Activity 4 – Identifying priorities for research

Advice to a funding organisation that wishes to promote activity and research in the area of open education.

Priority One

How to integrate open education into mainstream provision

Open education is seen as something “other” and different, certainly something that is outside the normal experience of educators and learners in mainstream education. More often than not it is seen as second rate or at least not a good as the education traditionally provided by traditional institutions.

Priority Two

How to encourage use of open education

Open education, in various guises, has been available for some time, but it has only seen widespread use in niche areas, usually areas that do not have adequate access to traditional education.

Despite funding and promotion from major institutions it is still viewed with suspicion by the people that matter – educators that deliver classes in mainstream education. The reasons for this need to be researched and solutions put into practice.

Priority Three

How to encourage the creation of open education

Open education has received a lot of funding to guarantee that there is a lot of “stuff” out there for people to access. Open education has had a good and well funded start. When the funding stops open education must be self sustaining. There must be a reason for open education to continue to be created and systems in place that enables the systematic creation of open education in educational institutions.

Justification

This list of priorities reflects where open education is at the moment and how it needs to progress to remain relevant: making it a part of mainstream education, encouraging its use by end-users as a matter of course, and a sustainable model for its ongoing development.

Forum responses

  1. Was there consensus about what were the key priorities?
    The issues discussed in the forum for this activity cover quite a wide range but there was more emphasis on pedagogy, learner support, quality, intellectual property rights and sustainability.
    For me, there has already been a great deal of work done on most of these issues, where further research is needed is the issue of sustainability which is one of my priorities.
  2. Do you feel some issues would be more easily solved than others?
    Where we are working in an area where a great deal of existing research and practice already exists I feel that yes, issues would be more easily solved. There has been twenty year or more of research and practice on pedagogy and learner support in the area of online and distance education, but how we create a sustainable ecosystem for open education remains to be seen.
  3. What would be effective ways to address some of the priorities listed?
    I think a comprehensive literature review would be sufficient to address most if not all of the priorities listed. This would also reveal where further research is needed.
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