Policies for uptake of OER in the UK home nations
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Policies for uptake of OER in the UK home nations

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This paper from POERUP provides a set of 16 or so recommendations designed to foster the use of open educational resources and open educational practices in the UK higher education sector, in ...

This paper from POERUP provides a set of 16 or so recommendations designed to foster the use of open educational resources and open educational practices in the UK higher education sector, in particular England, Scotland and Wales.

The study method was to review the full range of OER activity in the UK HE sector in the last few years (such as the JISC/HEA OER Programme), take into account the policy environment in the home nations for HE in general and online learning in particular, and correlate these both with developments in over 30 other countries deemed to be of relevance to Europe and the emerging policy environment at EU level (to which the POERUP project contributed, as the author was both a member of the EU’s Open Education Experts Group and a contributor (Bacsich 2013a) to the Open Education 2030 workshop on higher education).

This paper focuses only on higher education in the UK but companion papers focus on further education and on schools.

In addition the project is also preparing policy papers on Ireland (by the same author), Netherlands, France, Spain, Poland and Canada. This set of studies and papers provides massive capability for cross-correlation and triangulation.

Our first EU HE OER policy paper (Bacsich 2013b) was made available publicly in September 2013, in advance of the EU’s Opening Up Education report (European Commission 2013). Ours has now been updated to take account of that and refine the EU’s recommendations for the HE sector. The first summary version of a UK HE policy paper has been produced for internal discussion in the POERUP project and then in the Advisory Committee.

Our UK HE presentation aims to take into account the different home nations’ HE systems and the different state of policy development in England and Wales (BIS 2013; HEW 2013) and working groups such as Open Scotland.

The POERUP project takes care not to focus on OER as an end in itself, but on the agendas that OER is said to be able to foster and on the wider agenda (called by the EU “opening up education”, but equally well called by others “open and distance learning”, “open educational practices”, or “flexible learning”) within which OER is embedded. Paradoxically perhaps, this makes it much easier to make recommendations and to ensure stability in the recommendations and consistency with other existing policies.

In its current draft form, the recommendations are formulated as 16 in a “home nation neutral” fashion, but the number of recommendations will no doubt change as the document splits into three versions. It is still felt to be valuable to produce a UK-wide synthesis, not least because several key agencies such as HEA and QAA have a UK-wide remit.

The project is willing to work with other home nations/regions/mission groups, Crown Dependencies and other EU countries to co-create similar documents. It already has some experience of this developed in the last few months.

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Policies for uptake of OER in the UK home nations Presentation Transcript

  • 1. Proposed policies to foster open educational resources and practices in UK higher education Paul Bacsich – Sero Consulting OER14, Newcastle 29 April 2014
  • 2. Just one slide on POERUP follows....
  • 3. Achievements • Inventory of more than 400 OER initiatives worldwide – map to come • 30 country reports (11 major) – and 3 more at least – all being updated • 7 case studies including Wikiwijs, ALISON (Ireland), OER U (global) and FutureLearn (UK mostly) • 3 EU-level policy documents for universities, VET and schools • In progress: 9 policy documents for UK (England, Wales, Scotland), Ireland, France, Netherlands, Spain, Poland – and Canada KA3 ICT
  • 4. This presentation • Summarises our ongoing policy recommendations for HE – localised to UK • Within the wider context of formal education • Correlated to the European Commission’s Opening Up Education policy recommendations
  • 5. Prior policy context in and within UK • Wales: new! Open & online: Wales, higher education and emerging modes of learning: Report of Online Digital Learning Working Group (set up by Minister) • Scotland: new! Open Scotland Declaration: from a Working Group • England: Report to BIS (Maturity of the MOOC) and UKOER/SCORE Review Final Report – even Online Learning Innovation Fund – and does anyone remember Measures of Success? • UK-wide: newer! Current work by HEA consultants on updating Flexible Learning Summit report 2011 (chs. 3,4)
  • 6. Flexible to open learning • Recommendation 1. Governments and the UK Funding Councils are encouraged to consider the scope for developing funding mechanisms which support institutions in promoting greater openness in the pace, place and mode of learning. • Recommendation 7. National bodies such as UCAS, HEA, QAA and JISC are encouraged to collaborate to produce separate evidence based guides for potential learners and institutional staff on open learning provision. • Recommendation 8. The Leadership Foundation for Higher Education and the Higher Education Academy should collaborate to provide targeted support for senior managers in leading the development of institutional strategies for opening up learning. • Recommendation 9. The Higher Education Academy should support the development of higher education CPD programmes which promote best practice in open educational practices and pedagogies in alignment with the UK Professional Standards Framework. • Recommendation 11. Senior institutional managers are encouraged to lead on effective resource allocation to, and realistic costing and pricing of open learning, taking into account changing market conditions, the new higher education funding contexts, the potential for income generation over the longer term and the need to provide value for money for all categories of learners.
  • 7. POERUP Opening Up Education • Three sets of policies • Sector-specific wording e.g. Bologna, ENQA • EU level but mainly as a generic Member State template • Vary in applicability at MS level (size, etc) • Focus more on OER but in a much wider context • Evidence base possibly more global? • One set of policies • Uniform thus generic wording • Mainly EU (Erasmus+ and H2020) with some on Member States • Vary in applicability at MS level (size, etc) • Focus on a somewhat wider context (of OUE) • Evidence base more EU-focussed?
  • 8. POERUP: Three types of intervention • interventions that link OER to open access (to research and to standards) • interventions that foster important phenomena (including access, cost and quality; but also others such as development and informed citizenry) that OER is said to facilitate • interventions that serve to reduce or dismantle the barriers to creation of innovative institutions and innovative practice (including OER, MOOCs and open educational practices).
  • 9. Recommendations A (#1–#7) • Innovation • Accreditation of institutions (2) • Quality agencies • Competency-based education • Accreditation of Prior Learning (2)
  • 10. Recommendations B (#8–#18) • Funding (4), mainly EU-level • Intellectual Property (4) • Teacher training (2) • Further research
  • 11. Innovation The key but only at scale
  • 12. Innovation – innovative institutions • Since the era of building open universities there has been little visible activity in creating innovative institutions (in terms of e-learning)
  • 13. Whole institutions opening up education
  • 14. Innovation – recommendation • Each home nation, within its financial capacity, should set up a competitive innovation fund for institutions to set up at least one new programme each year with a commitment to “low- system-cost” accredited online education around a core proposition of open content. • OUE: Support innovative teaching and learning environments, including through the use of structural and investment funds (ESIFs) • OUE: Establish a European Hub of Digitally Innovative Education institutions... complemented by a specific European Award of Digital Excellence Opening Up Education
  • 15. Accreditation and quality “Outside the rules” or “Within the (new) rules”
  • 16. Accreditation of institutions – new accrediting bodies and mutual recognition • The Quality Assurance Agency should continue to work to uniformise the regulatory apparatus for all kinds and modes of HE providers (especially online, for-profit, from outside the country, consortial, etc) – OUE: Ensure that transparency and recognition instruments for formal education are adapted to new forms of learning including validation of skills acquired online Master text usually based on Wales version
  • 17. Quality agencies • The Quality Assurance Agency, taking a lead within ENQA, should continue its focus on integration of new modes of learning and removing implicit mode-based bias from regulations – OUE: Ensure that transparency and recognition instruments for formal education are adapted to new forms of learning including validation of skills acquired online
  • 18. Accreditation of prior learning • Governments should recommend to universities that they should work to scale, improve and proceduralise their activity on APL (Accreditation of Prior Learning, in its various submodes) and in particular to accredit knowledge and competences developed through all kinds of online study, informal and work-based learning, including but not restricted to OER and MOOCs, within agreed limits. • England should set up an Open Accreditor to assist small and specialist institutions to handle APL for students – other home nations should consider the value of OA – OUE: Ensure that transparency and recognition instruments for formal education are adapted to new forms of learning including validation of skills acquired online
  • 19. THIS INEVITABLY LEADS TO Competence-based, not time-based assessment • QAA should lead the European debate about a more flexible approach to measuring credit ratings of modules, less based on study times, drawing on the UK home nations’ experience with credit transfer, WBL, flexible learning and APL (both APCL and APEL): leading to the development of a Bologna-bis framework based primarily on competences gained not duration of study – OUE: Ensure that transparency and recognition instruments for formal education are adapted to new forms of learning including validation of skills acquired online
  • 20. Funding and costs Still neglected....
  • 21. Funding mechanisms General agreement with OUE but we recommend also: • Home nations (e.g. HEFCW with HEW) should continue to consider whether there are programmes or specific teaching situations (e.g. first year studies, pre-university studies) where a common approach to provision makes sense across the sector, and in the light of a successful outcome to such initiatives, foster the developments of common bases of OER material to support such provision • The Funding Councils perhaps via TRAC should look again at the cost basis for university teaching across all its modes, old and new – they may wish to consider the benefits of output-based funding for qualifications when they next review their funding and loan schemes – HEPI study?
  • 22. Other important issues Intellectual Property/Copyright Training/Staff Development Research
  • 23. Intellectual Property Rights • Standard Creative Commons license should be agreed UK-wide. • Jisc and the Sector to consider whether there is need for additional technological methods to provide more and standardised information on IPR to users of digital educational content • There should be a UK-wide initiative to upgrade the level of knowledge of university staff on IPR issues, perhaps as part of some wider initiative e.g. on MOOCs so as to give context and applicability for the knowledge. MOOC? • A team need to make a short study of the issues around the non commercial restriction and make appropriate recommendations. This is particularly urgent for England with its plethora of private HE providers and commercial links in the public delivery chain to students
  • 24. Initial academic training and CPD • The Higher Education Academy should encourage the development of online higher education CPD programmes which promote best practice in open/online learning pedagogies in alignment with the UK Professional Standards Framework – perhaps in association with ALT. MOOC? • OUE: Support teachers in acquiring a high level of digital competences and adopt innovative teaching practices through flexible training, incentive schemes, revised curricula for teachers' initial education and new professional evaluation mechanisms
  • 25. Innovation and research into the benefits of OER • Working as far as possible in concert with UK- wide bodies (JISC, HEA, ESRC etc), home nation governments should fund continued research into the verifiable benefits of OER, with greater efforts to integrate such analyses with ongoing research on distance learning, on-campus online learning, and pedagogy – OUE: European Commission support for better knowledge and stronger evidence-based policies (four detailed points)
  • 26. Thank you for listening Paul Bacsich For the POERUP policy team Policies in preparation for/with England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, France, Nether lands, Spain, and Poland