WP4 The role of National and International Policies and strategy

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Month 18 thru Month 23 (6 months)

The overarching aim of this WP, led by SCIENTER, is to convince regional, national and European-level decision makers that in order to be fully successful in the modernisation and innovation of their educational institutions, they have to look beyond their boundaries and learn from other countries and educational sectors. To do so this WP will create an "Overview of European and international policies for fostering the use of OER". In contrast to much previous and current work on Open Educational Practices within institutions, our work will focus on the above campus level - that is the national, regional, provincial or state authorities overseeing, funding and guiding educational institutions (schools, universities etc).

(It is hoped to draw on the methodology of visually rich influence maps between countries being developed by VISCED - including staff at Sero and SCIENTER - to structure its guidance on virtual schools, but since this work is still in progress as we write this bid we cannot make a firm commitment to this.)

The "magnum opus" overview will then be deconstructed and contextualised to produce policy advice for educational authorities so that they can consider

  • changing the organisation, funding, quality monitoring and other aspects of their networks of educational institutions, and
  • providing clearer guidance to institutional leaders, staff associations and student communities as to why and how to use and (where appropriate) create OER.

Throughout this work care will be taken not to over-focus on OER as an end but more of a means towards educational transformation to achieve 21st century goals including (in many countries) achieving better results without increased resources. Policy aspects such as risk and ethical/legal considerations will also be considered.

In some countries policy has been still significantly characterised by process and initiatives that are essentially prescriptive, funding-driven and top-down, too easily disembodied from the learning process and forcing a reliance on external expertise and input. The policy advice from POERUP will draw on lessons from WP3 on professional communities and student communities while not ignoring top-down approaches including funding (institutions always welcome funding) but also more delicate adjustments, such as to the incentives for collaboration between institutions and the way in which quality could be assessed and encouraged (drawing on lessons from OPAL and US work among others).

The policy advice will come in three versions for EU consumption:

  1. advice for those overseeing networks of schools
  2. advice for those overseeing networks of universities
  3. advice for those overseeing networks of colleges and other organised providers of post-secondary but non-higher education.

The WP shall ensure that the needs of both large and small EU countries will be taken into account.

Please explain how the overall project management will be implemented

The workpackage begins with a task involving all partners to create Deliverable 4.1 Overview. Then the tasks split into two groups which must be run in parallel:

  • A "thematic" group tightly managed by the SCIENTER chief author/editor and the three individuals who are second authors, to create the three reports comprising Deliverable 4.2
  • A "country" group managed by the SCIENTER country editor ensuring that each "country" study comprising Deliverable 4.3 is produced in the relevant language by the country author. Given the language and country-specific organisational issues, management will be of the process, not the detailed content.

Third Country Partner (Athabasca)

Contribute to international section of the overview of policies for the uptake of OER (D4.1).

Write "Canada" document for national options brief (D4.3). As with the options brief packs for EU countries/regions, this will have:

  • a general introduction
  • a section for schools
  • a section for universities, and
  • a brief section on other sectors.

However, the detailed structure will respect the fact that education is devolved to the provinces (though with many similarities across most provinces) and be consistent with the structure of relevant ministries in Canada (both federally and at province level). It is not realistic within the resources available to write an options brief pack for each province - a natural approach would be to focus on Alberta (the host province for Athabasca University), Quebec (largely Francophone) and one other province - but detailed choices will depend on the interest of the various provinces in OER policy matters and the level of OER activity that is discovered.

Explanation of work package expenditures

Staff costs

Sector second author = fixed days Category 2 Policy advice country report = variable days Category 2 depending on complexity Language summaries = small fixed days Category 2

Travel costs

Because of the substantial parallel activity round Deliverables 4.1, 4.2 and 4.3 and the need for tight integration and a high degree of consistency, it was decided that there was need for a "lead authors meeting" at SCIENTER in Bologna towards the end of the period of writing the reports - in addition to the usual tele-cooperation techniques and partner meetings (not all lead authors will be at all partner meetings)