This blogpost is to dissiminate and discuss about the Swedish initiative OERSweden
Open Educational Resources (OERs) are any type of educational materials that are in the public domain or introduced with an open license. The nature of these open materials means that anyone can legally and freely copy, use, adapt and re-share them. OERs range from textbooks to curricula, syllabi, lecture notes, assignments, tests, projects, audio, video and animation (UNESCO).
The OER movement originated from developments in open and distance learning (ODL) and in the wider context of a culture of open knowledge, open source, free sharing and peer collaboration, which emerged in the late 20th century.
Open Educational Resources (OER) are discussed widely on a global, European and even Nordic level. The UNESCO OER Declaration shows the importance of Open Educational Resources and gives recommendations to governments and institutions around the globe. The European Union launched in autumn 2013 a large-scale initiative on Opening Up Education. These developments have been the starting point for a Nordic initiative in promoting and utilizing OER in the Nordic countries with a focus on creating a strong base for OER and Open Educational Practices (OEP) amongst the Nordic countries and in the Nordic region, also with a global outreach in mind. The Nordic countries have a potential to become a forerunner in OEP and the use of OER in Europe.
The idea of open educational resources (OER) has numerous working definitions. Often cited is the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation which defines OER as: "teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others. Open educational resources include full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, and any other tools, materials, or techniques used to support access to knowledge". The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) defines OER as: "digitised materials offered freely and openly for educators, students, and self-learners to use and reuse for teaching, learning, and research. OER includes learning content, software tools to develop, use, and distribute content, and implementation resources such as open licences". This is the definition cited by Wikipedia's sister project, Wikiversity. By way of comparison, the Commonwealth of Learning has adopted the widest definition of Open Educational Resources (OER) as ‘materials offered freely and openly to use and adapt for teaching, learning, development and research. The WikiEducator project suggests that OER refers to educational resources (lesson plans, quizzes, syllabi, instructional modules, simulations, etc.) that are freely available for use, reuse, adaptation, and sharing.
During 2012/2013 a project was implemented on OER in Sweden open opportunities for learning,
the project is now called OER Sweden, funded by The Internet Infrastructure Foundation Internet Infrastructure in Sweden .SE . The project was coordinated by the University of Karlstad. Overall nine universities in Sweden attended .
One of the aims was to promote general awareness of the issues of OER (Open Educational Practice), open sharing cultures and practices. For participating institutions, the aim was also to develop a form of collaboration with efficient support to foster an open dialogue on the Internet. The project built further on a previous project on OER resources for learning funded by the Royal Library .
Anchoring in research / practice: OER are teaching resources over the Internet, which are freely available, to be freely used , processed and disseminated, often totally unlimited. An open digital learning resource has an indication, or copyright license, showing the conditions under which it may be used, copied, processed and disseminated. Creative Commons is currently the most common license type.
The project conducted a dozen open webinars and thirty shorter virtual networking meetings for planning and monitoring. The Webinars covered preferably about what OER is, how digital materials may be reused, but also to the digital library and metadata and standards. Two webinars were held in English with invited international guests; Open education - global challenges and OER - a question of quality. Each webinar followed a structure which subsequently was revised and refined .
The Webinars was conducted with nearly 1,200 participants. The recordings from webinars has also been seen by over 4000 people. The project website has had around 8000 visitors who came in
contact with the project through over 200 linkages from other sources.
The project's shape contributed to increasing the quality and efficiency of interaction. The project experience can be described in four areas. These are : virtual project organization, implementation
of webinars, continuous evaluation and improvement, and technical aspects .
The OER movement international and in Europe is very strong. Initiatives eg UNESCO 2012 Paris OER Declaration , OER Africa and the EU Commissionens Opening Up Education in 2013. The project and website www.OERSweden.se initiated to promote and raise awareness of OER in Sweden and OERSweden has spread well in the NordicOER project and in the Baltic, BoldicOER
www.boldic.org . Both financed with funds from the Nordic Council of Ministers. The presentation will thus put OER in Sweden in a broader international context.
Aim of contribution
This suggestion for the Open Educational Week 2014 will focus on implementation and use of OER in small languages and cultures (like the Nordic), as most OERs are in English and within an English influenced contex
We also like to discuss webinars as a form for networking and democracy and for learning, contribution
Target group and focus
Everyone interested in OERs and opening up education, policy questions, implementation issues, possibilities and limitations, webinars
Language is English
Points and questions to be discussed during the OEW
Possibilities and limitations with use and implementation of OER in small cultures and languages?
Are OERs culture and language dependent?
Adaptability of OERs?
To learn from experiences from others?
Webinars as a form for networking, learning, and increased democracy