Germany

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lead author Susanne Friz, based on initial work by James Kay and Paul Bacsich
Table File:Open Education Initiatives in Germany.pdf by Susanne Friz

For entities in Germany see Category:Germany

Overview

Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany (German: Bundesrepublik Deutschland) is a country in Central Europe. The territory of Germany covers 357,021 km² and is influenced by a temperate seasonal climate.

With over 82,000,000 inhabitants, it comprises the largest population among the member states of the European Union and is home to the third-highest number of international migrants worldwide.

The capital of Germany is Berlin.

Germany (Deutschland) is a Federal Republic consisting of sixteen states, known in German as Länder (singular Land). Since Land is the literal German word for "country", the term Bundesländer (federal states; singular Bundesland) is commonly used colloquially, as it is more specific, though technically incorrect within the corpus of German law. The peoples of the states are the nation of Germany. The governments of the states are part of the authority of Germany.

The states have many devolved powers including nearly full control of the education system including universities. Different states differ considerably as to how they exercise this control.

Under the Basic Law (Grundgesetz) the exercise of governmental powers and the fulfilment of governmental responsibility is incumbent upon the individual Länder as far as the Basic Law does not provide for or allow for any other arrangement. The Basic Law contains a few fundamental provisions on questions of education, culture and science: thus for example it guarantees the freedom of art and scholarship, research and teaching, the freedom of faith and creed, free choice of profession and of the place of training, equality before the law and the rights of parents. The entire school system is under the supervision of the state.

Unless the Basic Law awards legislative powers to the Federation, the Länder have the right to legislate. Within the education system, this applies to the school sector, the higher education sector, adult education and continuing education. Administration of the education system in these areas is almost exclusively a matter for the Länder.

OER initiatives in Germany

Total number of Open Education Initiatives in Germany on Saturday, 19 October 2019 at 11:00 = 5 , of which:

  • 2 are MOOC
  • 1 are OER

Initiatives per million = 0.06

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Recent information

For additional open education initiatives in Germany not yet integrated into the main database but all geocoded and with full regional information, see the report File:Open Education Initiatives in Germany.pdf.

(For the original summary table of OER entities in Germany see Media:Germany OER entities.pdf)

Further information

For further general information see Wikipedia:Germany.

States of Germany

The 16 Länder are called in English (and German if different):

  1. Baden-Württemberg
  2. Bavaria (Bayern)
  3. Berlin - city-state
  4. Brandenburg
  5. Bremen - city-state
  6. Hamburg - city-state
  7. Hesse (Hessen)
  8. Mecklenburg-Vorpommern
  9. Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen)
  10. North Rhine-Westphalia (Nordrhein-Westfalen)
  11. Rhineland-Palatinate (Rheinland-Pfalz)
  12. Saarland (French: Sarre)
  13. Saxony (Sachsen)
  14. Saxony-Anhalt (Sachsen-Anhalt)
  15. Schleswig-Holstein
  16. Thuringia (Thüringen)

Those states in bold have at least 5 million people (and of these, four have 10-20 million) - in other words, they are larger than many European countries.

Education in Germany

For a general description of education in Germany see Education:Germany.


e-learning

For a description more focussed to e-learning see E-learning:Germany.


Quality procedures

Internet in Germany

The ICT strategy, Digital Germany 2015, sets out the priorities, tasks and projects for the period up to 2015. Amongst its aims are: the expansion of digital infrastructure and networks to meet future challenges; the safeguarding and protection of the personal rights of users in the future Internet and in the use of new media; and the strengthening of basic, further and continuing education and training and competencies in handling new media. (1)


Internet in Education

In 1996, The Federal Ministry Education and Research (in cooperation with Deutsche Telekom) created the Schulen ans Netz association with the first mission of connecting all German schools to the Internet by the end of 2001. After that, Schulen ans Netz was step by step transformed into a competence centre covering all aspects of the use of new media in schools. The scope of Schulen ans Netz is nationwide and the focus of the work lays in identifying and disseminating Good Practice. The main emphasis is to offer concrete online tools, content and support for teachers, school leaders, school authorities and parents. These services shall simplify teaching and learning with ICT in daily school life. (1)

Copyright law in Germany

Copyright gives the creator of an original work exclusive rights to it, i.e. it gives the copyright holder the right to be credited for the work and to determine who may adapt the work to other forms. The authors' rights are internationally protected by the „Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works“ (1886). In Germany the copyright law and related rights are regulated in the "Urheberrechtsgesetz/German Copyright Act" from 1965. Last changes werde made in 2007, coming into effect in 2008. The changes were mainly a result of the EU Directive 2001/29/EC which Germany first implemented in 2003.

Copyright law in Education

The EU Directive 2001/29/EC provides in Article 5 Section 3 optional exceptions or limitations to the copyright law in the following cases:

  • 3 (d) "quotations for purposes such as criticism or review, provided that they relate to a work or other subject-matter which has already been lawfully made available to the public."
  • 3 (e) "use for the sole purpose of illustration for teaching or scientific research, as long as the source, including the author's name, is indicated, unless this turns out to be impossible and to the extent justified by the non-commercial purpose to be achieved."

That means copying in these cases is allowed for a limited circle of those taking part in the instruction of a specifically limited circle of persons for their personal scientific research. These exceptions are optional and therefore not all EU states implemented them. In 2003, Germany implemented the Article 5 Section 3 of the EU Directive in the German Copyright Act in Article 52a:
"Making works available to the public for instruction and research:
(1) It shall be permissible for:

  1. published small, limited parts of a work, small scale works, as well as individual articles from newspapers or periodicals for illustration in teaching at schools, universities, non-commercial institutions of education and further education, and at vocational training institutions, exclusively for the specifically limited circle of those taking part in the instruction, or
  2. ... exclusively for a specifically limited circle of persons for their personal scientific research to be made available to the public, to the extent that this is necessary for the respective purpose and is justified for the pursuit of non-commercial aims."

This article regulates the copyright law in German schools, so that this material can be copied for the instruction in schools, but can`t be used outside of schools, e.g. on school-websites. The copyright law is very restrictively used in schools (q.v. the discussion about the "school trojan" in the chapter "OER initiatives in Germany").

OER Initiatives in Germany

For a summary table of OER entities in Germany see Media:Germany OER entities.pdf by Susanne Friz

Germany has raised a number of fundamental objections to the idea of OER. They question whether a lack of digital content prevents learning, particularly in the case of people with low qualifications, and whether well-educated people will benefit the most from OER. Furthermore, they ask if there are any sustainable business models for OER and suggest that there are questions of standards, quality, technical interoperability, and legal questions concerning copyright that have not yet been solved. The issue of copyright is widely discussed in Germany in reference to the ongoing Open Access debate. Germany was the only country which in its response to the OECD questionnaire reported that the OER issue is not expected to become a policy priority in the near future. They also stated that they do not consider a lack of learning material in digital format (especially in English) to be one of the major problems in education; therefore, the potential benefit of OER in Germany is not highly rated. (2)

In Germany the discussion about OER has started in autumn of 2011 with the debate about the so called "school trojan". The textbook publishers had asked the school authorities to check in schools with the help of a software if the copyright laws were observed in the intranet of the schools. That caused a lot of discussions. In the end the publishers gave up on the idea. But the awareness of OER was raised and more campaigns and regional events were organised to emphasise the idea of OER. Several publications about OER werde initiated and research in that field funded. Here are the most important steps of the discussion about OER in Germany:

  • March/2012 OER-Whitepaper („Open Educational Resources for schools in Germany“ Internet & Gesellschaft Co:llaboratory)(3): describes background, players and development status of OER in Germany
  • September/2012 OER-Camp in Bremen
  • November/2012 Hearing of BMBF ( Federal Ministry of Education and Research) and KMK (standing committee of the German ministers of education and cultural affairs) about OER: agreement between KMK , publishers and collecting societies about digitalisation of textbooks
  • August/2013: three surveys from BMBF: outline(4)/ judicial (5)/ metadata (6)
  • September/2013 OER-Camp in Berlin
  • September/2013 OER-conference in Berlin by Wikimedia
  • September/2013: the KMK (standing committee of the German ministers of education and cultural affairs) has established a working committee to develop a commentary to OER in Germany till autumn 2014
  • November/2013: OER in the CDU/CSU - SPD coalition agreement in Germany: „Free digital teaching material must be strengthened by the state and the federal states. The basis for this is an educational and research friendly copyright law and an open-access-policy. The access to textbooks for schools and teaching materials for universities should be – as much as possible – free and the usage of free licences and formats should be strengthened.“

National OER initiatives

Since the discussion in Germany about OER is mainly led by institutions, teachers and staff from universities, there are not very many national OER initiatives. Some are funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, but most of the initiatives are led by non-profit organisations. Since there are hardly any national policies by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research in Germany, the initiatives arise from teachers itself or non-profit organisations who believe in free OER material for schools in Germany (see section "Institutional OER initiatives). Another reason for the lack of national OER initiatives is the fact that Germany is a Federal Republic. Each of the 16 federal states have nearly full control of the education system including universities. Therefore the state cannot normally fund national projects for education in schools and universities in the states.
Nevertheless, there are some national OER initiatives which have been or are still funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF):

  • Lehrer-online (teachers-online) is a national platform for schools which was originally funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. The main tasks of Lehrer-online are the provision of information and teaching material for schools (primary schools, secondary schools, vocational schools). New media is a strong focus of the programme.
Lehrer-online is part of an online network www.schulen-ans-netz.de, financed by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and, in its first phase, sponsored by the Deutsche Telekom as well. Now it is led by the limited company Lehrer-Online GmbH. It is financed by advertisement and other services for the Federal Ministry or the ministries of the federal states. The material is still free for the schools. Most German federal states have now similar and linked initiatives, e.g. Bavaria, Lower Saxony etc. Like all the web-based services, provided by the Schulen ans Netz, this portal is also supported by a team of education experts, IT-specialists and teachers who are knowledgeable on the current educational needs. The services of Lehrer-Online include: practical teaching modules including free-of-charge working materials, methodological and didactical articles and suggestions for classroom preparation, which have been developed and approved by teachers in the classroom and carefully developed, researched and validated by editorial staff, both in terms of subject and methodology, before being published; dedicated discussion forum, where teaching professionals can exchange their ideas and experience; an information service specially tailored to users’ needs (this includes news about schools, new media and education policy along with in-depth information on practical legalities like data privacy and copyright issues); the Virtual Learning Environment lo-net offering virtual rooms for cooperation with colleagues as well as for class teaching and cooperative projects with other schools in Germany and elsewhere; the homepage generator for primary schools: Primolo is a net-based tool which can be used free of charge and which enables primary school children accompanied by a teacher to design their own web sites. (1)
  • Deutscher Bildungsserver (German Education Server/eduserver)is a meta-server referring to web resources, e.g. from the federal government and the Länder (states), the European Union, universities, schools, state institutes, research and service institutions and scholarly information centres. It is funded by the federal government (Bund) and the federal states (Länder). It covers all subjects for Pre-Primary education, Primary School, High School, vocational training and universities. Most German federal states have now similar and linked educational servers, e.g. Bavaria, Lower Saxony, Baden-Württemberg, Hessen, Niedersachsen and North-Rhine Westphalia etc. (see Regional OER Initiatives).
  • Rpi virtuell is led by the Comenius-Institut in Münster and financed by the Protestant Church in Germany (EKD). It is an open platform for RE (religious education) where students can create their material collaboratively. The material is for Pre-Primary education, Primary Schools, High Schools and Adult Education. The thematic sites contain digital assets with pictures, texts and link-lists. Students can also upload their own material.
  • Exil-Club is an online learning environment that engages with the subjects of exile, migration and intercultural education. The content as well as the working platform of the Exil-Club can be used by European school projects dealing with topics from the Exil-Club. The platform also stresses the topic of media literacy and media competence. It is led by the foundation Else-Lasker-Schüler-Stiftung and Schulen ans Netz e.V. From 2001 till 2005 it was funded by the German Bundeministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF)/German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. (1)

Regional OER initiatives

Since the 16 federal states in Germany have nearly full control of the education system, most official OER initiatives are regional. All of the German federal states have a regional educational server (see list below). Berlin and Brandenburg have one together. Besides resource servers, some states also have media portals with specific OER material.

Here are the regional educational servers of the federal states:

  • Elixier is a search machine of metadata from the federal states' education servers. The education servers of the federal states exchange their metadata. All these metadata linked to resources can be found in ELIXIER. ELIXIER devotes its work to OER material and there will be a special section only for OER material with CC.
  • Baden-Württemberg links to resources and material from other teachers for all subjects and school types ranging from Primary School, High School to vocational training. All material is supervised by an editorial staff consisting of teachers.
  • Bavaria (Bayern): links to resources for different school types (Primary School, High School, vocational training) and to different school subjects. There are also links to school projects and downloads of learning software.
  • Berlin-Brandenburg: links to resources for Languages, Music, Art, Maths and Science, PE and bilingual education. There is also a special portal for Primary Schools with their subjects.
  • Bremen: material on job orientation, PE and Maths and Science in Primary Schools.
  • Hamburg: links to resources in Languages, Maths and Science, Humanities, Theatre, Art, Music and PE and also to link lists for these subjects. There is also a special portal for vocational training.
  • Hesse (Hessen): The portal has a media library with 5.000 files (photos, MP3-files, video, text etc.) for all school subjects to be used e.g. for worksheets, teaching material and presentations in the classroom. Besides that, already prepared material like webquests are also available. They are all under the CC BY licence. For each subject and topic you can also find external links. There is also a separate portal for Primary Schools.
  • Mecklenburg-Vorpommern: Only some external links to material for the school subjects.
  • Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen): Material is in the media-server merlin (see list below).
  • North Rhine-Westphalia (Nordrhein-Westfalen): Material is in the media-server learn:line (see list below).
  • Rhineland-Palatinate (Rheinland-Pfalz): External links to resources in Languages, Humanities, Maths and Science, Art, Music and PE.
  • Saarland: External links to resources for RE, German, Humanities, Art, Maths, IT, Science, Economy and Primary Schools.
  • Saxony (Sachsen): Material-databank MatDB with material from teachers for all subjects. Teachers can upload their material and an administrator clears it. The databank is just developing and therefore not a lot of material is in it yet (over 300 entries).
  • Saxony-Anhalt (Sachsen-Anhalt): Online-material is in the media-server emuTUBE (see list below).
  • Schleswig-Holstein: Databank IQSH-Mediathek with film sequences, videos, photos, pictures, texts etc. (see list below).
  • Thuringia (Thüringen): External links to different information.

Besides these educational servers, some federal states also have media portals with online-material (video, audio, pictures, texts etc.). Some of this material is OER, but not all of it like films from German educational TV. Therefore, for most of these portals teachers and schools have to register. Then they can use the material in the classroom free of charge and also download it in most cases. Students can work with it, but can't download.

Here is a list of media portals of different states:

  • Baden-Württemberg: SESAM includes teaching material, teaching modules and photos. Teachers have to register. You can also find teaching modules created by teachers for the different subjects. They are all according to the curriculum of Baden-Württemberg.
  • Bavaria (Bayern): mebis includes digital media like films, audio, multimedia, pictures, maps, worksheets, texts etc. Al lot of material is OER, but not the films from educational TV and films from commercial producers. Teachers can also download most media, students can only stream it. Schools have to register first. Media from mebis can also be found and used in a Moodle platform which is linked to the media server.
  • Berlin: MOM - Medienforum Online-Medien can be used by all schools in Berlin. Teachers can register and can use the media in the schools, but not outside. Exceptions are for preparing lessons at home and for students to use the media offline for homework.
  • Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen): merlin contains digital films, graphics, worksheets and links to OER material. All media is professionally produced and cleared for schools. Teachers can download the material, students can work with it. Everybody can search in the media portal, but for viewing and downloading the material, schools have to register.
  • North Rhine-Westphalia: Material in the media-server learn:line is mainly OER and comes from different sources. It always states the copyright. Teachers only have to register for material from the EDMOND portal which includes audiovisual material from commercial producers. The download is free of charge once the teachers have registered.
  • Rhineland-Palatinate (Rheinland-Pfalz): All OER material in OMEGA can be used by anybody. Free access is also to the material from the "Medienkompass" which features media and links for media competence. For all other material, schools have to register in order to use it in their classrooms. Teachers can download most of the material as long as it is on legal grounds.
  • Saxony (Sachsen): MeSax is the media information and distribution system of educational media in Saxony. Schools have to register in order to use the platform. The media in MeSax can also be used with the learning platform LernSax. Teachers can integrate the material in the virtual classrooms for students to use directly.
  • Saxony-Anhalt (Sachsen-Anhalt): Online-material is in the media-server emuTUBE. You can find digital material for all subjects. Schools have to register since not all media are OER. Those media can only be used by teachers, but it is free of charge. Media can be tagged by teachers and be downloaded for the classroom or the lesson preparation at home.
  • Schleswig-Holstein: Databank IQSH-Mediathek with film sequences, videos, photos, pictures, texts etc. Everybody can search in the portal, but teachers have to be registered in order to view and download material.

Institutional OER initiatives

Most OER initiatives at the moment in Germany are institutional ones, either from non-profit organisations, universities, teachers or limited corporations. The material is free for schools and mainly funded by donations or advertisement.

  • The Virtuelle Schule (Virtual School) is an initiative of the non-profit association Virtual School e. V. and includes three internet platforms: Virtuelle Schule for pupils in grades 5 and 12; Ubergänge gestalten, specifically focused on the passage between different school levels; and Virtuelle Grundschule, for Primary School (pupils in grades 1-4). They address mainly teachers (by providing relevant material and content for their lessons and teaching practice), but there is also space for access and participation on the part of students and parents. The internet platform generates from a previous initiative (end of the 90s) at the Clavius-Gymnasium in Bamberg and is now led by the non-profit association Virtuelle Schule e.V. (1)
  • Schulbuch-O-Mat is a national wide initiative by OER-Schul-E-Books to create collaborative free OER textbooks for schools which are according to curriculum standards. The money for the textbooks is raised by crowd-funding. Teachers, experts from university and graphic designer work together to produce the textbooks. They are free of charge for everybody. Since they are according to the curriculum of the particular federal state, the textbooks themselves are regional projects. The initiators of Schulbuch-O-Mat were mainly from universities. The project is also accompanied by an evaluation. So far two textbooks have been produced by OER-Schul-E-Books:
  1. OER Schul-E-Book Biologie 1 is a textbook for Biology for grades 7/8 of High Schools according to the curriculum of Berlin. It started in 2012 and the idea was to finish the textbook till the end of July 2013. The capital money was raised by crowd-funding till January 2013. The book itself was written by voluntary biology teachers and professionals graphic designers. The textbook is consistent with the curriculum (from 2006/2007) of Berlin for High Schools (Gymnasium) grades 7/8. It is the first free digital textbook in Germany under OER and CC. A lot of teachers participated, but in the end they had to translate some of the missing texts from courses from the Khan Academy in order to finish in time. The textbook itself is available as a webpage, and can be downloaded as pdf, ePub and iBook. Up to now there were 20.000 downloads. An accompanying report explains the difficulties in producing the book, e.g. in finding voluntary teachers. The textbook consists of multimedia courses with quizzes and exercises. Form and content is similar to a printed textbook, but it also includes interactive exercises, videos and pictures. A glossary contains the explanation of 327 technical terms. Topics are cells, living environment, nutrition, respiration, blood, addiction, puberty and sexuality. The textbook is created with LOOP (Learning Object Online Platform), an authoring software by the University Lübeck.
  2. OER Schul-E-Book Politik/Wirtschaft is a collaboratively written textbook for grades 5/6 and 7 to 9 in Secondary Schools for politics and economy according to curriculum in North Rhine-Westphalia. The title of the first booklet is "Securing and enhancing democracy". There will be two levels for different types of schools available. The textbook consists of multimedia courses with exercises. Form and content is similar to a printed textbook, but it also includes interactive exercises, videos, pictures, a glossary and an index. The last chapter is about different methods used in the subject like interviews, analysing texts, pictures and cartoons, researching in the internet, designing a poster etc. It is an on-going process with the first booklet being finished in June 2014. Each booklet will be an independent e-book. The content is under the CC By-SA licence. The textbook is created with LOOP (Learning Object Online Platform), an authoring software by the University Lübeck. So far it is available as a website and PDF and ePub as download.
  • The Seguhistory website is led by the University of Cologne (History Department). It consists of self-regulated lessons for history for teachers and students. The material is organized in open modules and students can arrange their own lessons from learning modules, method modules and research modules. Some are bilingual. The modules are arranged in two ways: chronological from early times up to the 20th century ("Zeiten") and according to themes and topics ("Einblicke). Up to now, about 60 % of the planned modules are already available. The different modules are like parts of a big puzzle with which the students can make up their own picture of history. They decide when, how and what they would like to learn. That way they can "make history" too. Students chose the modules in which they are interested in and can download them as pdf or text files and print them. Most of the time, the exercises can be solved offline with the help of the history textbook or other material. All modules should be kept in a folder. For the video-modules on youtube, a computer is necessary and sometimes the internet for research. Besides the modules, quizzes, online exercises and a segu_planer is available. In the segu_planer teachers can chose a specific topic and certain modules for the students to work with. The students can do the exercises in the order they like to or they can make their own plan with the segu-planer. A time line in pdf and an interactive time line helps students to get an overview of history. Different tutorials explain the use of segu.
  • Teachers have their own portal. They get help for their lesson plans and an introduction to the idea of an open and self-directed history classroom. Self-directed learning in the history classroom is not used very often in Germany because it is very time consuming in the preparation. The segu portal can help with that and shorten the preparation time. The material can also be used with laptop classes and ipads etc. Solutions to the exercises are also presented on the teachers' portal. But some exercises are open and have no specific solution. Besides that, teachers also find a newsletter, can ask questions and find partner schools.
Segu is an OER learning platform. All modules and learning material is under the CC licence. They can be copied and used again in digital form as long as segu is named as author. The text files can also be modified.
  • ZUM-Wiki is led by the non-profit association „Zentrale für Unterrichtsmedien im Internet e. V.“ ZUM-Wiki is an open platform for teaching material covering all subjects and types of schools from Primary to Secondary School. The material consists of digital assets, e.g. modules, picture, texts, links and animation. The platform is for the exchange of material, information, experiences and ideas concerning teaching and school in all German speaking countries. It is also for German as a foreign language. The Wiki is also meant for workgroups in schools to train responsible writing and communication in the internet. Discussions about concepts, methods and the material is welcome. All material can be changed and updated all the time by the users.
ZUM started as a website in 1995 by Margit Fischer. The non-profit association was founded in 1997 and has since then collected material for teachers and students. You will not only find material for the classroom, but also information about interdisciplinary activities. Articles for teachers, students and parents are also collected. The original idea was to launch a platform from teachers for teachers in order to use the internet as a data and information base for teaching. The participation is voluntary. All material is provided by teachers free of charge for the schools. ZUM-Wiki is financed by donations, grants, partnerships and advertisement.
  • Besides the ZUM-Wiki there is a special portal for Primary Schools - the ZUM-Grundschulwiki. It is also led by the non-profit association Zentrale für Unterrichtsmedien im Internet e. V. and is an open platform from primary-school pupils for primary-school pupils. The pupils are helped by the teachers in writing the texts. The idea is to five primary-school pupils the space to write their own texts and assemble material for other pupils. It is also licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 DE. The portal also contains a mailing system, a Web Quest and a search for Primary Schools in Germany.
  • Rpi virtuell is led by the Comenius-Institut in Münster and financed by the Protestant Church in Germany (EKD). It is an open platform for RE (religious education) where students can create their material collaboratively. The material is for Pre-Primary education, Primary Schools, High Schools and Adult Education. The thematic sites contain digital assets with pictures, texts and link-lists. Students can also upload their own material.
  • L3Tis a collaboratively written e-textbook on learning and teaching technologies for university students and teachers. It is led by the non-profit association "Bims gem.e.V." The authors are mainly scientists from the field of technology. The free material should help to study and teach modern technologies.
  • Serlo is led by the non-profit association "Gesellschaft für freie Bildung". It is an open platform for free material for mathematics mainly for students in High Schools and Vocational Training. Students can upload their own videos or pictures. There are also German translations of videos from the Khan Academy. New subjects besides Mathematics are in planning.
  • Wikiversity is a project initiated by the Wikimedia Foundation. It is an open Platform to create OER for Universities, Schools and Adult Education. There is also a section in Germany for German schools.
  • LizzyNet is a portal and community with information, communications and learning tools especially developed for girls. The information on the platforms is open for everybody, but the communities of LizzyNet are made available only on request. You have to register in order to get an e-mail address, instant-messenger, own profile and contact, homepage and free web space, forums, clubs, chat and e-cards. The main topics on the portal are ones for girls like body and health, politics, culture, education and research and multimedia. It consists of articles, quizzes, recipes and games. In both communities the creation of national groups from other countries is welcome. Also groups for international exchange can be created. The portal and community is led by the closed corporation LizzyNet GmbH. The articles and information are supervised by pedagogues.(1)
  • Exil-Club is an online learning environment that engages with the subjects of exile, migration and intercultural education. The content as well as the working platform of the Exil-Club can be used by European school projects dealing with topics from the Exil-Club. The platform also stresses the topic of media literacy and media competence. It is led by the foundation Else-Lasker-Schüler-Stiftung and Schulen ans Netz e.V. From 2001 till 2005 it was funded by the German Bundeministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF)/German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. (1)
  • Deutsche Fernschule (sub-site in English at http://www.deutsche-fernschule.de/en/home/) is an important correspondence school for German children (4 to 10) in Pre-Primary education and Primary School whose parents live abroad for a while. It has traditionally avoided the use of internet, given also the very young age of the target group, but now there are some online courses available. A pilot project has however been recently launched, and might deserve some further investigation. Info retrieved from http://www.expatica.com/es/family/kids/The-virtual-classroom_16680.html Deutsche Fernschule is both an advisory agency for Germans working abroad and concerned about their children's schooling, and a provider of various sorts of supplementary schooling services to these. Most courses have to be paid for and are printed material, but some courses are now online and free of charge. Deutsche Fernschule assures children the highest possible level of education and provide each child with the opportunity to retain its cultural roots and still have plenty of time and enthusiasm to explore and experience the foreign environment. It has 40 years of experience and over 10,000 German pupils in 139 countries of the world.
  • OpenLearnWare is a web-portal with lectures and courses from the Technical University in Darmstadt. You can find the material as courses or the single material. All digital material which is created for teaching at the University can be uploaded. The courses are for E-Learning, Pedagogy, PE, IT, Philosophy, Mechanical Engineering, Physics, Maths, Law and Economy.
  • Electures-Portal is a web-portal with lectures and courses from the University in Freiburg. The video lectures are only for IT. There is also a Wiki. The Electure-Portal is used at the Faculty of Applied Sciences to distribute lecture material. You have to open an account, but everybody can use it.
  • FAU Videoportal is a videoportal from the university of Nürnberg-Erlangen.It offers university courses for Health and Medicine, Languages, Sciences, Psychology and Social Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Communication and Media, History, Society, Learning and Teaching Maths, Law and Politics, and Economy. Some of the videos are even broadcasted on TV.
  • Jörn Loviscach Videos is a videoportal for Maths and IT of lectures, scripts and exercises. It is led by Prof. Dr. Jörn Loviscach from the University Bielefeld.
  • Lecture2go is a videoportal of lectures and other material from the University Hamburg. You can see the lecturer and his presentation at the same time. The lectures are for Law, Economy and Social Studies, Medicine, Psychology. Pedagogy, RE, Humanities, Sciences, Maths, IT and Media.
  • LERNFUNK.DE is a media portal with videos and podcasts of courses from the University in Osnabrück. It also contains a databank with all digital material from the courses. The courses are from all subjects of the University.
  • oncampus is led by the Oncampus GmbH which belongs to the Virtual University of Applied Sciences Lübeck. It contains educational videos on youtube for IT, Economy and Sofz Skills.
  • podcampus is led by Multimedia Kontor Hamburg which is run by all the universities in Hamburg. It is a podcasting-platform with lectures from universities and research institutes in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The subjects are: Medicine, Languages, Sciences, Psychology, Philosophy, History, Engineering, IT, Art and Design, Music, Media, Maths, Law, Politics, PE and Economy.
  • timms is a multimedia server with video, audio material and texts from the university Tübingen. It was funded by the federal stat of Baden-Württemberg in 2000. The courses are for Law, economy, medicine, philosophy and history, Social Studies, Philology, Cultural Studies, Maths and Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Geography and IT.
  • VideoOnline is led by the LMU University Munich. It is run by the Department of Pedagogy and Rehabilitation and is a service for all members of the university. It presents lectures from the LMU Munich, mainly from Psychology, Pedagogy, Chemistry, Maths and Economy.

Updates in June 2014

For additional open education initiatives in Germany not yet integrated into the main database, see the report Media:Open Education Initiatives in Germany.pdf by Susanne Friz.


OER Policies in Germany

National OER policies

Even though Germany had raised a number of fundamental objections to the idea of OER in the OECD Country Questionnaire in 2011 (2), the attitude in general has changed since then and some national policies have taken place. In 11/2013, OER was even a topic in the CDU/CSU - SPD coalition agreement: „Free digital teaching material must be strengthened by the state and the federal states. The basis for this is an educational and research friendly copyright law and an open-access-policy. The access to textbooks for schools and teaching materials for universities should be – as much as possible – free and the usage of free licences and formats should be strengthened.“ So, despite the fact that OER was not seen as an issue which was expected to become a policy priority in the near future, some actions in that field have occurred. Because of pressure from teachers, other educational institutions and non-profit organisations, a hearing took place in 11/2012 between the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the Standing Committee of the German Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs (KMK) about the issues of OER and especially the copyright problems of digitalising parts of textbooks for the classroom. In the end, an agreement was found between KMK, the publishers of educational media (Verband Bildungsmedien) and the collecting societies on rules for the digitalization and photo copying of content from textbooks for the classroom ("Digitale Schulbücher, einscannen und kopieren in der Schule"). Teachers and schools were not very happy with the agreement since it did not solve all the problems of OER and copyright law.

Therefore the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) launched in 8/2013 three surveys to determine their policy in the different aspects concerning OER:

Another policy of the BMBF is finding scenarios for the usage of copyright protected material in education and research till 2020 "Ein wissenschafts- und innovationsfreundliches Urheberrecht für die digitale Wissensgesellschaft." It is still not clear which scenario will be implemented in the end. If copyright protected material should be free for everybody is still widely discussed in Germany. A desirable perspective in the future is to have open access with a CC-By-licence to all scientific literature. A free access to everything in the web would be even better, but the question is how this can be financed.

Some national institutions have therefore declared to develop free OER material, e.g.:

A European project "OLCOS" financed by the EU in which Germany participated built an online information and observation centre for promoting the concept, production, distribution, and usage of OER. One of the final products is a “Roadmap 2012” with suggestions and recommendations for a higher production, sharing, distribution and usage of OER in education.

One of the reasons for the lack of very many national OER initiatives is also the fact that Germany is a Federal Republic. Each of the 16 federal states has nearly full control of the education system including universities. Therefore the state cannot normally fund national projects for education in schools and universities in the states. But recently the KMK („Standing Committee of the German Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of the Länder in the Federal Republic of Germany”) has established in 9/2013 a working committee in order to develop a commentary to OER in Germany till autumn 2014.

Regional OER policies (in the Länder)

The initiatives in Germany about OER are mainly from institutions, non-profit teachers and staff from universities, there are not very many regional OER initiatives.

North-Rhine Westphalia was the only federal state that had a hearing about supporting free learning and teaching material in Düsseldorf in 2013 in the Landtag. The pressure again came from the teachers and schools. The result was to support free teaching and learning material by the state. There are no policies in other German federal states ("Länder").

Institutional OER policies

Most German universities have no policies relating to OER, but there are some policies now of universities that work together in order to offer quality OER teaching material on the web (see "Institutional OER initiatives" for a list of universities with OER):

One institutional OER policy for the school sector is "Schulbuch-O-MAT" (see also Institutional OER policies). The idea is to create collaborative free OER textbooks for schools for all subjects which are according to curriculum standards. The money for the textbooks is raised by crowd-funding. Teachers, experts from university and graphic designer work together to produce the textbooks. They are free of charge for everybody. Since they are according to the curriculum of the particular federal state, the textbooks themselves are regional projects. The initiators of "Schulbuch-O-Mat" were mainly from universities. So far two textbooks have been produced by "Schulbuch-O-Mat": for Biology and Politics/Economy.



References


Reports

  1. Blees, I. et al. (2013), "Freie Bildungsmedien (OER). Dossier: Offene Bildungsressourcen / Open Educational Resources – Handlungsfelder, Akteure, Entwicklungsoptionen in internationaler Perspektive" http://www.pedocs.de/volltexte/2013/7868/pdf/DBS_2013_OER.pdf
  2. BMBF (2002), Fachhochschulen in Germany", http://www.bmbf.de/pub/fachhochschulen_in_germany.pdf
  3. Bretschneider, M. et al. (2012), “Open Educational Resources (OER) für Schulen in Deutschland”, Whitepaper, Internet & Gesellschaft Co:llaboratory.http://www.collaboratory.de/w/Open_Educational_Resources_f%C3%BCr_Schulen_in_Deutschland_-_Whitepaper
  4. Hylén, J. et al. (2012), “Open Educational Resources: Analysis of Responses to the OECD Country Questionnaire”, OECD Education Working Papers, No. 76, OECD Publishing. http://oer.unescochair-ou.nl/?wpfb_dl=38
  5. Kreutzer, Till (2013), "Open Educational Resources (OER), Open-Content und Urheberrecht" http://www.pedocs.de/volltexte/2013/8008/pdf/Kreutzer_2013_OER_Recht.pdf
  6. Lepori, B. and Succi, C. (2004), "eLearning in the Universities of Applied Sciences Country Report on Germany", https://www.researchgate.net/publication/242216460_eLearning_in_the_Universities_of_Applied_Sciences_Country_Report_on_Germany
  7. Ziedorn, Frauke et al. (2013), "Metadaten für Open Educational Resources (OER). Eine Handreichung für die öffentliche Hand, erstellt von der Technischen Informationsbibliothek (TIB)2013, 27" http://www.pedocs.de/volltexte/2013/8024/pdf/TIB_2013_Metadaten_OER.pdf



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