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Thursday, November 20 • 9:45am - 10:15am
OER Policy in North America and Europe

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The goal of this session is to provide an overview of OER policy in Europe and North America, seen from a comparative perspective.

In Europe, recent policy developments in 2013, focused around the "Opening Up Education" initiative of the European Union, has suddenly made OER one of the cornerstones of educational policy. At the same time, the openness standard set by the EU within the Erasmus+ funding program (with a budget of 14.7 billion euro until 2020) is binding, but weak (without a clear definition of openness of resources). In member states, there is a patchwork of varied approaches. In general, OER-related programs (such as creation of content repositories for teachers) are more common and advanced than policy-based approaches. Finally, across Europe alliances are being formed to offer grassroots support for public policy development. Coalition for Open Education has been active in Poland since 2008. Similar developments have been taking place in the Nordic countries, Macedonia, Romania and Germany.

In North America, a myriad of institutional, state, and national OER policies have emerged over the last decade, from Washington State's publicly funded Open Course Library to the U.S. Department of Labor's $2 billion workforce training grant program. Canada is quickly emerging as an international leader on open textbooks and promoting inter-provincial cooperation in support of OER. The surge in OER policies is largely a response to the rapidly rising cost of textbooks, particularly at the higher education level but also in K-12. Yet, advocates have faced significant barriers to policies and their implementation, including a strong publisher lobby, confusion with MOOCs, and political opposition to government spending.

avatar for Nicole Allen

Nicole Allen

Director of Open Education, SPARC
Nicole Allen is the Director of Open Education at SPARC, a global coalition working to make open the default in research and education. A decade and a half ago, Nicole was an undergraduate student frustrated with the cost of textbooks. Today, she is an internationally recognized policy... Read More →

Thursday November 20, 2014 9:45am - 10:15am EST

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