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Political Science in Europe

Care to Share? Student and Faculty Support for Open Educational Resources

Public Administration
Survey Research
Sarah Wildeboer
Departments of Political Science and Public Administration, Universiteit Leiden
Natascha van der Zwan
Departments of Political Science and Public Administration, Universiteit Leiden
Sarah Wildeboer
Departments of Political Science and Public Administration, Universiteit Leiden

Open educational resources (OER) hold much promise for higher education in today’s knowledge economies. On paper, OER offer impressive advantages. Students gain flexibility in terms of when and where they follow their courses. Teachers can locate high-quality teaching materials without having to develop these themselves. There are also perceived downsides to OER. Producing OER teaching materials is time-consuming. It requires (financial) resources and technological skills. While teachers might be reluctant to share their own materials with the outside world, students do not always appreciate the amount of self-discipline that online education requires. This is especially the case, when OER follow best practices in online education and requires active learning from students. In short, much is still to be learned about how to organize and implement OER to the advantage of both students and teachers in higher education.

This paper reports the results from a survey conducted among 300 students and 50 teaching staff at the Faculty of Governance and Global Affairs (FGGA) at Leiden University, the Netherlands. The goal of the survey is to explain students´ and teachers´ use of, preferences towards and perceived effectiveness of OER. The FGGA is at the forefront of open and online education in the Netherlands, running several MOOCs, SPOCs and flipped classrooms in the fields of public administration and political science. Most education offered at the FGGA, however, remains traditional. The diversity in teaching methods allows us to distinguish between users and non-users of OER within a single university division. We want to find out to what extent personal characteristics, attitudes towards teaching and learning, and institutional resources influence students’ and teachers’ support for OER. Our findings aim to contribute to scholarship on political science/public administration education, while offering concrete guidelines to educators on how to improve their use of OER.

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