Successfully reported this slideshow.
Your SlideShare is downloading. ×

Promoting policy for OER and MOOCs chapter

More Related Content

Similar to Promoting policy for OER and MOOCs chapter

Related Audiobooks

Free with a 30 day trial from Scribd

See all

Promoting policy for OER and MOOCs chapter

  1. 1. Promoting policy uptake for OER and MOOCs Gráinne Conole, Giles Pepler, Paul Bacsich, Brenda Padilla and Terese Bird Abstract This chapter provides a review of the policy perspectives on Open Educational Resources (OER) and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). It draws in particular on the findings from two EU-funded projects: OPAL and POERUP1. The OPAL initiative focused on identifying the practices around OER in terms of how they were created and repurposed. POERUP explored the ways in which Governments stimulate the uptake of OER and MOOCs. The aim was to enable OER and MOOC stakeholders to make informed strategic decisions to promote the use of OER and MOOCs. It also draws on the findings of the OpenCred project, which focused on recognition of informal and non-formal learning. Finally it contextualises these projects in terms of a number of related projects and initiatives concerned with OER and MOOCs. The chapter concludes by discussing the policy implications of OER and MOOCs. Introduction Digital technologies continue to develop at a rapid pace. Smartphones and tablets mean that learning anywhere and anytime is now a reality. Learning analytics 2 tools provide rich data on learning behaviours, which can be used by teachers to help learners or by learners themselves to improve their learning strategies. Digital technologies offer a wealth of ways in which learners can interact with multimedia, and communicate and collaborate with tutors and peers. The pace of change is evident through looking at the annual New Media Consortium Horizon reports and the Innovating Pedagogy reports. The latest edition of the 3 4 Innovating Pedagogy report lists the following ten innovations that are likely to have a significant impact on education in the next few years: ● Massive open social learning ● Learning design informed by analytics ● Flipped classrooms ● Bring your own devices ● Learning to learn ● Dynamic assessment ● Event-based learning ● Learning through storytelling ● Threshold concepts ● Bricolage 1 2 A good site on learning analytics is 3 4 1
  2. 2. Figure 1 shows the key digital technologies of significance over the last thirty years or so, starting with the emergence of tools to create rich multimedia in the late eighties through to learning analytics tools in recent years. As the timeline shows, Open Educational Resources (OER) emerged around 2001 and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) in 2008. Figure 1: A timeline of key digital technologies OER and MOOCs are challenging traditional formal educational institutions, enabling learners to learn through studying free resources and courses. As a result, new business models are emerging and we are seeing a disaggregation of Higher Education. In the future learners may choose not to do a full degree, but rather pick and choose learning opportunities to meet their needs. For example, they may pay for high-quality learning resources, or for a learning pathway through materials, or for some form of support through peers or a subject-expert tutor. Finally they may choose to pay for accreditation for their learning. This chapter provides an overview of the emergence of OER and MOOCs, and then focuses on two EU-funded projects on OER and MOOCs, Open Educational Quality (OPAL) and Policies for OER Uptake (POERUP). A summary of the evaluation of the University of Leicester’s FutureLearn MOOCs is also provided. Policy recommendations on the uptake of OER and MOOCs are examined, followed by a discussion on mechanisms to accredit informal and non-formal learning, drawing on the findings of a project called OpenCred. Related OER and MOOC initiatives and projects are briefly described. 2
  3. 3. The emergence of OER It is now over ten years since the emergence of the OER movement, promoted by organisations such as UNESCO and the Hewlett Foundation, who argued that education is a fundamental human right and therefore educational resources should be freely available. There are now hundreds of high-quality OER repositories worldwide. The Hewlett foundation defines OER as: 5 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 or re-purposing by others. Whilst OECD defines them as: Digitised materials offered freely and openly for educators, students and self- learners to use and reuse for teaching, learning and research (OECD, 2007, p. 133). The Cape Town Open Education Declaration argues that the 6 OER movement is based on: The belief that everyone should have the freedom to use, customize, improve and redistribute educational resources without constraint. It focuses on three suggested strategies to removing barriers to the use of OER: teacher and learner engagement with OER, a general policy to publish openly, and commitment to open approaches at institutional and government levels. Conole (2013) provides an overview of the emergence of the OER movement, along with a list of some of the key OER initiatives. There are a number of perceived benefits of OER. Firstly, they are free, providing learners, who cannot afford formal education, with access to learning materials. Secondly, they can be adapted and repurposed by teachers for use in a different learning context. Thirdly, they provide examples of good practice, which provide inspiration for teachers’ design practices. Glennie et al. (2012) in the introduction to their edited collection ‘Open Educational Resources and change in Higher Education’ state that: In the last decade in particular, the promotion, sharing and use of open educational resources (OER) have been growing exponentially. However, as with any new phenomenon or paradigm, our knowledge of OER’s ramifications and achievements to date necessarily lags behind actual developments. 5 Definition on the Hewlett Website, 6 3
  4. 4. They go on to pose the following questions about OER: ● Can learning resources designed for specific students in particular contexts be as successful in other contexts? ● Will “reusers” of OER exploit the advantages of open licensing and adapt high-quality resources to their own teaching situations? ● What are the conditions under which adaptations and improvement might occur? ● How will increasingly widespread student access to online open content (i.e., that is not officially part of course designs) affect the dynamics of the teaching and learning process? Whilst the research described in this chapter goes some way towards answering these important questions, we do not have complete answers yet. More research is needed to understand the practices around the creation, use and repurposing of OER, the barriers to uptake, and the strategies for uptake and sustainability. Policy plays a crucial role in shaping future directions around the use of OER. They provide guidance for the stakeholders of OER and MOOCs to help them make informed decision about better promotion and use of OER and MOOCs. In addition, they are often linked to funding opportunities in the area. The emergence of MOOCs The first MOOC, Connectivism and Connective Knowledge (CCK08), was launched in 2008. It was based on the principles of connectivism developed by Siemens (2005). In particular participants were encouraged to harness the affordances of social and participatory media to support their learning. There was no right learning pathway; each participant created his or her own Personalised Learning Environment (PLE) (Atwell 2007). Students 7 communicated with peers through a variety of channels (blogs, wikis, social networking sites, email, Twitter etc.). Fini (2009) published an evaluation of the MOOC; he concluded that the course attracted adult lifelong learners who were not interested in course completion. Time constraints, language barriers and ICT skills were listed as factors that influenced which tools learners used. CCK08 is an example of a type of MOOC that has been called a cMOOC. The emphasis is on learning in a social context, harnessing the power of social media. Cormier (one of the founders of the CCK08 MOOC) has produced a video, which describes cMOOCs. In 2011, a second type of MOOC emerged, xMOOC, through organisations like Udacity, EdX and Coursera. These courses were didactic in 8 9 10 nature, consisting primarily of multimedia, videos and e-assessment elements, and the focus was more on the individual learner. 7 For research specifically on MOOCs and PLEs see 8 9 10 4
  5. 5. However, given the variety of MOOCs now being offered, this categorization of xMOOCs and cMOOCs is too simplistic. Conole (2014) has developed a new classification schema for MOOCs based on twelve dimensions. The first three are to do with the context of the MOOC (how open it is, how diverse the learners are and how massive it is). The remaining nine dimensions refer to the pedagogical approach adopted (the use of multimedia; how reflection, communication and collaboration are fostered; the nature of the learning pathway provided; what quality assurances processes are applied; whether there are any certification mechanisms; links to formal educational offerings; and the degree of learner autonomy). The classification schema can be used to describe MOOCs and also to design and evaluate them. The list of MOOCs is growing, as are the publications associated with them. 11 These include descriptions of MOOCs and their evaluation. EFQUEL (European 12 Foundation for Quality in E-Learning) have produced an excellent series of MOOCs focusing on quality and MOOC development and use. There are 13 advocates and opponents of MOOCs. The advocates argue that the benefits of MOOCs include the fact that they are free and that they enable participants to be part of a global community of peers, providing them with experience of learning online and at scale. It is also argued that because they are free, they are socially inclusive, providing access to learning for those who cannot afford formal, fee-based education. The opponents argue that learner dropout rates are high (early MOOCs typically had a dropout rate of 95–98 %) and that it is more about ‘learning income than learning outcomes’ and hence primarily a marketing exercise. 14 OER and MOOC initiatives – the OPAL and POERUP projects When OER emerged, there was a naïve assumption that just making resources freely available would result in teachers and learners using and repurposing them. In contrast, evaluation of the use of OER repositories and participation in MOOCs indicates that these resources are not being used extensively and that there are high dropout rates (McAndrew 2006). Conole (2013) states the following with respect to this: The OER movement has been successful in promoting the idea that knowledge is a public good, expanding the aspirations of organisations and individuals to publish OER. However as yet the potential of OER to transform practice has not being realised, there is a need for innovative 11 See for example 12 See for example the ICDE’s list of MOOC reports ( tion.b7C_wRfSYa.ips), the MOOCs research reports site ( and the MOOCs for development site ( 13 14 For an online debate on the pros and cons of MOOCs see 5
  6. 6. forms of support on the creation and evaluation of OER, as well as an evolving empirical evidence-base about the effectiveness of OER. Indeed, more broadly there are still challenges with persuading teachers to use digital technologies. A recent Pearson report on faculty attitude to IT states: 15 Few faculty members (7 percent) strongly agree that online courses can achieve student learning outcomes that are at least equivalent to those of in-person courses. In terms of MOOCs the report states that: 62 percent of faculty members strongly agree that institutions should start MOOCs only with faculty approval; nearly as many (59 percent) strongly agree that MOOCs should be evaluated by accrediting agencies. It is worth concluding this section by locating OER and MOOCs in the wider context of openness. This consists of a full spectrum of open practices across learning, teaching and research activities, from open access through digital scholarship (Weller 2011), and adopting open approaches to learning and teaching through OER and MOOCs. Iliyoshi and Kumar (2008)provide an overview of the open educational movement. They discuss the notion of ‘openness’ and what it might mean in an educational context, in terms of open content, technology and knowledge. They argue that this is beginning to change the way resources are used, shared and improved. They suggest that the central tenet of open education is that ‘education can be improved by making educational assets visible and accessible and by harnessing the collective wisdom of a community of practice and reflection’. The importance of open practices for learning and teaching is evident through the EU ‘Opening up education’ initiative, which states the following: 16 The main goal of this initiative is to stimulate ways of learning and teaching through ICT and digital content, mainly through the development and availability of OER. The initiative lists the following as key benefits of the initiative: ● It will enable students to build knowledge from open and free sources other than their teachers and institutions, and with different methods ● It will facilitate everyone to engage in learning/study groups, thus creating learning communities beyond their classrooms ● It will make personalisation and customisation of education a much easier task 15 technology-2013.pdf 16 6
  7. 7. ● It will enable teachers to create communities of practice to exchange teaching materials and best practices ● It will provide access to a wider range of educational resources across borders and languages The OPAL initiative The OPAL initiative aimed to address the issue of the lack of uptake and use of OER. Over 100 case studies of OER repositories were examined. From this a set 17 of open educational practices (OEP) were identified, in terms of how OER were 18 being created, used and repurposed. From these an OPAL metromap was 19 developed, which enabled OER stakeholders (policy makers, managers, practitioners and learners) to create a vision and implementation map for OER. Figure 2: The OPAL metromap Figure 2 shows the metromap. For each stakeholder there are a number of relevant ‘metro stops’. These are: ● Vision for OEP: what is the vision for the creation, use and repurposing of OER? What institutional targets need to be set in relation to OER? ● Strategies and policies: what strategies and policies are in place or need to be developed to achieve the vision? ● Business models: what business models are needed? 17 18 Open Educational Practices are defined as “practices which support the (re)use and production of OER through institutional policies, promote innovative pedagogical models, and respect and empower learners as co-producers on their lifelong learning path" (Ehlers, 2011). Initially eight were identified: strategies and policies, Quality Assurance models, partnership models, tools and tool practices, barriers and success factors, innovations, skills development and support, and business models/sustainability strategies. 19 7
  8. 8. ● Partnerships: what partnerships with other organisations might be useful? ● Relevance: what is the relevance to individuals and institutions? ● Copyright framework: what copyright framework needs to be developed? ● Motivation framework: how can learners and teachers be motivated to use OER? ● Alignment with practices: how do we ensure that OER activities align with existing learning and teaching practices? ● Mindsets and attitudes: what are the current attitudes of learners and teachers towards the use of OER and how can these be changed to have a more favourable perspective on the use of OER? ● Sharing and exchanging: what mechanisms need to be in place to enable the sharing of good practice? ● Process for creating: how can the processes of creating OER be enabled? ● Using OER: how can OER use be encouraged? ● Repurposing OER: how can teachers be facilitated to repurpose OER for use in different learning contexts? ● Sharing OER: how can OER be shared and discussed? ● Quality mechanisms: what quality mechanisms are needed for OEs? ● Skills of teachers: what are the current skills levels of teachers around OER? ● Digital literacy: what kinds of digital literacies do learners and teachers need to make effective use of OER? ● Support mechanisms for teachers: what support mechanisms are needed for teachers? The OPAL website states the following in relation to this: The OEP Guidelines enable learners, educational practitioners, leaders of organisations, and policy makers to plot their trajectory on the path to open educational practices. This begins with assessing your current position, through the creation of a vision for openness and a strategy for open practices, and finally to implementing and promoting open educational practices. The OPAL initiative made significant progress in identifying OER practices and barriers to uptake of OER. The metromap provides useful guidelines to enable stakeholders to create both a vision for OER and associated practice, and a roadmap for implementation. The POERUP project The POERUP project built on the findings of OPAL. POERUP collated an 20 inventory of over 500 OER initiatives worldwide. Thirty-three country reports were also collated, which described the following: the educational context (across schools, the tertiary sector, including for adult learners, and the VET sector), the level of Internet and e-learning maturity, and the types of OER initiatives. The following countries were included: in the European Union: 20 8
  9. 9. Belgium, France, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Poland and United Kingdom, and outside of the EU: Australia, Canada, New Zealand and United States. In addition, a series of mini-studies were derived, for the following countries: Southern Europe: Greece, Portugal and Spain, North/East Europe: Denmark, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Norway, Romania and Sweden, and the rest of the world: Argentina, Jordan, Kuwait, Mexico, Oman, Qatar, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates. The key conclusions from the country reports were that many countries seem to be doing little around OER. However, there is a lot under the radar, such as open access approaches, the development and use of teacher repositories and specific ICT initiatives in schools. There is considerable variability in OER activity, which is specifically related to the level of OER policy (and funding) available in each country. The UK for example had until 2013 (though mainly in England) a sizeable amount of OER initiatives and activities, partly because of significant funding from the Joint Information Systems Committee (Jisc) and the Higher Education Academy (HEA). Very few countries (or institutions) have explicit OER policies. In some countries (such as Portugal) almost every university has an open access policy, although this may not necessarily specifically mention OER. Where there are national policies these are often limited in scope and largely concerned with publicly funded research in higher education, for example the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) Policy for open access in the post-2014 Research Excellence Framework. Eight in-depth case studies of OER communities were carried out using Social Networking Analysis (SNA), to ascertain the nature of the communities, the types of interactions, and the factors that influenced the sustainability of the communities (Schreurs, Beemt et al. 2014). These included the Dutch Wikiwijs community, ALISON in Ireland, the OERu consortium and the MOOC consortium FutureLearn. Wikiwijs (no longer funded but the repository is still active) is an OER platform 21 for teachers originally launched by the Dutch Ministry of Education. It aims to ‘stimulate the development and use of OER, improve access to open and 'closed' digital learning resources, support teachers in arranging their own learning materials and their professionalisation, and increase teacher involvement in the development and use of OER. Wikiwijs builds on the wiki philosophy of Wikipedia but customizes an existing OER platform, Connexions, to host and distribute its content. Wikiwijs is focused on all levels of education, from primary to higher education. All content on Wikiwijs is available under the creative commons CC BY licence. The Irish ALISON website states that it offers over 600 free online courses. 22 Four types of stakeholder are identified: students, teachers, employers and publishers. The benefits for students include the provision of a means to gain verification and certification, and the opportunity to take a free aptitude test. 21 22 9
  10. 10. The benefits for teachers are mechanisms to support the management of large groups and automatic testing. The benefits for employers are mechanisms to upskill employees and a means of verifying candidates’ knowledge. Finally, the benefits for publishers are a means of reaching millions of learners and a mechanism for earning advertising revenue. The OER u is an international consortium of institutions, where learners can 23 choose to learn through OER and/or MOOCs and then approach one of the partners for recognition of their learning and accreditation via that institution. There are now 37 members of the consortium and a range of courses offered via the website. The website states that all their courses are taught online, based on open educational resources, and designed for independent learning. They claim that the partner institutions offer qualifications through the OER u network, which are equivalent to those offered on-campus. Some of the benefits listed are that learners can ‘try before they buy’ since all OER u materials are free, and that learners can customize their learning via micro courses. Three ways of engaging with an OERu course are listed: self-directed interest, certification for active participation, and learning for credit. The FutureLearn consortium is the most recent MOOC consortium, initiated by 24 the Open University UK. Launched in December 2012, it now has 37 partners and is no longer confined to the UK. A key aspiration behind the initiative is inspiring learning for life and providing a means for globally connecting learners with experts. The platform offers a diverse range of courses. The pedagogy associated with FutureLearn courses is based on high-quality ‘bite size’ chunks of learning and it is about learning through storytelling. Courses contain a mixture of text, audio, video and activities. Participants can pay to get a certificate of participation. The platform has a rich set of learning analytic tools, to help course designers improve and refine their MOOCs. The FutureLearn website lists the following as key principles: 25 open approaches and practices, listening to learners (and clearly, learning analytics data is key to this), telling stories, provoking conversation, creating connections, keeping it simple, learning from others, celebrating progress, and embracing FutureLearners. The analysis of these communities gives a picture of the OER and MOOC landscape, the focus of different initiatives and associated business models, and the mechanisms that are needed to make them sustainable. MOOC evaluation The University of Leicester is a FutureLearn partner and the Institute of Learning Innovation undertook an evaluation of the first two Leicester MOOCs delivered on the platform (Padilla, Bird et al. 2014). The courses were: ‘England in the time of King Richard III’ and ‘Forensic Science and Criminal Justice’. Each course 26 27 23 24 25 26 10
  11. 11. was six weeks in duration, with three hours of learning per week. The courses adopted the bite-site chunking of learning approach, suggested by FutureLearn, through a variety of text, audio, video and activities. Participants could pay £25 for a certificate of participation. The evaluation methodology for the evaluation consisted of interviews with stakeholders (course designers, tutors, learners and the Director of Education at Leicester who was the lead on Leicester’s MOOC developments). An online survey was also sent to MOOC participants. In addition the courses and the associated learning analytics data were analysed. The number of people registered for each MOOC and the dropout rates were also collected. The aims of the evaluation included: ● Gathering perceptions of the MOOCs from course designers, deliverers and learners ● Describing participants’ interactions in the MOOCs ● Exploring the reasons for participating or dropping out of the MOOCs Figure 3 shows a breakdown of the age of participants. A significant percentage were older learners. This can be attributed to the fact that the course was primarily advertised to Open University alumni. 52 % had prior experiences of MOOCs, and most had some level of higher education qualifications. These findings mirror those from evaluations of other MOOCs. The Richard the III MOOC was capped at 10, 066 participants, and 12,511 learners registered on the Forensic Science course. Most visited the site at least a few times each week and posted an average of 8-9 posts each week. 87 % had little or no contact with tutors and 47 % were still active in the final week. 87% of Richard III learners (n=391) and 77% of Forensic Science MOOC participants (n=140) reported having no or little contact with MOOC tutors.. 11
  12. 12. Figure 3 Survey findings for the Richard III MOOC Table 1 shows a breakdown of the activities associated with the Richard the III MOOC. 97 % of participants liked or strongly liked reading articles. 94 % liked or strongly liked watching videos. 92 % liked or strongly liked following links to related content and 90 % liked or strongly liked doing the online quizzes and getting feedback. Lower percentages were evident for reading the comments posted by other participants (59 %) and discussing things online with others (28 %). Table 1: Breakdown of activities on the Richard the III MOOC Overall the participants were positive about their experience of participating in the MOOC (Figure 4). 97 % stated that the structure of the MOOC was clear. 92 % found the MOOC engaging and interesting, 91 % stated that it was a positive experience. They indicated that the course was about right in terms of level of difficulty, time and length. The top three reasons stated for participation were: learning new things (85 %), trying a MOOC (53 %) and experiencing online learning (46 %). Three common words used to describe the MOOC were: interesting, enjoyable and informative. 12
  13. 13. Figure 4: Overall experience of participating in the MOOC M A number of themes emerged from interviews with stakeholders. Firstly,, from the university’s point of view, participation was very much a marketing exercise. There was an aspiration that MOOC students might sign up for fee-paying Leicester courses as a result of participating in the MOOC. Course designers noted the value of using videos and bite-size chunks of learning, and saw these as pedagogical innovations that they planned to incorporate into their campus-based courses. The value of learning analytics was mentioned and in particular that the data indicated that videos should be no more than 10 minutes in length. The importance of working with experienced learning technologists in the course design was also noted, combining subject expert knowledge with general knowledge about good pedagogy and learning design. A key concern mentioned by both course designers was the issue of designing for an unknown audience, and in particular not knowing the level of prior experience in the subject matter of the participants. However, this did not appear to be an issue as the majority of participants stated that the level of the materials was about right. The platform was considered good from the learner perspective, but not from the developers’ perspective, this view has been fed back to the FutureLearn platform developers to help them improve the platform. The course designer for Richard III provided weekly email summaries, whereas the forensic science course had a dedicated course tutor to address participants’ comments. In general the stakeholders felt the MOOCs were good for raising the profile of Leicester courses and for showcasing examples of good practice. 28 These findings map well from evaluations of other MOOCs. Selwyn and Buffin (2014) did a meta-analysis of MOOC initiatives. They focused on stakeholder 28 See for a list of good practice guidelines for MOOCs 13
  14. 14. perceptions of the MOOC experience and how these discourses framed some of the wider concerns around higher education, in terms of access to education, the relationship between different stakeholders and the nature of knowledge. They listed the following distinct discursive themes: ● Size and scale in terms of the number of students, course and countries and the scale of the investment. ● Higher Education marketplace in terms of competition between universities for students and for credentialisation of degrees. ● General sense of transformation in terms of non-specific descriptions of characteristics of disruption. ● Business and economics aspects in terms of emerging business models and methods of monetization and profit making. ● Pedagogical approaches in terms of teaching and instructional design. ● How free the MOOCs were ● Nature of the subject content and knowledge and the subject areas offered. ● Nature of the students taking the MOOCs. ● Perceptions of the teachers, tutors and others involved in designing and delivering the MOOCs. ● Nature of assessment provided. ● Ways in which technologies were used. Policy recommendations Bliss (2014) argues that effective OER policy is critical for the entire open education movement. Policies exist at a number of levels: international, national, and institutional. He refers to the OER impact map produced by the OER 29 Research Hub, which shows policies around the world that have been created in support of open education. In terms of policy overviews a number of documents are listed: ● The USA OER policy overview. This indicates that OER policy in the USA is 30 at federal, state and institutional level. Policy is driven by problems in the system and there is a wide range of policies at many different levels. The types of policy include: investing resources to create or adopt OER, inject open licensing into systems that create educational resources, endorsements for OER and removing barriers to OER uptake. ● The OER policy recommendations for the Word Summit on the Information Society 2012. The document concludes with the following statement: 31 Open Education is an important driver for reforming education locally and globally; a reform that is more urgently needed than ever. 29 30 31 49 14
  15. 15. Open Educational Resources enable Open Education and promote inclusive learning, global collaboration and improved human conditions for all. It is vital to speed up the adoption of Open Educational Resources and Open Education worldwide. This will challenge some of the established systems and practices, calling for global and local leadership. Five policy recommendations are made. Firstly, there is a need to intensify global collaborations on OEP and OER (e.g. through UNESCO, Commonwealth of Learning, and others), maintaining a sensitivity of diversity in culture, educational systems and governance. Thus stimulating institutional and national partnerships for open collaboration. Secondly, existing Intellectual Property Right and Copyright schemes represent an important barrier to OEP and should therefore be reconsidered in the educational context. Whenever learning material is produced with public funding open licences should be used. Thirdly, there is a need to promote Open Education in legislation and government policies as a powerful alternative to current educational approaches. Fourthly, national governments should take up international recommendations (e.g. from UNESCO, EU, etc.) to improve OER adoption and education reforms. Fifthly, there is a need to create an open, flexible, inclusive educational environment including support mechanisms. ● The UNESCO policy guidelines for promotion of open access. This focuses 32 on the promotion of open access to research outputs. The benefits of open access are cited as: it improves the speed, efficiency and efficacy of research, it is an enabling factor in interdisciplinary research, it enables computation upon the research literature, it increases the visibility, usage and impact of research, and it allows the professional, practitioner and business communities, and the interested public, to benefit from research. ● The Registry of Open Access Repositories Mandatory Archiving Policies. 33 Bliss cites Vance Randall who argues that policy is nearly always created to solve a particular problem or set of problems. He goes on to articulate the nature of policy at different levels. At the international level it is about raising awareness of OER and ensuring sustainability. At the national level OER may help solve the sustainable OER development problem by requiring open licensing on materials produced with public funds. Finally, at the institutional level it is about ensuring the mainstreaming of OER. The POERUP project concluded with a set of recommendations for policy to promote the uptake of OER and MOOCs (Bacsich, 2014; Phillips, 2014; Pepler, 2014). These conclusions draw on a POERUP-specific policies survey (Pepler, 32 mmunication-materials/publications/full-list/policy-guidelines-for-the-development-and-promoti on-of-open-access/ 33 15
  16. 16. 2014), which has a strong focus on relevance to EU countries. 34 The recommends were based around the following themes: ● Communication and awareness raising ● Funding ● Copyright and licensing ● Reducing regulatory barriers ● Quality ● Teacher training and continuous professional development ● Certification and accreditation ● Infrastructure ● Further research In terms of communication and awareness raising, POERUP concluded that there was still a need to raise awareness of existing resources and, in some countries, to clarify what OER are and what their benefits are. There also needs to be continued support for existing programmes. To this we would add the need for Continuing Professional Development to help practitioners find resources and enable them to repurpose them for a new learning context. A study by Conole et al. (Conole, McAndrew et al. 2010) explored how OER could be repurposed for supporting collaborative learning. They concluded that using OER was hard for a number of reasons. In particular, the practitioner needs to unpack the implicit design of the OER and then find a way of repurposing it for a new learning context. Funding costs and ensuring sustainability are still key issues. More needs to be done to ensure the outputs of publically funded research in this area continue to be used. We also need a better understanding of the cost basis of university teaching and in particular the costs associated with producing OER and delivering MOOCs. Not surprisingly, copyright and licensing issues were still evident. Mechanisms need to be put in place to educate practitioners on IPR (Intellectual Property Rights) issues and to harness the knowledge of information specialist on copyright and IPR such as library professionals. In terms of reducing regulatory barriers, the POERUP project promoted the idea of a ‘Bologna bis’ and in particular that the focus should be on the competences 35 learner gained rather than the duration of their study. They also recommended research into standardization of undergraduate syllabi across Europe, especially in the area of STEM subjects. 34 For an overview of European and International policies relevant to the uptake of OER see licies_relevant_for_the_uptake_of_OER_v1.0.pdf 35 The Bologna process is a series of agreements between European countries to ensure comparability in the standards and quality of Higher Education qualifications – see 16
  17. 17. There were a number of key issues around the quality of OER and MOOCs. Ways of improving the visibility of OER included encouraging practitioners to include OER on approved course reading lists. It was also stated that it was important that OER sand MOOCs met appropriate accessibility issues. Mechanisms for improving the quality of OER and MOOCs included the suggestion that peer review mechanisms are put in place, perhaps through an OER/MOOC evaluation and adoption panel. It was suggested that an in-depth country cost-benefits analysis should be undertaken to assess the potential savings that might be achieved through implementing an OER strategy. POERUP also recommended establishing a European quality assurance standard for OER content. Finally there was a need to consider the implications of OER and MOOCs on quality assurance and recognition. Teacher training and CPD (Continuing Professional Development) were highlighted as a key way of increasing the impact and uptake of OER and MOOCs. The POERUP project stated that very few CPD programmes include much on teaching online and even fewer on how to use OER and MOOCs. Suggestions to address this included: establishing and adequately funding a professional development programme to help teachers and administrators understand the benefits and uses of OER/MOOCs and open licensing. This would support teachers/ trainer/lecturer CPD on the creation, use and re-use of OER, with coverage of distance learning, MOOCs and other forms of open educational practice, and also IPR issues, and establishing incentive schemes for teachers engaged in online professional development of their pedagogic skills including online learning. In terms of certification and accreditation the project recommended the establishment of transnational accrediting agencies and mutual recognition of accreditation across Europe. There is also a need to ensure that there are appropriate mechanisms for APL (Accreditation of Prior Learning), including the ability to accredit knowledge and competences developed through online study and informal learning. Finally the infrastructure of the design and delivery of OER and MOOCs needs to be improved, to make it seamless across Europe and easy to use. This was particularly relevant to schools who are on the whole less well served by networks. The project concluded with a number of recommendations for further research. Firstly, this includes focusing on sustainable business models for OER and innovation. Secondly, research should be encouraged 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. Thirdly, future research in the K-12 sector should explicitly embrace Repositories, Federations, Portals and Tools and should consider off-campus learning (both institutional – virtual schools – and self-directed or home-tutor led). Fourthly, it is important to support educational institutions in developing new business and educational models around OER and MOOC. Finally, the project recommended the establishment of large-scale research and policy experimentations to test 17
  18. 18. innovative pedagogical approaches, curriculum development and skills assessment. Recognition of informal and non-formal learning Clearly OER and MOOCs offer opportunities for learners to learn for free and potentially enable individuals who cannot afford formal education to learn. A number of accreditation models have emerged for the recognition of informal and non-formal learning through OER and MOOCs; such as badges for skills and competencies, certificates of participation and completion, and formal recognition of learning, through organisations like the OERu. 36 Figure 5 illustrates the relationship between formal and informal learning. There are two axes: learning individually or socially, and learning informally or formally. Traditional campus-based course and Distance Learning courses, sit in the top left hand side, mapping to learning individually in a formal learning context. Adding a social element shifts this to the top right hand side, examples include blended courses and Distance Learning courses with an addition of social media. Learning individual and informally can be achieved through OER and xMOOCs, as shown in the bottom left hand side of the diagram. Added a social dimension shifts this to the bottom right hand side; examples include learning through OER and social media, and cMOOCs. Transition from an informal to a formal learning context can be achieved in a number of ways: through traditional Accreditation of Prior Learning (APEL), via e-portfolios that evidence how the learner has achieved the learning outcomes, through organisations like the OERu, and through badges for accreditation. Figure 5: The formal/informal learning landscape 36 18
  19. 19. The OpenCred project investigated mechanisms for the recognition of OER and 37 MOOCs (Witthaus, Childs et al. 2014). The purpose was to gain an understanding of the landscape of recognition of informal and non-formal learning and to inform a broader project on opening up education, OpenEdu, which is 38 investigating the challenges and opportunities in the recognition of learning achievements via open learning with the aim of supporting policy development at a European level. The study started with a desk research phase, which sought to identify the ways in which the main open education collaborative networks, consortia and platforms in Europe offer recognition for open learning. The concept of recognition was broken down into different levels of formality, with reference to some key recent discussion documents in the literature, and descriptors were given for each level in the resulting hierarchy. Various European open education initiatives were then described in terms of this hierarchy of levels of formality of recognition. The researchers also carried out four in-depth case studies to investigate the experiences of a small number of participants in open education in Europe from different perspectives. Six interviews were held: two with teachers based in higher education education/research institutions, two with MOOC learners, and two with employers/employer bodies that are beginning to recognise non-formal, open learning. The findings revealed that the following aspects of open learning had a significant impact on recognition of open learning: robustness of assessment, affordability for the learner, and eligibility for assessment and recognition. 39 Related initiatives OER and MOOC activities continue at a pace and there continues to be significant interest in investigating how OER and MOOCs can be developed and used. In addition to the projects described in this chapter, it is worth highlighting some related research. The VMPass project is developing an accreditation framework for OER and MOOCs. This is being achieved through a ‘learning passport, which has three sections to be completed: a section from the OER/MOOC provider, a sector to be completed by the learner, and a section from the accrediting organisation or body’. The European Multiple MOOC aggregator project, EMMA, aims to showcase 40 excellence in innovative teaching methodologies and learning approaches through the large-scale piloting of MOOCs on different subjects. EMMA provides a system for the delivery of free, open, online courses in multiple languages from different European universities to help preserve Europe’s rich cultural, 37 See for a summary of the project 38 39 Please note that at the time of writing the report has not yet been endorsed bu the commissioning body, IPTS 40 19
  20. 20. educational and linguistic heritage and to promote real cross-cultural and multi-lingual learning. EMMA operates in two main modes, as an aggregator and hosting system of courses produced by European universities, and as a system that enables learners to construct their own courses using units from MOOCs as building blocks. The EMMA team are taking a deliberate multi-lingual, multi-cultural approach to learning by offering inbuilt translation and transcription services for courses hosted on the platform. The eMundus project focuses on the state of the art of MOOCs. It aims to 41 strengthen cooperation and awareness among European Higher Education Institutions and their strategic counterparts worldwide by exploring the potential of Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs) and Virtual Mobility (VM) to support long term, balanced, inter-cultural academic partnership. A recently started project, OpenEdOZ, funded by the Australian Office of 42 Learning and Technology, is developing a national policy for fostering the uptake of open resources and courses. It has two main activities: i) curriculum design case studies to answer the question of how student learning outcomes can be enhanced with OEP and ii) a National Policy Roadmap for fostering relevant uptake of open resources and courses. The project is due for completion in September 2015. Australia has perhaps been somewhat behind the other advanced English-speaking countries in OER-related policy development and this project, therefore, is a welcome addition. Conclusion The chapter has provided an overview of OER and MOOC initiatives and developments, with a particular focus on the policy lens for uptake. It has drawn on a number of key research projects exploring this issue. The chapter includes a set of policy recommendations derived from the POERUP project (which of course drew on the earlier work from the OPAL initiative, as well as work carried out by UNSECO and COL and other projects and agencies). As stated at the start of this chapter, OER and MOOCs are challenging traditional educational institutions and their associated business models. OER and MOOCs are an example of what Christensen terms ‘disruptive innovation’ (Christensen 1997). A disruptive innovation is an innovation that helps create a new market and value network, and eventually disrupts an existing market and value network (over a few years or decades), displacing an earlier technology. It is about change, about something new, about the unexpected and about changing mindsets. OER and MOOCs are disruptive in that they are challenging traditional educational institutions, to rethink their business models and to rethink the ways in which they design and deliver courses. It is unclear what the future of OER and MOOCs will be, and whether or not they will have a fundamental impact on the educational landscape. But if they make traditional institutions rethink their values and distinctiveness and what is the learner experience of attending 41 42 20
  21. 21. one institution over another then that is for the good. Our feeling is that there will be a spectrum of educational offerings from entirely free resources and courses, through to the Oxbridge model of the one-to-one tutorial. This theme is further developed in Bacsich (2012). This spectrum will offer learners a variety of possibilities to engage with learning, matched to their individual preferences and needs. References Atwell, G. (2007). "Personal Learning Environments: the future of learning?" eLearning papers 2(1). Bliss, T. J. (2014). "Musings on OER policy." aperta educationem Christensen, C. (1997). The innovator's dilemma: When new technologies cause great firms to fail. Harvard, Harvard University Press. Conole, G. (2013). Open Educational Resource. Designing for learning in an open world. New York, Springer: 225-242. Conole, G. (2014). "A new classification schema for MOOCs." INNOQUAL 2(3). Conole, G., P. McAndrew, et al. (2010). The role of CSCL pedagogical patterns as mediating artefacts for repurposing Open Educational Resources’. in F. Pozzi and D. Persico (Eds), Techniques for Fostering Collaboration in Online Learning Communities: Theoretical and Practical. Fini, A. (2009). "The technological dimension of a Massive Open Online Course: The case of the CCK08 course tools." IRRODL 10(5). Glennie, J., K. Harley, et al. (2012). Open Educational Resources and Change in Higher Education: Reflections from Practice. Vancouver, Commonwealth of Learning/UNESCO. Iiyoshi, T. and M. S. V. Kumar (2008). Opening Up Education: The Collective Advancement of Education through Open Technology, Open Content, and Open Knowledge, The MIT Press %@ 0262033712. McAndrew, P. (2006). Motivations for Openlearn: the Open University’s Open Content Initiative, Openlearning workshop paper. THe OECD experts meeting on Open Educatinal Resouces. Barcelona. Padilla, B., T. Bird, et al. (2014). Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs): evaluation report - University of Leicester. Leicester, University of Leicester. Schreurs, B., V. d. Beemt, et al. (2014). "An investigation into social learning activities by practitioners in open educational practices." IRRODL 15(4). Selwyn, N. and S. Buffin (2014). MOOC research initiative - final report. Siemens, G. (2005). "Connectivism: A learning theory for the digital age." International journal of instructional technology and distance learning 2(1): 3–10. Weller, M. (2011). The digital scholar - how technology is changing academic practice. London, Bloomsbury Academic. Witthaus, G., M. Childs, et al. (2014). The OpenCred report on institutional practices and approaches to the recognition of non-formal, open learning in Europe. Leicester, University of Leicester. 21
  22. 22. 22