Accessibility of Open Educational Resources for Distance Education Learners: The Case of The Open University of Tanzania
This paper investigated the accessibility of Open Educational Resources at
The Open University of Tanzania. Specifically, the study looked at staff and
students’ level of awareness on the types of OER available at OUT Library, access and use trends of OER by academic staff and students, challenges faced in accessing OER and possible solutions. The study involved one hundred and twenty (120) students and eighty (80) academic staff who were randomly selected. Primary data for this study was collected through self-administered questionnaires. Secondary data was collected through document review. Key findings revealed that staff and students are aware of the OER available at OUT and that the major use of the information found in OER is for self-learning. The major constraint in the use OER was library users’ dependency on librarian assistance in accessing the resources. In addition, other problems encountered by library users when accessing OER were low internet connectivity, unreliable power supply and inadequate number of computers. In view of the fast changing information and ICT environment the study recommends that OUT students and staff should be trained in computer and information literacy skills. Besides, awareness on OER should be created and the ICT bandwidth should be increased to improve access to OER available at The Open University of Tanzania.
Key words: open educational resources (OER), access, utilization, e-learning, online learning, open and distance learning, distance education.