I.1 Added value of the third country participation

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Added value

  • Athabasca is one of the few open universities that has made a substantial commitment to producing and using OER in its teaching
  • Athabasca is one of just two institutions who have been awarded a UNESCO Chair in OER - see http://www2.athabascau.ca/aboutau/news/news_item.php?new&id=62
  • Athabasca has close links with the Commonwealth of Learning, which has a particular interest in use of OER in small Commonwealth countries, a valuable additional global perspective
  • Athabasca has a good knowledge of the e-learning scene in North America.

Impact on target group

Athabasca provides a view on how distance learning is constructed from a non-Bologna perspective, closer to the US approach to university governance and accreditation which regulates much of the university system outside but near Europe. It also offers a range of certificate and diploma courses that broaden its offering beyond traditional university subjects including many fruitful for use of OER.

Choice of partners

While a few non-EU organisations may have some of these features, Athabasca is a wise choice for an EU project, since in addition:

  • Athabasca is an Associate Member of EADTU
  • It has good institutional links with OUNL (including with the UNESCO Chair)
  • It has experience with an EU project already (IntelLEO)
  • Project staff have existing links with POERUP project staff (Paul Bacsich visited there last September in connection with an ICDE/Athabasca project on quality in e-learning; Gráinne Conole has been involved with conferences at Athabasca; Terry Anderson was a keynote speaker at ALT-C 2009 in the UK; Terry and Rory McGreal were Experts for Canada in Re.ViCa in which Paul and Bieke were involved - see http://www.virtualcampuses.eu/index.php/Canada)

Value for money

Since Athabasca U is so active in OER and e-learning, and its senior staff already travel extensively on AU business across the world, the additional EU cost to support POERUP activity by Athabasca is low compared with the value received.