Virtual School Meanderings

May 26, 2013

[EDEN-News] POERUP Newsletter – Issue 2

Also from Friday’s inbox…

POERUP Newsletter

May 2013

Issue 2

Dear Colleague,

Since we last contacted you the POERUP project has made considerable progress and is now gaining ever higher visibility in OER circles. Recently, at the OER13 conference subtitled “Creating a Virtuous Circle”, the project presented its completed OER country reports for the first time to a face-to-face audience. The reception was very positive as you can read in this participant’s blog post.

Country reports

One of POERUP’s main aims is to find out what is happening in terms of OER policies in countries around the world, and to disseminate this information in order to stimulate the uptake of OER policies. Accordingly, one of the main deliverables to date is a set of country reports on OER initiatives. The list below shows a highlighted selection of countries, where – apart from presenting selections of exemplary cases – the different types of in-place / emerging policies are analysed. This blog post provides a summary of some of the key findings of these reports.

11 country reports plus 15 more country mini-reports (8 European, 7 non-European) have been produced:

European Union: Belgium, France, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Poland and UK
Outside the EU: Australia, Canada, New Zealand and United States
Mini-studies:

The list of the countries can be found on this wiki page.

Current activity

We are glad to announce that the interim progress report of our project has been submitted to the European Commission.

Grainne Conole, in her recent blog entry written during the last POERUP project meeting in Nottingham, provided a summary of some of the key points discussed: channels of communication; the 2013 EDEN Annual Conference, Online Educa Berlin and the Media and Learning conferences as potential avenues; overview of the work done on the country reports and an impressive inventory of 300 plus international OER initiatives.

An overview was presented and discussed of the methodology to be adopted for 7 in-depth case studies of OER communities. The research questions include:

  • How are the user networks behind OER initiatives structured?
  • Do users of the same online community networks’ size and density differ, in terms of their role in the community, their educational level and their level of digital literacy?
  • What do users share around the use of digital learning materials?
  • What kind of activities do they develop within the network?
  • Are we also interested in developing an OER community typology, in terms of what kinds of communities exist around OER initiatives?

Social Network Analysis (SNA) will be used as a means of understanding the nature and dynamics of the communities. Data will be collected via an online survey and a series of interviews. We are interested in three types of stakeholders: community organisers, community members and learners.

After the project meeting the partners attended the OER13 conference, actively promoting POERUP by delivering a presentation on OER Policies in 26 countries, and giving a snapshot on POERUP’s open education policy research. The informal networking opportunities in Nottingham also gave the project partners the chance to conduct a small video interview with Sara Frank Bristow who talked about her Communicate OER initiative.

Case studies

The POERUP project is required to carry out seven case studies of OER communities. Four have been finalised, here are their brief summaries:

  • Wikiwijs (Netherlands) is an open, internet-based platform, where teachers can find, download, (further) develop and share educational resources. The whole project is based on open source software, open content and open standards. Wikiwijs is inspired by the idea of wikis: collaborative developing of content. Educational resources are developed by teachers, for teachers. Teachers can freely use anything they find in the Wikiwijs database in their classrooms. The scope of Wikiwijs is the whole Dutch educational system: from primary schools up to the universities.
  • Bookinprogress (Italy) is based on a network of 800 teachers who create common books in several subjects (Italian language, history, geography, chemistry, English, physics etc.) which are then printed in the different schools adhering to the network. The books are then distributed for a rather low price to students and can be also distributed in digital versions.
  • The Open Educational Resource University – OER U – is a virtual collaboration of 22 like-minded universities and some other institutions committed to creating flexible pathways for OER learners to gain formal academic credit. It aims to provide free learning to all students worldwide, using OER learning materials with pathways to gain credible qualifications from recognised education institutions. It aims to develop a parallel learning universe to augment and add value to traditional delivery systems in post-secondary education. Through the community service mission of participating institutions they will open pathways for OER learners to earn formal academic credit and pay reduced fees for assessment and credit.
  • Futurelearn aims to bring together a range of free, open, online courses from leading UK universities, in the same place and under the same brand. There are now 18 partners including the UK Open University, 16 other universities and the British Library. The stated aims are to bring together a range of free, open, online courses from leading UK universities, that will be clear, simple to use and accessible. The initiative draws on the UKOU’s expertise in delivering distance learning and pioneering open education resources to underpin a unified, coherent offer from all of its partners. The OER U also aims to increase accessibility to higher education (HE) for students across the UK and in the rest of the world.

International Advisory Commettee

The International Advisory Committee (IAC) for POERUP is a group of experts set up to advise the project on appropriate research directions and comment constructively on project outputs. It is set up to have a flexible set of delegates, invited for each meeting from a “long list” of candidates, but taking advantage of the availability of particular experts (e.g. keynote speakers) at specific events.

Potential members can be experts in OER technology, pedagogy or policy. Some of the experts come from educational institutions, some from ministries and the agencies that advise and support them, a few are independent consultants and others are from the commercial sector including private educational providers.

The first meeting took place within the OER13 conference in Nottingham on the afternoon of the second day, where a lively discussion took place on OER policy – and in particular on the centrality or otherwise of the Paris OER Declaration produced in summer 2012. The discussion ended with a debate on the relationship of open educational resources to “open education” more generally.

Future IAC meetings will take place as follows:

  • IAC meeting 2: at the EDEN 2013 Annual Conference in Oslo on the 12th of June
  • IAC meeting 3: this will be a special workshop just before Online Educa 2013, Berlin in December

The project is also discussing whether it should run some more specific (e.g. sector-specific) IAC sessions at one or two other conferences or events, including at OER14.

Events where POERUP was presented in 2013

Meet us face-to-face later in 2013

Recommended readings

We recommend you to follow the “Open Educational Resources (OER)” Scoop.it collection of further interesting resources.

The POERUP Consortium

                                                

                

Project Manager: Paul Bacsich
For more details please visit the project’s website.

You may follow the project updates via Twitter.

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