D4.2C Policy advice for colleges

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Type of outcome/product/results: Paper (public) Delivery date: September 2013

Nature: Report

Language versions: English

Target languages: Summaries for each sector in English, Hungarian, French, and Dutch

Policy-makers including regional, national and European decision-makers are the main target group for this Deliverable. We will provide these with valid, in-depth information on policy support of OER for the schools, the university and the college/other sectors. This will be based on the inventory, country reports (including mini-reports), the case studies and any existing reports on policy recommendations. (This last category is rather sparse but by late this year there may be more reports available.)

The policy advice will provide them with an in-depth understanding as to the importance of, amongst other factors, the policy context. In particular, an analysis of past policy-relevant successes (and any failures we can discover) will make a significant contribution towards better decision-making by this target group.


Executive Summary

This report (Deliverable 4.2C) is developed as part of Work Package 4 of POERUP. It reviews EU policy developments in vocational education and training and developments in OER analysed by POERUP and other current projects. It takes account of information from the Open Education Experts Group, the Open Education 2030 series of workshops at IPTS, the launching of Opening Up Education in September 2013, the Bruges Communiqué on VET and subsequent working documents, together with comments made by experts on the first release. Policy recommendations need to address the following key themes: the regulatory framework for resources which can support learning; improving the quality and transferability of vocational education and training across Member States; improving teacher, lecturer and trainer awareness and use of OER; promotion and advocacy of the benefits of OER; obtaining best value for money in VET.

The report makes recommendations in nine areas: communication and awareness raising; funding mechanisms; copyright and licensing issues ; reducing regulatory barriers; quality issues; teacher training and continuous professional development; certification and accreditation; infrastructure issues; further research into models for sustainable OER.

Communication and Awareness Raising

  • Provide further evidence for its position with regards to the abundance or scarcity of appropriate resources currently available and communicate this message clearly. (C)
  • Continue to promote the OER related initiatives it is currently funding and through them to promote the creation, sharing, use and reuse of high-quality OERs. Encourage and support Member States to promote these resources within the context of their sovereign educational aims and objectives. (C)
  • Continue to promote to educational users (leaders, practitioners, students and guardians) the availability and accessibility of open resources created through its cultural sector programmes and encourage Member States to do likewise for their domestic cultural sector programmes, to make these available across the European Union and ensure that future programmes do not have unintended legal impairments to cross-border sharing. (C)

Funding mechanisms and resources

  • Create an innovation fund for the development of online learning resources and assembling/ creating pathways to credentials. (C)
  • Ensure that budgets for digital educational resources are flexible enough to support the development (and maintenance) of openly licensed materials. (M)
  • Increase their scrutiny of the cost basis for VET delivery and consider the benefits of output-based funding for qualifications. (M)

Copyright and Licensing

  • Ensure that all educational materials supported by EU programmes are available to the public under open licenses. (C)
  • Support the development of technological methods to provide more and standardised information on IPR to the users of digital educational content. (C)
  • Mount a campaign both centrally and via the Member States to educate trainers and teachers delivering VET on IPR issues. (C,M)
  • Ensure that all educational materials produced by VET teachers and trainers are available to the public under open licenses. (M)

Reducing regulatory barriers

  • The Commission and related authorities developing VET should reduce any regulatory barriers against new non-study-time-based modes of provision. (C)
  • Foster work into standardised syllabi EU-wide for technical and vocational training where this is appropriate for EU-wide action, and in the light of a successful outcome to such initiatives, foster the developments of common bases of OER material to support these standards, including relevant open repositories and (ideally jointly with publishers) open textbooks. (C)

Quality issues

  • Establish a European quality assurance standard for OER content produced in Europe. (C)
  • Where Member States have Quality Assurance or materials approval processes they should ensure that OER are allowed to be included on approved instructional materials lists. (M)
  • Require (within reasonable expectation) OER to meet (disability) accessibility standards and ensure that accessibility is a central tenet of all OER programmes and initiatives. (M)
  • Consider establishing and funding an OER evaluation and adoption panel. This panel should include lead teachers, content experts and accessibility experts. (M)
  • Consider establishing a specialist OER function/post to undertake an in-country cost-benefit analysis to assess the potential savings (or otherwise) which might be achieved through implementing an OER strategy. (M)
  • Quality agencies should consider the effects of these new modes on quality assurance and recognition and ensure that there is no implicit non-evidence-based bias against these new modes when accrediting institutions both public and private including for-profit (if relevant), accrediting programmes (if relevant) and assessing/inspecting institutions/programmes. (M)

Teacher training and continuous professional development

  • Establish (and adequately fund) a professional development programme to help teachers and administrators understand the benefits and uses of OER and open licensing. This would support teacher / trainer / lecturer CPD on the creation, use and re-use of OER, with coverage of distance learning, MOOCs and other forms of open educational practice, and also IPR issues. (M)
  • Develop incentive schemes for teachers and trainers engaged in online professional development of their pedagogic skills including online learning. (M)

Certification and accreditation

  • Drive forward the development of EQF and encourage Europe-wide validation of learning acquired online. (C)
  • Foster the development of transnational accrediting agencies and mutual recognition of accreditations across the EU. (C)
  • Larger Member States should set up an Open Accreditor to accredit a range of studies which could lead to an undergraduate degree. In the first instance the Accreditor should focus on qualifications in the ISCED 5B area as this is most correlated with high-level skills for business and industry. (M)

Infrastructure issues

  • Continue the focus on improving the ICT in education infrastructure in Member States (and levelling out disparities of access) so that they are able to exploit potential pedagogical and financial advantages of OER. (C, M)
  • Where nations (or institutions) are providing digital devices they should ensure that all considerations have been taken to maximise the effectiveness (economically and pedagogically) of devices, support and strategy with regards to OER. (M)

Further research

  • Develop its understanding of new modes of learning (including online, distance, OER and MOOCs) and how they impact quality assurance and recognition. (C)
  • Fund research into the verifiable benefits of OER, with greater efforts to integrate such analyses with its ongoing research on distance learning, on-campus online learning, and pedagogy; and recommend the same to Member States. Future OER research should explicitly embrace Repositories, Federations, Portals and Tools and should consider work-based learning, both self-directed and trainer-led. (C,M)
  • Foster research into the benefits of OER & sustainable business models, integrating this with its ongoing research on distance learning, on-campus online learning, and pedagogy; and recommend the same to Member States. (C)
  • Support educational institutions in developing new business and educational models and launch large-scale research and policy experimentations to test innovative pedagogical approaches, curriculum development and skills assessment. (C,M)

Executive Summaries in other languages


Reports for other sectors

See also:

For the actual report see File:POERUP D4.2C.pdf

> D4.2 Policy advice (for universities, schools and "colleges")