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Friday, November 4 • 1:40pm - 2:05pm
How to FLOSS, but not for your teeth!

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Free libre open source software (FLOSS) has the potential to be a powerful open educational ICT tool, particularly in the developing world, but also any community where educational resources and services are challenging to come by. In spite of considerable potential gains for education in rural or inadequately funded areas, FLOSS is under-utilized, under-staffed, and unsupported. Both educators' and students' perspectives must be understood if this gap is to be ameliorated. Toward supporting open educational resources in the world's education systems, this research investigates usage and perception of FLOSS as well as pedagogical preferences from a sample of participants (N=40) at the Gaeddu College of Business Studies in the Kingdom of Bhutan. Although the unified technology acceptance and use theory (UTAUT) guides this research and is supported in organizational settings, it is not supported in the context of higher education in Bhutan. Statistically significant results indicated that students and faculty or staff have disparate perceptions of FLOSS. Interviews elaborated that there was a relationship for this sample between how technology is used and incorporated with attitudes toward technology. The research's validity is limited by low participation, frequent lack of electricity, and low bandwidth. However, results imply that pedagogy, attitude, and especially teachers' roles, are relevant constructs for understanding educational technology acceptance and use in Bhutan and potentially other communities with similar barriers to education. This work aims to contribute to the growing body of investigation of open education resources, including ICT acceptance, in areas where education is especially difficult to support. Despite formal centers and programs in Bhutan for technology and computer training, one of the most interesting findings of the research was that students eschew these in favor of informal networks among themselves in their social groups to learn and share ICT resources, including those for education.

avatar for Cathryn Bennett

Cathryn Bennett

Director of International Programs, Greensboro College
Open, international, and cross-cultural higher education are my focal areas. Current research projects and collaborations with experts from the U.S., Europe, and South Asia continue to hone my expertise and interest in research methodologies for various settings, culturally-situated... Read More →

Friday November 4, 2016 1:40pm - 2:05pm EDT