Model for free and open university courseware

Last Updated: 02 May 2018
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One of the determinants of creation of FOCI contents is the capacity building which generally refers to developing required competences for creation of FOCI online contents. Dealing with copyright issues may be a serious roadblock even if the intention of the author was meant to provide the resource for free access and use. In the process of preparing contents, instructors research contents from various sources of which some may have various uprights and other restrictions. Instructors may also raise issues of their intellectual property rights.

Another determinant is the motivation of instructors; there is no clear incentive of engagement for the faculty to participate in open courseware. The greatest concern is the time that is required by instructors to prepare a course that will be available, monitored, maintained, updated and perhaps re-formulated for new settings and different uses. The open courseware materials provided by the instructor will be Judged by the peers; therefore effort in producing quality desired is of essence. Validation Quality assurance mechanism will guarantee that materials are validated for publication.

Quality in this sense refers to the relevance of material to the public, compliance to education standards and integrity, organization of contents and compliance to intellectual property rights. The FOCI materials should be intellectual property-cleared, meaning that the university has the rights to make the materials available under open terms and that nothing in the materials infringes the copyrights of others. Secondly, conceptualization and localization of contents trials from course instructors have been designed for their students at the university.

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If the same contents are to be available for public view, it is important to consider relevance of the contents to other people outside the university in diverse thematic areas of research and training. Quality assurance will involve checking the contents for consistency, pedagogical aspects, compliance to education standards and organization of contents. By publishing materials in the web for open access through FOCI, university is allowing the public to Judge what is offered by the institution.

If materials are of poor quality, it may be threat to the reputation of not only the author but also the university. The university should strive to provide best quality material to avoid negative criticism by the public. Reliance should be made on standards and specifications to the extent possible. Lastly, there is need for accreditation which is the official approval of contents for publication in FOCI sites. Dissemination A key component of open courseware is the dissemination of contents whose cornerstone is technology. The technology is based on the CIT infrastructure for publishing the contents.

Open courseware technology infrastructure consists of several components, internet connectivity, desktop tools for building course web sites and file conversion, web authoring tools, workflow, metadata capture and publication tools, content staging infrastructure, content publication infrastructure, content repositories (file storage) Implementation. The technology should be designed to allow the use of a variety of appropriate tools, with a minimum of integration problems. The choice of technology should consider setup and maintenance cost.

In our framework we endeavor to recommend use of cheap but efficient technology eatable for Kenya situation. One of the key determinants of dissemination of FOCI contents is the internet Connectivity. The university should be well served with internet and the bandwidth should be sufficient to allow access of not only textual information but also transmission of multimedia contents. Sufficient campus network connectivity is crucial to facilitate easy creation and updating of contents by course authors at the comfort of their offices.

Secondly, Contents delivered through open courseware should be easily searchable and well organized for open access. Care would be made for usability considerations, which means contents, should be easy to edit or modify (formats, specifications) and should accommodate different kinds of access considerations. There is need for content management systems which provides a means of managing large amounts of contents and at the same time providing room for incorporating other pedagogical aspects.

From literature review we found out that a number of content management systems are available and which are suitable for open courseware. Lastly, preparing contents for web access also require inserting metadata information. In most cases, local access of online contents does not pose a big problem to users as the remote access. Some of remote users may access courseware contents using very slow connections given the situation of internet in our country. For example it can be extremely difficult to watch or download video contents using slow connection.

Before university implements open courseware it is important to consider the connections of the expected users especially for remote access. In addition, a whole range of delivery modes should be made available for cases where connectivity at sufficient bandwidth would cause a robber. Lastly, criteria for the assessment of outcomes on the user of open courseware should be defined. Feedback mechanisms should be designed and implemented. It should allow users to express their views on their experiences with the courseware. In addition the site should include access counter to tell the number of people who visit the site.

Utilization Utilization refers to usage of open courseware materials in the context of our proposed framework . This may entail learners using the materials for additional learning and research, instructors from other institution using the materials in their raining and other people using the materials for personal study. Awareness is thought as one of determinant of utilization in which case targeted citizenry needs to be sensitizes of the availability of open courseware. The public should have information about what is available on open courseware and benefits of using the materials .

The impact of the contents on the learner will greatly determine the utilization of the contents. Care should be taken in that the design of contents. The material should not only be useful to the university students but also majority of the public. Lastly, given that FOCI will be delivered through 'CT. It is important to consider literacy levels of FOCI users. Basic cit requisite skills are needed for one to be able to search open courseware materials on internet, interact with the site in different ways, save contents and provide feedbacks.

Methodology The research adopted a field survey research design whose objective was to establish factors that discourage or/and encourage free and open courseware in public universities of Kenya. The target population of the research was the public universities in Kenya. Questionnaire was the primary data collection instrument and as divided into five parts based on the five elements the free and open courseware framework elements; organization, creation, validation, dissemination and utilization. The study involved both qualitative and quantitative approaches. A sample size of 450 students and 150 lecturers was targeted.

Data collection took place in August 2010. It was collected from 3 public universities that is university of Nairobi, Kenya and Com Kenya University KODAK). Useful and complete responses were obtained from 392 students representing a response rate of 87% and 1 11 lecturers representing a response rate of 74%. RESULTS On the basis of the analyzed responses the following inferences were drawn Table 4. 1. Elements Components Processes Observations Governance & Management -Planning -Setting up testators -Free and open courseware has not so far been implemented in Kenya. No comprehensive plan. Partnership and collaboration Building alliances and consulting Foci partners -Public universities have established some local and international links on open contents provision. Institutional policies Creating policies that support open courseware -Universities policies do not cater for free and open content. Some of universities are errantly reviewing policies. Sustainability Establish ways of meeting the setup and maintenance cost -Difficult to direct university limited funds to free and open courseware project. Low support from Government and Nags Developing knowledge & sharing culture Faculty assassination and advocacy A number of workshops and conferences have been held Capacity building -Improve CIT literacy among lecturers -Training of faculty in E-content development -Creating textual and video contents -Majority of faculties are CIT literate. -Majority of lecturers have not attended training in E-content development -Most of structures contents is not in electronic format -Faculties have not developed video contents of most of lectures. Lecturers have no access to video capturing and editing facilities. -Dealing with copyright issues -Adhere to PR -Set up open sharing licenses -Majority of lecturers obtain materials from copyrighted sources -No clear Intellectual property rights policies in Kenya and particularly in the universities that cater for open sharing. Attitudes -Developing positive attitudes towards open sharing materials Majority of lecturers have negative attitude towards open sharing. However, majority are willing to share heir materials for free under open Terms.

Motivation -Establish ways of motivating lecturers Low motivation of faculty. Majority of lecturers indicated that they cannot dedicate their time to embark on contents creation for free publishing without clear terms of engagements. Validation Copyright clearance -Perform copyright clearance Majority of lecturers obtain contents from copyrighted sources. Conceptualizing of contents Perform relevance check Some of the materials are not relevant to the public Quality Assurance Perform quality assurance Some of the instructor's materials do not meet quality standards for OCW.

Accreditation of materials -Get official approval and seek authorization for publishing from faculty No policies available to support accreditation of open materials. Utilization -Awareness -Public assassination -Low awareness level Majority of university students, instructors and administrators are not aware of open courseware. -CIT Literacy Improve cit literacy Majority of learners at public university are CIT literate -Access Improve internet access Internet usage level is generally high by university students.

However, majority of students utilize free contents available on the web for research as opposed to buying kooks. -Relevance Maintain high standards and quality in production of open courseware materials Some of the materials are not useful to public 5. 0 Conclusion Results from the study shows that the concept of FOCI has not been embraced in Kenya. However, it is not an absolutely new phenomenon since some of the universities are sensitivity their faculties on content sharing and aligning their policies to accommodate open contents.

Nevertheless, the study reports low awareness of FOCI in Kenya universities among students and faculty members. The study identified a number of issues that pose significant challenges in implementation of FOCI in Kenya based on regression test performed . Amongst, Intellectual property rights and attitudes of faculty towards open courseware have shown significant effect on creation of FOCI contents while quality and relevance of materials shown significant effects on utilization of open courseware. In addition sustainability of FOCI project is another issue that poses a significant challenge to the implementation.

The fact that the original design of FOCI is not to generate income for the university or contents providers begs the question of how such project can be sustained. It is encouraging to note that the number of lecturers participating in development of content for online learning is on increase. Universities have also set up repositories for storage of contents e. G University of Nairobi and Kenya University has each two servers for storage of contents and backups and the universities are gradually embracing online learning in their curriculum.

Lastly, over last five years internet connectivity has greatly improved in Kenya and currently, the majority of public universities in Kenya are connected through a fiber-based local and external access infrastructure. 5. 1 Recommendations There will be need for rigorous campaign and assassination to raise the awareness level if a university wants to embark on implementation of FOCI. The public needs to get information about the availability of materials, various techniques of accessing the materials online and build confidence about the quality of materials.

Study has revealed that majority of lecturers utilizes copyrighted contents in preparation of their lecture materials and this poses a significant challenge of sharing the contents to the public. The study identified IP clearance as one the solutions of coping with issue of non adherence to copyright laws. IP clearance is the process that ensures the open courseware publisher has the rights to make the materials available under open terms and that nothing in the materials infringes the copyright of other . Let may involve getting approvals from authors whose contents have been copied and/or removing such contents.

It may also involve making sure fair use of other author's contents which involves ensuring that the original authors are properly acknowledged and may involve granting licenses to open courseware end-users to use, reuse, adapt, and redistribute materials for non-commercial educational reposes, in accordance with the open courseware concept. The greatest concern is the time that is required by faculty from academics to prepare elements of a course that will be available, monitored, maintained, updated and perhaps re-formulated for new settings and different use.

Therefore motivation and attitudes of instructors is critical. The study recommends that stakeholders in academia should first demystify the whole issue of free and open sharing of contents through assassination of the faculty. It important for management of open courseware to consider financial rewards of the developers for their time and other forms intrinsic motivation such as recognitions of leading authors by the universities or/and other agencies. Course materials published on FOCI are subjected to public scrutiny.

End users will constantly evaluate the quality of content offered by the university. Therefore, quality of content can positively or negatively impact on the reputation of the institution. It is difficult to achieve 100% acceptance of FOCI content in the face of the diverse thematic areas of research and training, and the different approaches and modes of delivering contents. However universities should strive to make the contents relevant to majority of the public. One of the unresolved issues is delivery methods for remote access which includes off campus accesses.

The scope of our study did not carry out assessment on the network infrastructure outside the university. But, results from other studies indicate that, it may be difficult to maintain high speed connection in most of places in Kenya especially the remote areas. Nevertheless, the current Kenya devolution promises to improve the internet connectivity of major towns and increase the internet reach for majority of citizens. It is also important to set up distributed contents servers or mirror servers in various parts of the country especially in major towns to improve speed of access all over the country.

Sustainability of the project has shown significant effect on the implementation of FOCI, given the high setup and maintenance cost of implementing. It might be difficult to maintain budget line for open courseware. However, universities which already have an existing and well established online learning infrastructure can easily and cheaply migrate to FOCI. If the university offers online learning for a umber of years, over time published materials will be continually refined and since online learning is income generating Return-on-Investment will have been achieved.

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Model for free and open university courseware. (2018, Sep 18). Retrieved from

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