This presentation responds to the challenge of developing policies for OER uptake in the higher education sector of a given country, with particular reference to the smaller countries of the European Union (countries with no more than around 10 million people). It takes a case study approach, reviewing how the POERUP project (Policies for OER Uptake, part-funded by the Lifelong Learning Programme of the EU) is developing policies for three smaller countries: Ireland (an EU member state) and Wales and Scotland (two semi-autonomous regions of the United Kingdom, fully autonomous in educational terms). The inclusion of Wales and Scotland also throws light on the challenge of developing policies for federal countries where higher education is developed to the province/state level.
Factors that seem to be of particular relevance to smaller states include:
1. less money for extensive research and policy analysis
2. more influence of regional and isolated areas
3. easier decision-making, at least in theory
4. issues of lack of economies of scale, in particular if the national language is state-specific
5. greater interest in collaboration with some nearby states on educational issues
6. a smaller set of institutions, causing issues with generating or maintaining institutional diversity of mission unless the process is managed
7. potentially greater danger of dominance by private sector interests
8. potentially large edge effects of student flows from nearby states, potentially made worse if funding and regulatory regimes are attractive to incomers.
The analysis includes studying the interplay between the recommendations produced by international policy work relating to OER and the national policy context (which in some cases makes no mention of OER, in others makes considerable mention but not always correlated with or aware of international issues).
The starting point within POERUP is the document "Policy advice for universities" of which release 1 is currently available, but which is being updated in the light of comments and incoming data. This reviews recent international policy (e.g. COL, UNESCO); EU policies (including Bologna, Europe 2020, Recognition and validation of non-formal and informal learning, European higher education in the world, and most recently, Opening Up Education), relevant to OER and consolidated evidence from a variety of national contexts, to make a set of (currently) 18 recommendations designed not only to foster OER but also the changes in higher education that OER is foreseen as helping to foster - such as more flexible accreditation, encouragement of a wider community to take part in higher education, and a vision of higher education focussed more on competences and skills gained and less on duration of study. See Policies at EU-level for OER uptake in universities - http://www.scribd.com/doc/169430544/Policies-at-EU-level-for-OER-uptake-in-universities
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