Associate Prof. Cheryl Hodgkinson-Williams

Open Educational Resources and Pedagogical Practices in African Higher Education: A perspective from the ROER4D Project

In the current economically constrained environment Open Educational Resources (OER) have been heralded as a way of providing access to relevant and affordable educational resources to learners and educators in both formal and informal learning contexts, including higher education. OER are being created and shared through a range of OER initiatives, repositories and portals (e.g. MIT Open Courseware, OpenLearn, MERLOT, Khan Academy, OER Africa, OER@AVU). Although site statistics provided by these various portals indicate some access to these resources from countries in Africa, the number of ‘hits’ do not explain how these materials are being used, by whom and to what effect to provide empirical evidence for the “widely shared belief that [OER are] going to be a fundamentally important phenomenon for the future of learning and education” (Tuomi 2013:59) and on pedagogical practices in particular.
This keynote address will explain how the Research on Open Educational Resources for Development (ROER4D) project is using desktop regional reviews, cross-regional surveys, cross regional and country case studies, action research studies and focused impact studies to establish in what ways, and under what circumstances the adoption of OER can impact upon a range of educational aspects. It will focus specifically on conceptual and methodological strategies adopted to tease out the relationship between OER and pedagogical practices in selected countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.


Cheryl Hodgkinson-Williams is an Associate Professor in the Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching (CILT) at the University of Cape Town (UCT), South Africa. She holds a PhD in computer-assisted learning and has taught and supervised in the field of information communication technologies (ICTs) in education since 1998, first at Rhodes University in Grahamstown and then at UCT. She teaches Online Learning Design and Advanced Research Design courses to Masters’ students  Her particular research interests include online learning design, the adoption and impact of open educational resources (OER) and electronic portfolios. She is the project manager on a National Research Foundation project investigating digital identities and is the Principal Investigator of the IDRC-funded Research on OER in the Global South (ROER4D).