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.