Exploring the Literature on Utilization of Open Educational Resources in Nigeria: Current Context, Potential Determinants, and Future Pathways

Exploring the Literature on Utilization of Open Educational Resources in Nigeria: Current Context, Potential Determinants, and Future Pathways

K. N. Igwe (Akanu Ibiam Federal Polytechnic, Unwana, Nigeria)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3559-2.ch002
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This chapter looks at open educational resources (OER), the evolution and conceptualization, the empirical literature so far on utilization of OER in Nigeria, potential determinants of OER utilization, and the future pathways for OER as essential learning resources for functional education and training in the 21st century. The open access movement calls upon researchers and academics to provide open access to their research works by either publishing their findings in open access journals that provide open access to their contents online or by depositing their work into repositories that make their content freely available over the internet. Open educational resources (OER) are now at the forefront of education, knowledge, and skills acquisition across the universe. This implies that OER can be used in all learning environments for addressing learning needs of different classes of individuals in the society. There should be priority attention in developing ICT infrastructures at all levels of education in Nigeria, which is expected to facilitate unhindered exploitation of all kinds of existing OER across the universe.
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Open Educational Resources: Evolution And Conceptualization

With the emergence of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) such as computer systems, telecommunication facilities, multimedia resources, digital storage media, the Internet and new media technologies, various changes are taking place in the educational system across the world. Examples of such changes are e-learning, e-teaching, online information resources, and online education. According to Donkor (2011), the ICT boom significantly influenced the higher education sector, and opened the way for harnessing the technologies to enhance education. ICT has tremendously influenced the way knowledge was developed, disseminated and acquired and in effect, opened up vast opportunities for enhancing teaching and learning (Donkor, 2011).

Specifically, with the arrival of the Internet in 1967 and the sophisticated development of its associated resources such as electronic mail, World Wide Web and social media platforms, there are continuous growth and development of online contents, digital materials and e-learning resources. The Internet enables easy access to information, facilitates sharing, dissemination, communications and collaborations among friends, colleagues and associates across the globe, thereby leading to the information explosion that is encountered by all. In that direction, learning horizons are no longer restricted by physical resources of libraries; rather the internet with its vast repositories and service platforms enables people across the universe to access information in a way which is unprecedented in history (Terras, Ramsay & Boyle, 2013). E-learning, new media tools and subsequently, open educational resources are some of the innovations that this era produced.

The rapid development of Internet applications such as the World Wide Web and social media led to the emergence of open access concept in 2002, and was formally defined by an international group of faculty members, publishers, and librarians that converged in Budapest, Hungary in 2002 at the instance of the Open Society Institute. According to the Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI) (2002), open access entails free availability on the public internet, permitting any user to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of scholarly or scientific articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the internet itself. The only constraint is on reproduction and distribution, and the only role for copyright in this domain, should be to give authors control over the integrity of their work and the right to be properly acknowledged and cited (Open Access Working Group, n.d.).

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