OER in Flanders

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OER Initiatives in OER in Flanders

In its response to the OECD questionnaire, Flanders reported that it has chosen to focus its OER efforts on young children (ISCED sectors 1 to 3). [1]

National OER initiatives

As reported in De Craemer (2009). [2]

Accessing learning objects via an educational portal site - One of the key projects is the creation of an educational portal site serving as a multipurpose electronic knowledge centre. Firstly, the portal site acts as a central access point for educational information and support. This involves developing and offering information, examples of good practice and thematic files to various target groups. These may be general or specific themes (such as dimensions involved in the integration of ICT, learning participation, lifelong learning, special needs education, etc.). The portal site also has to offer the opportunities for effective digital teaching aids (e-learning opportunities) in an accessible and structured way. Consequently, a framework has to be developed allowing individual teachers and also publishers to publicise their software, examples and curricula online so as to reach out to a wider target group (www.klascement.net).

Standardising learning objects - The Flemish Ministry of Education was a key partner in the Users’ Commission for the IWT-Tetraproject “PUBELO”. The project agreed on an educational standard (LOM metadata profile) and deploying it within a large group of relevant stakeholders (such as publishers or managers of portal sites or electronic learning environments). The government input is providing incentives for the creation and recognition of open standards (www.pubelo.be).

Learning objects for adult distance education - The Flemish Ministry of Education and Training has funded the development of online learning materials for distance adult learning. These learning materials comprise over 3,500 reusable electronic teaching packages for learning languages (French, English, German, Italian, Spanish, and Dutch as a second language) each lasting roughly 30 minutes. Each learning object is described according to a standardised set of metadata (such as level of language proficiency, competence taught, etc.) and made available via an online platform so teachers may use the lessons or even entire courses in their own educational environment. The learning materials are well suited for self-study or may be deployed for remedial or complementary purposes in other learning contexts (www.klascement.net/bis).

E-culture and education - Projects such as “Ingebeeld” are a first step towards a more efficient system of (multi) media use in education. An investigation is also due to be made to see how far government funded or subsidised cultural establishments – including the Flemish Television and Radio archives – may allow access to their material and what should be the best metadata and technical tools to use for this so as to streamline accessibility in the educational environment. Versions of “Ingebeeld” are up and running for pre-primary, primary and secondary education (www.ingebeeld.be).

Content development for Special (Needs) Education - Under the “ICT Zonder Beperkingen” (ICT without limits) programme, specific actions were set up to boost the use of ICT by children with special needs. One of the programme lines was content development. Several tools were developed: maths methods for deaf children using Flemish sign language; development of new pictograms, a DVD to help teachers create and use visualisations, a manual for using digital whiteboards in special needs education. Within the autism project several tools were developed to foster the alignment between education and the labour market such as the development of an autism-specific portfolio (Wai-Pass).

User-generated content

  • Web 2.0 as a specific theme in in-service training - In 2007-2008 one of the priorities of the in-service training via the REN Vlaanderen expertise centre in their theme-specific training offer was the didactical use of Web 2.0. Under this programme, content in the form of technical and didactical guidelines was developed. Extensive in-service training was provided and two conferences were organised. The materials and more information (in Dutch) can be found here: www2.renvlaanderen.be/web2.
  • Educational portal Klascement and Web 2.0 applications - The educational portal “Klascement” has for several years been at the forefront of educational Web 2.0 use. First of all Klascement is a Web 2 application in itself. The content is largely user-generated since the portal is meant to be an exchange platform for content by and for teachers. On top of this, the content is rated and actively commented on by the users themselves. Moreover, the portal hosts several learning objects on the educational use of Web 2.0. Finally, as a subproject of Klascement the service “Classy” is offered to schools, teachers and classes. Classy (www.classy.be) is a free blog service where teachers and classes can receive free blog space and hosting.

Klascement

Klascement.net is a large portal site for mostly Dutch-language digital learning materials, that was started in 1998 as a grassroots website initiative by a Mathematics teacher together with some pupils and friends. Originally, the target audience were Flemish teachers in primary and secondary education. Since then, the target audience had expanded to include teachers in adult education, as well as students of teacher training programmes. All entries have been quality controlled, monitored and meta-dated according to the international IEEE-LOM standard. At the time of writing (2013), Klascement has three country-specific sites: Klascement.be orders materials according to the Flemish educational system, Klascement.nl according to the Dutch educational system, and Klascement.eu is an international portal in English. Between 2007 and 2012, Klascement was run by a small non-for-profit organisation with limited staff and resources, with occasional support from commercial companies and incidental subsidies from the Flemish Community. At the start of 2013 the site became part of the Flemish Ministry of Education and Training's Agency for Educational Communication[3].

For more details see Klascement

Institutional OER initiatives

KULeuven

Within the Flemish community, the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KULeuven) has been most active within the OER movement since about 1995.

  • Ariadne: Started as an EU-funded project (1996-1998) initiated by the KULeuven Computer Science Department, the Ariadne foundation has been instrumental in research, development and exploitation regarding large-scale repositories of reusable learning objects. Ariadne was one of the founding members of the Global Learning Objects Brokering Exchange (GLOBE) Alliance, a one-stop-shop for learning resource broker organizations, each of them managing and/or federating one or more learning object repositories.
  • Cultural Studies: Within KULeuven, the Institute for Cultural Studies - previously known as the Maerlant Centre - has been involved in many EU-projects related to the use of (Open) Educational Resources within higher education, more specifically focused on Culture within the digital sphere. Projects include Europeana photography, OER-HE, and OpenCourseWare EU.
  • DOEL: The KULeuven unit for Education and Learning (DOEL) has been involved in many projects related to virtual student mobility, virtual campuses and production and re-use of open educational resources, such as the EUREA project (European meta databases of e-Academic resources).

KULeuven OCW

More recently, KULeuven has started a small educational project with university funding to do a feasibility study on Open Courseware (KULeuven OCW). "In the process of opening up KU Leuven's education, a few courses, currently organised as more or less regular courses, were chosen as pilot courses to be opened. They have been selected amongst more than 8000 existing Blackboard courses, each for their own characteristics when it comes to didactics, content, and especially their target group, and will be converted to fully functional Open Courses. [...] At this moment there are three KU Leuven courses available as Open Courses: two in Dutch (Leren, Onderwijzen en Evalueren and Technologie voor de Maatschappij) and one in English (Online Publishing)." (March 2013)

For more information see KULeuven OCW


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