Model for free and open university courseware

Topics: Open content, University, Open source Pages: 14 (4637 words) Published: September 8, 2014
A Framework for Implementation of Free and Open University Courseware in Kenya. Patrick Kinoti*, Adrian Kamotho Njenga*
*Lecturer, Kenya Methodist University
Corresponding email:

Free and Open University Courseware (FOCW) refers to university course materials which may include lecture notes, presentation videos, syllabi and course outlines that are shared for free on the web. The concept of free sharing of university courseware is continuously gaining popularity especially in developed countries. The purpose of this study was to investigate the factors that encourage or/and discourage uptake of free and open university courseware and what needs to be done to encourage the implementation. Towards achieving this goal, the study proposes a framework which is guided by previous models developed by early open courseware theorists. A survey was conducted on three public universities based on the framework. Data was collected mainly through questionnaires administered to students, lecturers and university administrators. Interview and observation techniques were also used .In total 630 questionnaires were distributed to the three public universities 522 valid responses were received. The findings show that sustainability of the project, motivation of faculty and dealing with copyright are significant factors that tend to influence implementation of FOCW in Kenya and provide a generic framework for addressing the issues.

Keywords: Open, courseware,

Free and Open University Courseware (FOCW) has been adopted in various models such as OCW(Open courseware), MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses) and other university open initiatives. The Free and Open University courseware initiative has gained popularity in developed countries such as USA, UK, China and Japan. However, universities in Africa and other emerging economies have not been enthusiastic about it. The primary characteristics of FOCW are that courses are offered for free to anyone with internet access, may not lead to a degree, and do not grant access to faculty. The FOCW consists of syllabus, videos, class notes and online presentations offered for free to anyone with internet connection. Educators may upgrade their classes; students may enhance their coursework or pursue self study; the general public may glimpse the depth and breadth of what leading universities are offering and benefit from reading materials and lectures. The open courseware approach is not by itself distance learning and neither does it replace face-to-face learning nor is it a degree granting initiative .Rather, it facilitates availability, development, and distribution of the best available learning materials in a cooperative and collaborative manner, thereby tapping the best brains around the world for the benefit of all, with continuous improvement. Unlike distance learning programs that charge tuition, provide formal instruction and limit enrollment, FOCW offers all course materials free to everyone with online access. The development of Free and open courseware is a phenomenon started by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) who posted its course contents in the Web in an initiative dubbed as Open Courseware (OCW). Recently, MOOC which is an interactive open initiative by universities have been initiated. The only difference with the FOCW in the context of our study is that MOOC is more integrated with the university curriculum such that courseware are accessible when the course is on offer and provides some form of assessments(Sergio,2012).The FOCW is based on the philosophy of sharing knowledge. Knowledge is infinitely scalable because it grows with reuse. Sadly, much of the world's knowledge is locked behind copyright and consequently access to this knowledge is restricted, especially for the less privileged citizens in the developing world. Problem Statement

The Free and open courseware concept has been adopted in...
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