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Rethinking the Impact of Openness in Development Contexts

2 March, 2016 - 12:30 to 14:00Room 00-13, Ground Floor Chambers Building, OU, Milton Keynes

International Development seminar presented by Dr Leigh-Anne Perryman (Institute of Educational Technology, OU), who will explore findings from the OER research hub pan-India survey and from research with the Virtual University for Small States of the Commonwealth.

Lunch (provided) from 12.00, presentation & discussion 12.30 - 14.00. To reserve your free place, please email Claire Emburey.

 

Abstract
The pace of educational technology developments in the Global North is dizzying, with many innovations only possible because of the similarly rapid pace of developments in digital infrastructure and digital literacy – a self-serving dynamic that is evidenced, for example, in the typical profile of MOOC participants: very well-educated and digitally well-connected. Look beyond the Global North, however, and over 4 billion people are offline worldwide, 90% of whom are in the Global South (Alliance for Affordable Internet, 2016), with poor, urban women suffering disproportionately from digital exclusion (World Wide Web Foundation, 2015) and very few countries in the developing world coming even close to meeting UN targets for 'affordable broadband' – defined as 500MB of mobile data being priced at 5% or less of average monthly income (Alliance for Affordable Internet, 2016). As such, many cutting-edge advances in educational technology are both inaccessible and irrelevant to people in the Global South.
 
This seminar draws on Open Education Research Hub (OERH) data concerning the impact of open educational resources (OER) and open educational practices (OEP) in India and within the Virtual University for Small States of the Commonwealth, in addition to OERH research into the barriers to digital inclusion faced by many women in the Global South. OER and OEP are increasingly cited as helping redress global inequalities in educational access and providing a route to increased social justice in the developing world, often within a discourse of 'the rich north [pushing] resources at the poor south' without thought of reciprocity (Glennie et al, 2012, p.v). However, in this seminar, I question whether the open education movement needs to be prepared to resist the ever-surging tide of innovation in educational technology in order to help the developing world to catch up. I propose a more nuanced reshaping of OER and OEP initiatives in the Global South to be more appropriate to helping remove societal and structural barriers to social, educational and digital inclusion in order that the full power of openness can be enjoyed by the people who most need it.
 
References
Alliance for Affordable Internet (2016) The 2015-16 Affordability Report. Retrieved from: http://www.a4ai.org/affordability-report/report/2015/
Glennie, J, Harley, K, Butcher, N and van Wyk, T (2012, Vancouver: Commonwealth of Learning) Open Educational Resources and Change in Higher Education: Reflections from Practice. Retrieved from: http://www.mecd.gob.es/dctm/biblioteca/recelec/11966646.pdf?documentId=0901e72b814c99ee
World Wide Web Foundation (2015) Women’s Rights Online: Translating Access into Empowerment. Retrieved from: http://webfoundation.org/about/research/womens-rights-online-2015/

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