As part of the subproject “Quality of OERs and international perspectives” of the project “Digital educational architectures: Open Learning resources in distributed learning infrastructures” (COER, 2019), an international comparison to digital educational architectures in higher education (HE) between 10 countries is being carried out. A first part of this comparison explore the macro level (national and state level) and identify factors involving the (lack of) development of infrastructures for OER regarding four aspects (infrastructure, quality, policy and change), with the aim of serving as impulse for the development of a national hub for OER institutional and regional repositories in Germany (Kerres, Hölterhof, Scharnberg & Schröder, 2019). A major insight in this study is the importance of context and culture when looking at digital transformation and infrastructures for OER in different countries.
In relation to policies for developing OER infrastructures, there is a strong influence of the level of centralisation of the HE institutions in the (lack of) development of infrastructure for (O)ER, which is inevitably related to the political structure of the country. In the case of countries where the HE system rather decentralised, only recommendations for this development are published, whereas countries with a higher level of centralisation laws and regulations do exist. Only two countries address “broadening or enabling access to HE” in their policies.
Concerning to OER infrastructures, these are inexistent or underdeveloped in the countries with a HE decentralised system, whereas many countries with a rather HE centralised system have OER national infrastructures. Whereas having a centralised structure may be a strength with regard to the interoperability between systems and the use of standardised metadata, individual needs may be compromised.
Related to quality issues, most of the countries do not have specific national guidelines for OER and their infrastructure. However, some of them have checklists, guidelines or evaluation guides. Some national standards exist for standardised labelling of OER metadata and for the quality of digital educational materials, although their compliance is often not ensured. None of them deal with aspects of care in OER.
The last aspect is promotion of change, which is at this level mostly connected to national and state funding initiatives. In the case of HE centralised systems, change happens through laws and regulations. However, change for the development and use of OER infrastructures happens mostly at other levels: institutional level or individual level (faculty members).
These major trends bring some implications for practitioners that involve different degrees of autonomy and sustainability in developing and sharing OER, according to the level of centralisation of the countries.
The participation in the presentation will be encouraged first through use cases from the countries, and then by posing questions for discussion: how the analysed aspects look like in your country? How can they be improved? How can aspects of care be incorporated when considering OER infrastructure?
For this purpose, an online pinboard (https://padlet.com/vmarinj/oerconf20) will be open to allow both remote and on-site participants to write the own insights anytime during the session or afterwards.
COER (2019). Digital educational architectures – Open learning (educational) resources in disseminated learning infrastructures — Center for Open Education Research, University of Oldenburg. [online] Available at: https://uol.de/coer/research-projects/projects/eduarc [Accessed 18 Nov. 2019].
Kerres, M., Hölterhof, T., Scharnberg, G. and Schröder, N. (2019). EduArc. Eine Infrastruktur zur hochschulübergreifenden Nachnutzung digitaler Lernmaterialien. Synergie, [online] 07, pp. 66-69. Available at: https://uhh.de/en4om [Accessed 18 Nov. 2019].