DIGITAL EDUCATIONAL MATERIAL IN THE EDITORIAL PROCESS OF HIGHER EDUCATION ONLINE COURSES : A PRELIMINARY REPORT FROM AN OPEN EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES PERSPECTIVE IN MEXICO AND SPAIN
Educational material in support of online courses are constantly generated at several universities around the world. Online course creators generate original material and also reuse availabe open and commercial resources. Many higher education institutions are increasingly organizing digital educational repositories and granting them through open access. This work reports preliminary research findings about the editorial process of educational materials for online university courses in order to inquiry the role of open educational resources in the process, but open to any additional knowledge emerged in the research process. We expect this study will help to understand the role and relations of agents and factors involved in the contemporary design and creation of digital learning materials.
An important aspect of this research is to develop the comparison of the editorial processes of the educational institutions in Mexico and Spain. The Spanish university analyzed is the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC) and, in Mexico, Universidad Iberoamericana Mexico City (UIACM) and the Mexican Autonomous National University (UNAM) are the institutions studied. Despite this universities are heterogeneous and have different experience related to online education, all of them share the interest in high quality education and have the necessary research human contacts and capacity to carry out this study. Preliminary data was collected through the voice of the content specialists, instructional designers and university authorities by face to face interviews and personal experience document text analysis. The epistemological perspective of the research departs of an integral vision of the research object, so the approach is qualitative. The research design and implementation has been undertaken jointly between academics of the UOC and the UIACM using online technologies such as: Skype, e-mail, wiki, etc.; although, face to face discussions will be done during summer 2012. The grounded theory method has been used for the collection and simultaneous analysis of data.
Preliminary results show that in Mexican institutions tendency is to the original creation of material rather than re-use or modification of available materials due mostly to doubts about copyright issues. Need for collaborative and interdisciplinary work in order to succeed in create adequate learning material was a common claim by content specialist and managers. Data arises also the openness of Mexican authors and institutions to share online teaching materials in open access repositories, provided that the process of integration of the material to the digital repositories is not cumbersome and time-consuming (complicated interface or too many metadata at the moment of uploading). The most common software for educational materials repositories in México are Greenstone and DSpace. In the case of the UOC the technological factor has been fundamental from the instructional designer perspective in this type of teaching creations. Specifically the XML impact on improve preservation, granularity and portability of digital materials are fundamental aspect pointed out. Another key aspect in Spain has been the integration of Creative Commons licenses to handle the issue of copyright.