This blogpost is to dissiminate and discuss about the Nordic OER Alliance.
The OER movement originated from developments in open and distance learning (ODL) and in the wider context of a culture of open knowledge, open source, free sharing and peer collaboration, which emerged in the late 20th century.
The idea of open educational resources (OER) has numerous working definitions. Often cited is the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation which defines OER as: "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 and re-purposing by others. Open educational resources include full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, and any other tools, materials, or techniques used to support access to knowledge". The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) defines OER as: "digitised materials offered freely and openly for educators, students, and self-learners to use and reuse for teaching, learning, and research. OER includes learning content, software tools to develop, use, and distribute content, and implementation resources such as open licences". This is the definition cited by Wikipedia's sister project, Wikiversity. By way of comparison, the Commonwealth of Learning has adopted the widest definition of Open Educational Resources (OER) as ‘materials offered freely and openly to use and adapt for teaching, learning, development and research. The WikiEducator project suggests that OER refers to educational resources (lesson plans, quizzes, syllabi, instructional modules, simulations, etc.) that are freely available for use, reuse, adaptation, and sharing.
Open Educational Resources (OER) are discussed widely on a global, European and even Nordic level. The UNESCO OER Declaration shows the importance of Open Educational Resources and gives recommendations to
governments and institutions around the globe. The European Union launched in autumn 2013 a large-scale initiative on Opening Up Education. These developments have been the starting point for a Nordic initiative in promoting and utilizing OER in the Nordic countries with a focus on creating a strong base for OER and Open Educational Practices (OEP) amongst the Nordic countries and in the Nordic region, also with a global outreach in mind. The Nordic countries have a potential to become a forerunner in OEP and the use of OER in Europe.
The Nordic countries share many values related to education and technology development and use. The political and governmental institutions are quite similar; and there is a tradition of cooperation, exchange of knowledge and solutions between the countries. To focus on a relatively homogeneous region, which shares many basic values allows building knowledge and coming up with specific recommendations that can be useful for policy makers at different levels, be implemented in policies and practice, and used to form new co-operations. OER could potentially be a change and an innovation agent in schools, as well as in universities, vocational and adult education. Having OER as a scope allows using one strong prism to reflect crossroads the educational system has to navigate in the Nordic countries.
This Nordic OER initiative financed by the Nordic Council of Ministers aims to work for awareness, knowledge building, networking and creating an arena for dissemination of OER and openness in education. The foundation for the project is to establish a ground for Nordic and global collaboration. Open approaches are widely used in the Nordic
countries, but there is a lack of awareness about OER and no policies are in place. Furthermore, there are few Nordic collaborative projects in this area and a lack of global collaboration. A position paper has been agreed among the Nordic partners where goals, objectives, actions, recommendations and barriers are stated. More exactly the project will aim for:
* Awareness building
* Create a Nordic network
* Explore, transformative capacity, innovation potentials, cost efficiency and quality, open and flexible learning opportunities
* Help institutions positioning OER in their strategies
* Cross border and cross cultural collaboration
* Good practice, policy building and implementation
* Small languages and cultures
* Collaboration with the Boldic OER project, an OER project in the Baltic countries also financed by the Nordic Council of Ministers.
Furthermore the project strategically will work for establishing the Nordic OER Community of individuals representing stakeholders and institutions. This Community is aiming to support uptake, adoption and collaboration around OER and to contribute to a strong OER movement within the Nordic countries with an outreach globally.
Aim of contribution
The suggestion for the Open Educational Week 2014 is to talk about the NordicOER Alliance and to discuss the use and implementation of OERs in smaller cultures and languages, as most OERs are in English and within an English influenced context.
Target group and focus
Everyone interested in OER, policy questions, implementation issues, possibilities and limitations
Language is English
Points and questions to be discussed during the OEW
What about possibilities and limitations with use and implementation of OER in small languages?
Are OERs culture and language dependent?
Adaptability of OERs?
To learn from experiences from others?
Regional development (like in the Nordic countries) of policies and strategies, any experiences to learn from?