Europe and North America
From POERUP - Policies for OER Uptake
Europe and North America (Euro-America) comprises:
OER in Europe and North America
Policies Survey notes:
- In Europe and North America, most OER activity appears to centre around the upper-secondary (ISCED 3) level, although this may be a reflection of where government support lies as universities in some of these countries are autonomous (and may therefore have their own OER projects). In addition, it is difficult to estimate the level of individual support for OER.
- Austria has numerous OER activities supported by several departments of the Federal Ministry for Education, Arts and Culture. Examples of these include a platform for creating and sharing content in Austrian schools and freely accessible mathematics exercises as applications via GeoGebra (an interactive geometry, algebra and calculus application). In the tertiary sector, several universities are active in OER, and there is also an open access (OA) movement:
- University of Vienna: Phaidra (Permanent Archiving and Indexing of Digital Resources and Assets) is an open access database with a number of university members.
- The Academy of Science developed its own OA database.
- The Austrian Science Fund (FWF) finances the OA publishing of each research project it has funded.
- The University of Vienna is the Austrian contact point for OPEN DOAR (the OA initiative of the EU.)
- In Finland, there are government initiatives to promote open access to publicly funded electronic learning materials (produced in government projects) through the national education portal and other electronic content repositories, as well as to scientific and scholarly publications at the higher education level.
- In the Netherlands, the Dutch Minister of Education introduced the Wikiwijs initiative as a tool to promote the development and use of OER.
- Whilst Slovenia does not officially participate in the OER movement, the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport promotes pedagogical e-content, and since 2006 e-content has been developed under a CC licence for various subjects. The Ministry has invested significant funds for this purpose.
- Although Monaco does not have an OER policy, the government funds and favours the provision of digital education materials to schoolteachers. The Teacher Training Centre (CFP), a service attached to the Directorate of National Education, Youth and Sport, aggregates OER of neighbouring countries such as France, making them available to teachers by facilitating access to the resources and training teachers on their use.
- Lithuania has participated in various international EU-funded projects (cofinanced by its government) that are aimed at the creation of OER. These projects were implemented with European Schoolnet whilst developing a European Learning Resource Exchange service for schools.9
- In Canada, there are many activities centred on the provision of digital resources, but these are not all necessarily OER initiatives. Several institutions and non-governmental organisations are active in the OER movement, although there is no formal Canadian OER policy or position with regards to expanding the scope of OER.
- In Alberta, although there are collaborative projects to develop and share digital resources and to provide free resources, these resources are not necessarily OER.
- Similarly, Ontario has a passwordprotected provincial learning object repository, which allows elementary and secondary educators to share their resources with others in the province whilst retaining full ownership of these materials. Although there is interest in sharing, it does not currently extend beyond Ontario’s borders.
- However, in Quebec, the higher education sector of the Ministry of Education, Recreation and Sports supports projects in the OER movement,including the shared collegiate platform DECclic.
- In British Columbia, the Ministry of Advanced Education sponsors the BC campus initiative in support of education and training initiatives that promote the use and reuse of open resources. The Ministry has provided over CAD 9 million in direct funding since 2003 to provide openly licensed education resources for post-secondary institutions and students through the Online Programme Development Fund. This investment has resulted in the development of reusable instructional materials, including 355 courses, 12 workshops, 19 websites/Web tools and 396 course components. Many of these materials are licensed under a Creative Commons licence, whilst others are licensed through the British Columbia Commons. BCcampus, along with the University of Ottawa and Athabasca University, was recently approached by Creative Commons to work together on the formation and promotion of Creative Commons Canada.
- In addition, the collective of Ministers and Deputy Ministers working within the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada has discussed OER and is ultimately moving towards developing OER policies.