Organizational challenges and opportunities for Open Online Education (OOE): Results of a group-concept mapping study

Martine Schophuizen, Karel Kreijns, Marco Kalz, Slavi Stoyanov

Open University of The Netherlands

Although open online education (OOE) initiatives have been criticized for their educational model, they have led to a widespread discussion about online learning strategies. Also, educational institutions started recognizing their potential to renew teaching practices. With a funding policy, the Dutch Government aims to stimulate use of OOE in higher education institutions (HEIs). The goal is to create an expedient, accessible and personalized learning experience for students, contributing to an improvement of educational quality and study success. However, it is known that OOE projects have difficulties to embed OOE in the organization, and making it a sustainable practice. SOONER, a nationally funded five-year research-project, focusses on fundamental and accompanying research on OOE. The accompanying research line in this project is aimed at gaining insight into the question which approaches, organizational factors and (pre-) conditions lead to a sustainable success of OOE. This will be done by systematically collecting data about the conditions and dependencies of important factors of approximately 40 OOE-innovation projects in HEIs for four consecutive years. In our first empirical study we investigated challenges and opportunities for OOE by using a group concept mapping technique. This approach is a structured technique that is able to apply quantitative as well as qualitative measures to create a participant-driven visual representation of ideas from the target group. In our case, the target group were OOE experts, researchers and practitioners, and 23 project leaders of the governmental funded OOE projects. We aimed to identify a consensus among these participants, clarifying and structuring the collective understanding about OOE at the organizational level. This is accomplished by aggregating individual contributions of the participants and showing data-patterns applying multidimensional scaling and hierarchical clustering. Data collection will be finalized in December 2016, and results will be available as off January 2017, and presented during the conference.


Organizational challenges and opportunities for Open Online Education (OOE): Results of a group-concept mapping study from Open Education Consortium