After the publication in January 2013 of our first issue in the new stage of Open Praxis, once relaunched as a scientific peer-reviewed journal, the second issue comes out with contributions from different regions and institutions and with diverse visions, topics and concerns.
This open issue includes research and innovative practice articles, as well as a software review, from academics who have addressed the general call for papers, that presents Open Praxis as an open forum for global collaboration and discussion of issues in the practice of distance and e-learning, focusing on research and innovation on open education and learning.
Three of the papers recover the special topic of our previous issue -openness in higher education- addressing openness in general or open educational resources (OERs) in particular. Other topics relate to resistance factors to technology, communities of inquiry and networked curricula.
In the first paper, Igor Lesko (The Use and Production of OER & OCW in Teaching in South African Higher Education Institutions. Case Study), from the OCW Consortium, presents a case study developed in South Africa. Through survey methodology, the paper shows results about both the use of OER & OCW (type of resources, reasons for use, etc.) and the production of these kind of educational resources, including challenges for both actions. Respondents' quotations are cited in order to enrich the analysis. The paper concludes with a set of valuable recommendations for the promotion of OER & OCW.
Approaching the production of OER based courseware, Pradeep Kumar Misra (Pedagogical quality enrichment in OER based courseware: Guiding principles) deals with quality issues from a pedagogical perspective. His paper focuses in presenting a set of principles to consider in the different stages in the production of these resources: planning, preparation, instructional design, development and presentation. The recommendations aim to help producers of OER-based courseware to make them more useful and meaningful for schooling and learning purposes.
Closing this section of papers focused on openness, Maria Fe Villamejor-Mendoza (The Openness of the University of the Philippines Open University: Issues and Prospects) presents the case of this university, where she has used a survey among faculty members to check the status of openness. Covering aspects such as open admissions, open curricula or OER, she analyses to what extent openness has permeated through the UPOU. She also comments what challenges and prospects the University of the Philippines Open University faces to become a truly open university.
Covering a different topic, Sofia Matrosova Khalil (From Resistance to Acceptance and Use of Technology in Academia) presents a theoretical review of previous studies to analyze the phenomenon of faculty resistance to technology. Derived from her doctoral dissertation, the paper collects different factors of resistance identified by researchers and builds upon different theoretical frameworks. It aims to have a practical application in the identification of the factors present in particular cases, and encourages to view resistance as a multidimensional attitude towards change to be addressed from different perspectives, both organizational and individual.
Closing the research articles section, José António Moreira, António Gomes Ferreira and Ana Cristina Almeida (Comparing communities of inquiry of Portuguese higher education students: one for all or one for each?) apply the Community of Inquiry (CoI) framework in a study developed in Portugal, using a survey methodology, with polytechnic and university students in blended online courses. They present different analysis, mainly quantitative, to reach cautious and interesting conclusions about the participant students and about the Community of Inquiry model itself.
In the innovative practice articles section of the journal, María Luz Cacheiro-González, Patricia Mata-Benito and George Ubachs (Networked curricula: fostering transnational partnership in open and distance learning), talk about the NetCU project, financed by the European Commission Lifelong Learning Programme and coordinated by EADTU. Among other aspects, they present the products developed in the project: a handbook, a compendium of showcases and an ICT toolbox, with the purpose of helping universities to promote transnational networked curricula using ICT.
Finally, Mandar Lakshmikant Bhanushe (Review of A-VIEW 3.5 software) presents A-VIEW (Amrita Virtual Interactive e-learning World), a software developed in India. He examines, from the point of view of a presenter and learner, various features of A-VIEW as a virtual classroom.
Our wish in the journal is that the range of topics covered in this open issue contributes to reflection, debate and improvement of practices on open and distance education.
Special thanks from Open Praxis to the authors and to the reviewers who have collaborated in this issue.