The open access movement has gained increasing traction within universities, leading to the creation of numerous courseware repositories of open educational resources (OER) worldwide. However, use of OER as a tool for expanding access to formal education is currently limited by a lack of examples of accreditation of learning obtained through them, thus significantly reducing their transformative potential.
We explore work carried out in five European universities (United Nations University, Open University of Catalonia, Universities of Bologna, Edinburgh, Granada) aimed at taking use of OER a significant step forward by working towards the assessment and accreditation of OER-based learning outcomes. These universities evaluated , in the light of their current practices in traditional education, both opportunities and internal and external barriers for them in recognising learning based solely on OERs.
Through consultation with a multi-disciplinary, cross-institutional, team of experts in quality assurance, academic development, curriculum development, administration and financing, a shared process model was developed. The feasibility of the model was investigated from administrative, legal and financial perspectives, as well as from the view point of institutional positioning and strategy.
We will present a set of scenarios for assessing OER-based learning outcomes, each with different degrees of ‘unbundling’ of course design, provision and assessment between different institutions, mapped onto traditional QA and accreditation processes. The results of our feasibility testing of institutional accreditation of OER-based learning will be discussed.