Willingness to Engage in Open Educational Practices among Academics in Rwandan Public Higher Education and Responsive Actions
Keywords:Open Educational Practices, Open Educational Resources, Open Courses, Opening up Higher Education, Responsiveness, Transformative Research
Academics’ engagement in Open Educational Practices (OEPs) is critical for opening up higher education. It is in this perspective that the willingness to engage in such practices among academics in Rwandan public higher education was investigated with an agenda to trigger responsive actions. Via convenience/availability and volunteer sampling, 170 academics were invited to participate in the study and 85 of them completed and returned an email self-completion questionnaire. The results revealed that the majority of participants were willing to contribute to Open Educational Resources (OER) by publishing their work under an open licence. Participants were also willing to engage in diverse OEPs including 1) finding OER and evaluating their quality, 2) participating in and evaluating open courses, 3) aggregating OER, 4) adapting OER and open courses, and 5) assessing accomplishment from open learning based on OER and open courses for credit. National and institutional policies were found to be the potentially most important enablers of academics’ engagement in those practices. In the light of the findings, the researcher argues that the inclusion of more learners in the higher education system would make academics more impactful than simply the citation of their work, a stance that was reflected in subsequent responsive actions. This study may benefit institutions and policy makers who are interested in opening up higher education, especially the University of Rwanda that is expected to contribute significantly to the transformation of the country into a middle-income, knowledge-based society.
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