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 International Journal of Education and Development using ICT > Vol. 5, No. 5 (2009) open journal systems 

Degrees of Openness: The emergence of Open Educational Resources at the University of Cape Town

Cheryl Hodgkinson-Williams, University of Cape Town, South Africa
Eve Gray, University of Cape Town, South Africa

Information and communication technologies (ICTs) provide a range of opportunities to share educational materials and processes in ways that are not yet fully understood. In an extraordinary development, increasing numbers of traditional and distance universities are using ICTs to make a selection of their teaching resources freely available as ‘open education resources’ (OER). The University of Cape Town recently signed the Cape Town Open Education Declaration signalling some senior level support for the notion of OER. In anticipation of an institution-wide roll-out, lecturers and educational technologists at UCT are grappling with the issues that need to be addressed to meet this intent. This paper suggests that careful analysis of existing educational materials and processes is necessary to provide an indication of what can be done to make them more openly available beyond the confines of an individual teaching and learning space. However, the deceptively simple term “open” hides a reef of complexity. This paper endeavours to unravel the degrees of openness with respect to key attributes of OER, namely social, technical, legal and financial openness in an attempt to make the task of identifying where changes could be made to existing teaching materials or processes a little easier for the lecturer and the educational technologist alike. While acknowledging the potential value of content, we contend, however, that it is the opening up of educational processes, which we are calling Open Pedagogy (OP) enabled by the Web 2.0 technologies that are set to play the more transformational role in the collaboration between students and lecturers.

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International Journal of Education and Development using Information and Communication Technology. ISSN: 1814-0556