Learning Portal Project specialize their open educational resources projects for helping developing countries. Twitter and Facebook are the major social network services institutions use for advertizing OCW. Promotion – e. MIT in its initial stage posted an advertisement article on the New York Times. In that sense.2. the digital divide holding OCW and open educational resources movement effects and such are problems to be addressed. the effectiveness of programs. clear and practical goals bring about positive effects for encouraging altruism.2.1. The forms of education can be seminars. if this information is not disseminated and recognized by potential contributors or current participants. 3. workshops or orientations.2. Managers of OCW projects need to consider how to assess the effects of the project and report and provide feed-back to participants.3. Whatever the forms are. If there are local social network services like blogs and communities. fully utilizing them is also recommended. especially African countries (Atkins et al. Setting goals is not the end of work. the OECD report pointed out that articulated. workshops In promotion. using social network services. institutions in Asia are fortunate to have many tasks to accomplish. seminars. Promotion Strategies Although an OCW project offers many benefits to contributors.
However.and all advantages professors expected to gains need to be explained well. Enlarging Incentives. an OCW project can also plan for systematic change. but rather. Using a Learning Management System (LMS) can be one example. and implementing an incentive system. Making contributions to OCW in a higher priority can be achieved by promotion. An OCW project can reinforce incentives by implementing programs. and professors who want to contribute their courses only need to click a button. An institution may adopt contribution to OCW as a criterion for tenure assessment or other assessment processes like student course evaluation. 3. The highest barrier professors find is the lack of time to produce and use OCW materials. Therefore. implementing incentive systems or programs are needed to draw their interests. This significantly reduces times for uploading materials to OCW websites. LMS can be a resource pool for OCW materials. clearing the copyright and review process. since providers receiving financial support tend to be indifferent toward the genuine goals of an OCW project. but developing a simple procedure of participating OCW is also helpful for those interested in contributing. This system is generally used by both teachers and students for sharing course materials. According to responses to the OECD and other surveys. Incentive systems can be implemented at an institutional level.2. Systematic approach Creating a reward system Easy and spontaneous procedures for participation Programmatic approach Programs providing or reinforcing incentives: financial incentives. professors tend to not consider financial factors as important. But this needs to be implemented carefully. matching professors and students for course contents creation An institution can create a reward system to encourage participation in OCW. education. We might describe it not as a lack of time but low priority. thus. and many professors distribute materials using LMS. a manager can use this tool to attract content providers at the initial stages. improving skills for making course contents. as long as budget allows. At the project level. This requires bold decision at the institutional level. non-financial gains. know-how for using open contents Programs helping to overcome barriers: providing clear information on copyright. Lowering Barriers Strategy Only spreading OCW and its spirits cannot attract professors who do not have any concern for knowledge sharing and pedagogical innovation.3. A representative incentive program would be providing financial incentives. Simplifying procedures without harming the quality assurance process needs to be considered further. institutional level of support is essential. New faculty orientation can be an appropriate venue to introduce OCW and possible gains. One of the non-financial gains course providers consider is the by9 .
g. One Columbia University project 2 teaches educators and other people concerned about usage of video and open content. project managers can match professors and volunteer students. promotion and social events can be effective strategy to inform them that there are free courses for everyone. and dealing with this issue is beyond the scope of this paper. which can create useful knowledge repositories that support learning and information for courses when they choose an institution to study and courses to take (Gurell and Wiley. This can be a topic for another paper. An OCW project can develop new ways of utilization or organizing existing information and distributing it. sharing educational materials is in vain. guaranteeing these processes with experts can draw attentions from those who need them.products created during the OCW process. Once they are aware of how useful open contents. Through this professors can reduce their time for creating materials and students can have a working relationship with professors and learn about academic work.2. Promotion Utilization and convenience access Users’ participation – e. These processes can be regarded as additional incentives of contributing course materials. 2008). an OCW project could hold workshops on how to create OCW standardized course materials using digital facilities. raising users’ awareness can be discussed briefly in this section.edu/web 10 . professors will automatically recognize the needs for contribution. especially students. self-learners and professors – are fully aware of OCW. Providing meetings or seminars for sharing the know-how among professors can be effective as well. volunteering Learners. Although there are free materials. Programs lowering barriers to involvement in OCW also need to be implemented simultaneously. material sharing. and model answers. When users – here users are defined as students. regard OCW as shared lecture notes. However. Since they are not required contributions. if they are not useful or people do not know how to use them. According to survey result. Utilizing External Forces Strategy The most powerful factor to foster non-financial gains like reputation is positive social mood about OCW. Delivering clear information on copyright can reduce fears of creating contents and insecurity about contents created for OCW. Therefore. A few web-based social communities can help enhance students’ 2 http://ccnmtl. Then one big question remains: how to raise awareness among users. exam texts.4. new learning methods for using electronic educational materials and course contents need to be studied and the results should be distributed to users. To reduce the burden for producing materials. professors believe that they can reduce time for making course materials and avoid duplication by using open contents. this will naturally encourage further contribution. In addition. Knowing how to use open source materials can be another benefit. An OCW program usually has quality assurance and copyright clearing processes to secure quality-based materials. 3.columbia. Therefore.
learning and their collaboration using OCW materials. Based on this analysis. motivations. Students or self-learners can participate in various ways and they also can share their contents. and barriers for participating in OCW. and Chris Sprague. Conclusion This paper analyzed contents providers’ perceived intentions. which have different aims and targets. In addition. one need to consider academic departmental singularity and individual differences of the understanding of openness and sharing and this was not discussed in this paper. further study needs to be conducted for these topics. Surveys at University of Michigan in 2008 to 2009 found that over 20% of responding students answered agreed or strongly agreed that they would volunteer to work with faculty members to help them publish their materials (Hardin. Even though there are portal systems to gather as many course contents as possible. This is not an ideal situation. Already there are commercial communities for sharing students’ papers in Korea. 2009). The Korea University student learning portfolios 4 opened at Korea University OCW website can be a good example. Social transitions. ask and respond to each other. We live in the transition era from personal. One good example is OpenStudy3 which was founded in 2007 by Ashwin Ram. Preetha Ram. a Georgia Tech professor. However. The nature of OCW contents is diverse and learners encounter difficulties in finding the contents suitable for them. this paper tried to draw four sets of strategies. Learners can also participate as volunteers for an OCW project and can work in various ways like helping faculty members to create materials. 4. Knowledge sharing movements including OER and OCW seem foreign to us. It enables a global-level study group regardless of location and academic interaction between learners. Providing user friendly search engines for OCW contents is highly needed for increasing use of OCW contents. Another issue is access. these are not stable and difficult to search. although it takes time. we have become leaders in this. but as we have become about educated the potential for this movement. advertising and such. Institutions 3 4 http://openstudy. self-helping. We believe that all people will join this movement when they understand the potential power and its promising results.edu 11 . Developing these programs for enhancing students and learners’ participation can play a critical role for awareness-raising among users. when applying these strategies. Recently. OpenStudy collaborated with MIT OCW so that students who are studying MIT OCW course contents can interact. an Emory University dean. collaboration and open knowledge. managing websites. as history witnesses usually take a long time. Blurring the boundaries between course providers and users is also an important factor. Therefore.com http://ocw. neither. Also this study is limited to the awareness of contents providers and could not examine user awareness. property-based knowledge toward community. this paper could not give the results of these strategies. translation. uploading course contents.korea. which implies that a potential for using students’ works.
However. The strategies suggested above will be just a list unless implemented. 12 . Further research on raising users’ awareness needs to be conducted in the future. It might be most effective when the strategies are implemented simultaneously.starting OCW projects need to approach and educate them appropriately by providing incentives and lowering barriers. institutions can apply them according to their local situations.
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