Guidelines on Open Educational Practices


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Many current OER initiatives focus overwhelmingly on access and availability of Open Educational Resources (OER) and not enough on helping individuals and organizations to develop Open Educational Practices (OEP). The Open Educational Quality Ini-tiative (OPAL) is therefore proposing this guideline to improve Open Educational Practices in organizations.
In this document we are going to introduce to you to the concept of Open Educational Practices (OEP) and provide you with a guide on how to improve your practices. The guideline is designed as a maturity model which allows you to position your own or-ganization according to the degree of maturity for each of the individual dimensions we have outlined and described below. In the next section we describe the concept of open educational practices. Afterwards you are presented with three tools to assess the maturity of your organization in relation to its adoption of open educational practices.

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Guidelines on Open Educational Practices

  1. 1. Guide to open educationalpracticesThe Open Educational Quality InitiativeOfficial guide to Open Educational Practices: The document providesa comprehensive model including a maturity model for educationalorganizations.[03/2011]
  2. 2. The "Open Educational Quality Initiative" is an international network to promote innovation and better quality ineducation and training through the use of open educational resources. It is partly funded by the European Commis-sion. OPAL is initiated through international organizations like UNESCO, ICDE and EFQUEL and a number of Universi-ties like the Open University UK, the Aalto University in Finland, University Duisburg-Essen and the Catholic Universi-ty in Lisbon, Portugal. It aims at establishing a forum which works to build greater trust in using and promoting openeducational resources. The Open Educational Quality Initiative will focus on provision of innovative open educationalpractices and promote quality, innovation and transparency in higher and adult education. The focus of the OPAL Ini-tiative moves beyond access to open educational resources (OER) to focus on innovation and quality through openeducational practices (OEP).The OPAL Initiating OrganizationsThe project runs through a time span of around two years (2010-2011) and includes the following partners: University Duisburg-Essen (Germany) Coordination The Open University (UK) Aalto University (Finland) Universitade Católica Portuguesa (Portugal) European Foundation for Quality in E-Learning (Belgium) International Council for Open and Distance Education – UNESCO ICDEOpen Educational Quality Initiative ::: OPAL ::: 1
  3. 3. List of Authors:António Andrade, Universidade Católica Portuguesa, PortugalUlf-Daniel Ehlers, University Duisburg-EssenAbel Caine, UNESCORoberto Carneiro, Universidade Católica Portuguesa, PortugalGráinne Conole, Open University UKCarl Holmberg, International Council for Open and Distance EducationAnna-Kaarina Kairamo, Aalto University FinlandTapio Koskinen, Aalto University FinlandThomas Kretschmer, European Foundation for Quality in E-Learning, BelgiumNick Moe-Pryce, International Council for Open and Distance EducationPaul Mundin, Open University UKJudite Nozes, Universidade Católica Portuguesa, PortugalVeronica Policarpo, Universidade Católica Portuguesa, PortugalRolf Reinhardt, European Foundation for Quality in E-Learning, BelgiumThomas Richter, University Duisburg-EssenGonçalo Silva, Universidade Católica Portuguesa, PortugalZeynep Varoglu, UNESCOOpen Educational Quality Initiative ::: OPAL ::: 2
  4. 4. 1. IntroductionMany current OER initiatives focus overwhelmingly on access and availability of Open Educational Resources (OER) and notenough on helping individuals and organizations to develop Open Educational Practices (OEP). The Open Educational Quality Ini-tiative (OPAL) is therefore proposing this guideline to improve Open Educational Practices in organizations.In this document we are going to introduce to you to the concept of Open Educational Practices (OEP) and provide you with aguide on how to improve your practices. The guideline is designed as a maturity model which allows you to position your own or-ganization according to the degree of maturity for each of the individual dimensions we have outlined and described below. In thenext section we describe the concept of open educational practices. Afterwards you are presented with three tools to assess thematurity of your organization in relation to its adoption of open educational practices.2. Defining “Open Educational Practice”Build on previous research, investigation and consultation we have defined open educational practices as follows: „Open Educa-tional Practices (OEP) constitute the range of practices around the creation, use and management of open educational resourceswith the intent to improve quality and innovate education.„1 The diagram below is designed to show different stages of open educa-tional practices. The different fields in the diagram correspond to different stages of openness in the use of educational resourcesand learning architectures. For example field “H” could relate to “I am sometimes using OER for normal lectures”, field “B” wouldrepresent rather “I am using open educational resources in open seminars and learning scenarios”While there is currently no agreed on classification or definition for “openness” of pedagogical models available, research suggestdifferent aspects of openness or freedom in teaching and learning frameworks. The approach which we adopted to classify peda-gogical models/ learning activities regarding their openness follows largely Baumgartner‟s (2007)2 approach: teacher – tutor –coach, where the „teacher‟ represents pretty much the „teaching as knowledge transfer‟ paradigm and gradually opens up to arriveat a model of learning as co-creation and social practices in the category „coach‟. While we are aware that this is a simplification ofreality we believe still that it is giving prototypical indication of three different and distinct degrees of openness in learning environ-ments. However, other alternative approaches to classifying learning activities have been taken into account and which come tosimilar conclusions, like Paavola, Lipponen and Hakkarainen (2004)3 who suggest learning metaphors along acquisition – partici-1 Baumgartner, P. (2007): Zen and the Art of teaching. Communication and interaction in education. Hagen.3 Paavola, S., Lipponen, L., & Hakkarainen, K. (2004). Models of Innovative Knowledge Communities and Three Metaphors of Learning. Review of EducationalResearch, 74(4), 557-576.Open Educational Quality Initiative ::: OPAL ::: 3
  5. 5. pation – knowledge creation, Laurillard (1993)4 or a comprehensive analysis of Mayes and de Freitas (2004) for JISC5. Followingthis analysis, pedagogical levels of “freedom” or “openness” have been conceptualized:  “Low” if objectives as well as methods of learning and/ or teaching are rooted in “closed” one way, transmissive and re- productive approaches to teaching and learning. In these contexts, the underlying belief is that teachers know what learn- ers have to learn and mainly focus on knowledge-transfer.  “Medium” represents a stage in which objectives are still pre-determined and given, but methods of teaching and learning are represented as open pedagogical models. They encourage dialogue oriented forms of learning or problem based learning (PBL) focusing on dealing with developing “Know how”.  “High” degrees of freedom and openness in pedagogical models are represented, if objectives of learning as well as methods (e.g. learning pathways) are highly determined and governed by learners. Questions or problems around which learning is ensuing are determined by learners (SRL – self regulated learners6), and teachers facilitate through open and experience-oriented methods which accommodate different learning pathways, either through scaffolding and tutorial in- teractions (ZPD Vygotskian inspired approaches) or contingency tutoring (Woods & Woods strategies of re-enforcement, domain or temporal contingency).4Laurillard, D. (1993): Rethinking University Teaching: A Framework for the Effective Use of Educational Technology, London, New York: Routledge5Mayes, T. & de Freitas, S. (2004): Stage 2: Review of e-learning theories, frameworks and models. JISC desk research study. Retrieved on 2010, November17, from Carneiro, R., Lefrere, P., Steffens, K., & Underwood, J. (Ed.) (2010), Self-regulated Learning in Technology Enhanced Learning Environments: A EuropeanPerspective, Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.Open Educational Quality Initiative ::: OPAL ::: 4
  6. 6. The Open Educational Practice Maturity MatrixStep 1: Positioning your Organization in the OEP TrajectoryOEP consists essentially of the use of open educational resources in open learning environments/ architectures.7 The following maturity matrix allows for positioning your organization accordingto the uptake of OEP. Not yet started Early stages/ awareness Developing/ Commitment Established Embedded/ Advanced1. To what extent are you using and No use/ repurposing of Individuals are informally start- Some departments or teams are OER are used/ repurposed in the The use/ repurposing of OER is embedded into the everyday practice withinrepurposing OER in your organiza- OER takes place. ing to use/ repurposing OER. using/ repurposing OER. whole organization. the organization and supported through an OER policy.tion?2. Do you have a process for creating No process of creating Individuals are starting to create Some departments or teams have The organization‟s tools for creating A process for creation of OER is in existence, tools for creation are usedOER in your organization? OER is in place. OER. created OER. OER are largely accepted and used in and regularly maintained and tool use is supported by a policy. the organization.3. To what extent are you sharing No OER and experi- Individuals are informally start- Some departments or teams have The organization‟s tools for sharing Tools for sharing OER and OEP are accepted and used organization-wide,OER and open educational practices ences are shared. ing to use tools for sharing re- started to use tools for sharing OER and OEP are accepted and used and supported through a your organization? sources or OEP. OER and OEP. in the organization.4. To what extent is your organization No experience with Individuals are starting to use Some departments or teams are Open learning architectures are used Open learning architectures are embedded into the organization at all lev-working with open learning architec- open learning architec- open learning architectures. using open learning architectures. organization wide. els; learners are encouraged to choose their own learning objectives andtures? tures. methods for learning and are supported through facilitation and coaching.Step 2: Creating a Vision of Openness and a Strategy for OEP in an OrganizationWe believe that OEP can be supported through strategic planning. This second part of the OEP guideline helps you to better understand the strategy within your own context. This section is de-signed to analyze your strategic environment in relation to relevant dimensions of open educational practice strategy of your organization. Not yet started Early stages/ awareness Developing/ Commitment Established Embedded/ Advanced1. Is a vision for OEP Management, staff and learn- Different visions are emerging be- Management, staff and learners are starting to Management, staff and learners share a clear and de- A vision for the development of OEP isshared across organiza- ers do not share a common tween management, staff and communicate about a shared vision for open edu- tailed vision of how OEP will develop in the next few shared with partners, clients, contractors andtion? vision. learners in the organization. cational practices within the organization. years and how it relates clearly and closely to the or- the community at large. ganization‟s overall mission and aims, in particular in- novation.7 See description of ‚open learning architectures„ above or in „OEP Scape‟, whitepaper from OPAL Project, 2010Open Educational Quality Initiative ::: OPAL ::: 5
  7. 7. 2. Are OEP included in OEP are not part of the organ- Staff and learners are aware of an OEP is mentioned in some strategic papers and OEP are implemented across the whole organization The management of OEP follows a clear stra-existing strategies and ization‟s strategy nor are they organizational intention for the de- plans. There is some cross-referencing between through a prominent strategy or policy. Leadership from tegic plan or organizational policy. Internalpolicies? included in policies. velopment of OEP but are not fully an OEP strategy and other strategic plans. the top exists. Staff and learners are aware of the or- stakeholders as well as partners, clients and committed. Implementation of OEP ganization‟s strategy for the development of OEP. other external stakeholders share the vision is left to individual or team/ depart- Cross-referencing between the OEP-strategy and the for the development of OEP. ment level. organization‟s other strategic plans exists.3. Are OEP embedded OEP are not part of the organ- OEP is not part of the organiza- Teams and departments are beginning to view OEP is embedded in the organization‟s business mod- OEP uptake and wide adoption constitute ain the organization’s ization‟s business model or tions‟ business model but individu- OEP as part of their business strategy. el, use and re-use of educational resources reduces major asset in uniquely positioning and differ-business model? contributing to their value als recognize the potential of OEP, costs and open learning environments are part of the entiating the institution in the marketplace and creation. re-use of resources, and innovation. general services and offerings. is central to the organization and continuously improved.4. Are you involved in No partnerships within the or- Informal links between individuals Links between organizations are being established The organization is involved in several ongoing and The organization is embedded within a gen-any partnerships in re- ganization or with other organ- and/or teams in relation to OEP ex- with regard to OEP. From these, a small number of successful partnerships and/or alliances regarding erating environment of social networks andlation to OEP? izations exist with regard to ist within the organization. OEP partnership-projects are beginning to occur. OEP. partnerships to share, co-create and ex- OEP. change experience and practices on OEP.5. Are OEP perceived as OEPs are not viewed as rele- Some individuals view OEP as rel- Teams and groups within the organization start to OEPs are organization-wide perceived as relevant and OEPs are perceived as a relevant part of therelevant across the or- vant to the teaching and learn- evant to some extent. view OEP as relevant to their own learning/ teach- desired practices by professionals and learners. organizations professional work and areganization? ing context. ing context. communicated as such to learners, outside partners and clients.Step 3: Implementing and Promoting OEPThe following section contains dimensions which are important to create a favorable environment for OEP within your context. Not yet started Early stages/awareness Developing/Commitment Established Embedded/Advanced1. Is an IPR, DRM and copy- No IPR frameworks/concepts are Some individuals are informally Some departments and teams are using free licenses Educational resources are published An institution-wide policy to create, use and publishright regulation for OER in used to support use/re-use of OER. developing OER and share them for sharing OER. under free licenses and practice, un- educational resources under free and open licensesuse? under free licenses. derstanding and knowledge of how is embedded in the institution. to use such licenses exists.2. Is there a motivational There are no incentives for OEP. Individuals are motivated to devel- Motivation to develop and (re-)use OER and open Incentives to stimulate the transfor- OEP is supported through an organization-wide mo-framework for OEP in exist- op and (re-)use OER and use educational practices on a department or team level mation of educational scenarios and tivation framework.ence (e.g. incentives)? open learning architectures. is simulated through incentives. resources into OEP exist on an or- ganizational level.3. Are OEP used? There is no use of OEP. OEP are applied in a few courses. The use of OEP means that the organization is now OEP is an established reality organi- OEP are embedded into the organization‟s culture offering a small number of new courses, using more zation wide. and are a subject to regular reflection. flexible and innovative delivery methods and OER.Open Educational Quality Initiative ::: OPAL ::: 6
  8. 8. 4. Do you have tools to sup- No tools for supporting the sharing Individuals are starting to use tools Teams, departments and learners are adopting tools Use of digital tools to support sharing The use of digital tools which support sharing andport sharing and exchanging of open educational practices (e.g. for sharing open educational prac- for sharing and exchange of information about edu- and exchange about OEP are a exchange of information about OEP are embeddedinformation about open edu- social networks, blogs, etc.) exist. tices (e.g. social networks, blogs, cational practices (e.g. social networks, blogs, etc.). widespread reality on an organiza- into organizational policies and infrastructures andcational practices? etc.). tional level. are continuously reviewed and improved.5. Do you apply quality con- No quality, evaluation or assess- Individuals are applying quality The organization has started to apply quality con- Specific quality concepts for OEP A policy for institution-wide agreed quality conceptscepts to OEP? ment models for OEP exist within concepts for OEP. cepts for some elements of OEP (e.g., quality guides are applied organization-wide. for OEP is in use and regularly updated. the organization. for OER, assessment models for open learning.)6. What level of knowledge Teachers have little or no under- A small number of teachers have Knowledge and skills to create open learning archi- A significant number of teachers The vast majority of teaching staff have theand skills do teachers have standing of open learning architec- sufficient knowledge to apply tectures within the organization‟s educational pro- across the whole organization have knowledge, skills and confidence to successfully andin relation to open learning tures. OEP. grams are beginning to diffuse from a handful of to the skills and confidence to success- appropriately create open learning architectures.architectures and OEP? teaching staff more generally. fully create open learning architec- tures.7. Level of digital literacy Teachers have little or no digital A small number of teachers are Digital literacy is increasing as a skill among teachers The level of digital literacy among The vast majority of the teaching staff possessesskills8 literacy. beginning to develop digital litera- within the organization‟s educational programs teachers is constantly improving. digital literacy. cy.8. Are support mechanisms There are no support mechanisms A small number of teachers are Support processes to develop OEP are starting to be There are support mechanisms with- Support mechanisms are embedded in the organiza-in place to support the de- to support teachers in the devel- starting to informally assist each provided at the team and department level. in the organization to support teach- tion‟s policy in order to support teachers in the de-velopment of OEP? opment of OEP. other in the development of OEP. ers in the development of OEP velopment of OEP.8For digital literacy skills see report: Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century at Educational Quality Initiative ::: OPAL ::: 7
  9. 9. Annex: Dimensions of Open Educational PracticesMany current OER initiatives focus overwhelmingly on access and availability of Open Educational Resources (OER) and not enough on helpingindividuals and organizations to develop Open Educational Practices (OEP) (Ehlers 2011). In short, open educational practices constitute theadoption of Open Educational Resources (OER) within open learning architectures. The creation, use, and re-use of open educational re-sources, as well as the exploitation of open learning architectures can be challenging for learners and educators, but also for leaders of educa-tional institutions. Policy makers, as well, often need to be made aware of and understand both concepts, and can play a strategic role in foster-ing rapid uptake of OER and enabling timely adoption of OEP. The Open Educational Quality Initiative (OPAL) after considerable research, con-sultation and debate proposes the dimensions for open educational practices described below. They form the basis for successful learning withOER.Area 1: Use of OER and Open Learning Architectures1. Extent of using and repurposing OER: Finding and using OER is often the first step towards open educational practices. To integrate anOER into one‟s own teaching/ learning concept is called repurposing. It often involves dismantling the original resource and taking out what isuseful while leaving aside the unnecessary. A guide for how to do this can be found here: …2. Availability of a process for OER creation: In order for an organization to progress towards open educational practices it is important to de-fine a process whereby educational resources are made available under free license schemes to become open educational resources. Onlythen will these resources be available for others to use and/ or repurpose –internally as well as externally. A comprehensive organization-wideprocess for open educational resources boosts progress towards open educational practices.3. Degree of sharing of OER and OEP: From research we know that the most successful use of open educational resources is where this is asharing process. The openness required for sharing educational resources is hence a key success factor for open educational practices. In ad-dition to a culture of sharing among practitioners and management, tools for sharing resources and experience within the organization and withactors from other organizations must exist. It is as important to share resources as it is to share the experiences of what works and what doesnot within open learning architectures. Social network tools therefore play an essential role in any OEP strategy.4. Extent of working with open learning architectures: Open learning architectures are an important element in OEP. Open learning archi-tectures aim to help learners to become autonomous and act in self-organized leaning environments in which they can share, use and /or pro-duce educational resources. A definition and explanation of open learning architectures can be found here: ….Area 2: Vision of Openness and a Strategy for OEP in an Organization1. Organizational vision for OEP: A vision, expressed in written strategy or guidelines is essential. A vision for open educational practiceswould include reference to the production, sharing, use and/ or reuse of OERs. It would also aim to provide learning opportunities in open learn-ing architectures, in which the aims and objectives of learning as well as learning methodologies are developed in consultation with learners.Such a vision should be communicated and shared within the organization by all stakeholders.2. Existing OEP strategies and policies: Research shows that strategies and policies are most effective in stimulating OEP across organiza-tions in an effective way. They embody rules and regulations for how to implement OEP across a whole organization. Elements relating to OEPcan be either a part of an organization‟s strategy, e.g. for the development of learning environments, or can even be subject to their own strate-gy or policy. Policy makers implement OER policy through key white papers, via inclusion in strategy documents, through funding calls orthrough acting as a front to promote OER initiatives.3. Business model related to OEP: An ongoing critical discourse against the Open Educational Resources movement is the issue of how itcan be made sustainable in the longer term, and what business models might be appropriate. Downes (Downes 2007) provides a useful catego-rization of funding models for open source type initiatives: Endowment models (where the project obtains base funding), membership models(where a coalition is invited to contribute a sum), donations models (where requests are made for donations), conversion models (where initialfreely made material ultimately leads to some element of paying consumer), contributor-pay models (where the contributor pays for the cost ofmaintaining the contribution and the provide makes it freely available), sponsorship models (such as commercial advertising), institutional mod-els (where the institution assumes responsibility for the initiative), Government models (direct funding via Government agencies), partnerships orexchanges (where the focus is on exchanging resources).4. Partnerships related to OEP: Partnerships help organizations to develop OEP through the sharing of experiences, benchmarking of policiesand strategies and resource development. Some OEP initiatives involve more than one organization and a number of partnership models haveemerged. In some cases these include different types of institution (universities, technical universities, colleges); in other cases they focus onspecialist areas, each led by a senior academic in that field. Partnership models range from organizations which involve partners, who jointlydevelop and operate learning content for academic education with interdisciplinary institutions, different types of institutions (universities, tech-nical universities, colleges), and some are also multilingual.5. Perceived relevance for OEP: For OEP to achieve circulation within a given context it is important that learners, professionals and man-agement perceive OEP as relevant. This can be supported through strategies and policies and also through measures to raise acceptance andunderstanding for OEP. An important factor often proves to be the degree to which OEP successes are communicable to others.Step 3: Implementing and Promoting OEP to Transform LearningOpen Educational Quality Initiative ::: OPAL ::: 8
  10. 10. 1. IPR and Copyright regulations: One of the main focuses of OER lies in sharing, using and adapting resources. Copyright restrictions wouldnegate the whole model. The four main legal issues associated with creating and making OER are copyright issues, ownership, intellectualproperty rights and permission for use. Many resources may be context-bound due to copyright issues in such a way that it is not possible toadapt the source to local prerequisites. Without the permission of the copyright holder it is strictly prohibited to copy, reproduce or change re-sources.2. Motivational framework for OEP: In order to use OER and turn towards the implementation of open learning architectures, the level of moti-vation from educational professionals and learners has to be high. Some social or cultural barriers are known: academics may be skeptical tothe value of investing in the creation of OER, or they may lack the necessary skills (either technical or pedagogical) to create or use OER. Cul-tural obstacles may exist in terms of sharing or using resources developed by other teachers or institutions, and there are usually no systems toreward academics for engaging with OER initiatives. Studies also show that academics may sometimes be apprehensive about taking part insuch initiatives, feeling a loss of control and ownership over their teaching materials and concerns about possible misuse of any OER they pro-duce. Achieving staff-buy in and support, and making it relevant to them are key issues at this level.3. OEP usage: This dimension describes the degree to which open educational practices are embedded as a reality in the organization‟s teach-ing, learning, and other everyday processes.4. Tools to support sharing and exchange of OEP: Every organization wanting to make progress in the field of OEP needs to adopt a seriesof tools which can be used for finding, sharing, and repurposing resources, as well as tools like social networks to share experiences and goodpractices. The emergence of the Creative Commons license was a major breakthrough in terms of providing a means for sharing resourcesopenly and freely.5. Quality concepts for OEP: Quality concepts for OEP often depend on the type of institution and their learning and teaching culture, the bal-ance of importance of the „value‟ of teaching (in comparison to research activities in the institution), the degree to which OEP activities are seenas activities in their own right, the level of digital maturity of the institution and the extent to which they had engaged with OEP work previously.QA models range from lightweight, user-defined models to strictly controlled hierarchical models.6. Level of knowledge and skills: It is important to overcome educational professionals‟ initial concerns about OEP and to help with skills de-velopment and support. These include: mechanisms to foster and support community engagement, provision of case studies of good practice,running of parallel events and workshops, and provision of specific training materials. It can also comprise marketing materials, guidelines andtutorials on OER, an open textbook adoption worksheet, OER needs assessment surveys, policies and models.7. Digital literacy: Digital literacy is especially important for the implementation of OEP as it deals with digital resources and practices. Digitalliteracy is often understood in a purely functional way where it is conceptualized as a person‟s ability to perform tasks effectively in a digital envi-ronment. However, conceptualizations that focus more on the broader cognitive skills involved are emerging, like the understanding that digitalliteracy is a special kind of mindset that enables users to perform intuitively in digital environments, and to easily and effectively access the widerange of knowledge embedded in these environments. Sometimes also critical thinking rather than technical competence is identified as thecore skill of digital literacy.98. Support mechanisms for OEP: Support for the development of OEP includes technical support for development, use and re-use as well asre-purposing of OERs, and training in order to equip teachers with the skills to design open learning environments and/or help learners to be9 For digital literacy skills see report: Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century at Educational Quality Initiative ::: OPAL ::: 9