Thursday, November 20 • 11:30am - 12:00pm
Higher Education institutions as boosters of a national policy on OER

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In January 2014, the Dutch Minister of Education sent a letter to the Dutch Parliament. The letter described the trend towards more open and online education as a promising and inspiring development which she is keen to promote and facilitate. These intentions come with an annual funding commitment of 1 million euro per year for several years. Which road did the Netherlands take in order to secure commitment for a national policy?

Higher education institutions (HEIs) in the Netherlands all participate in SURF, a collaborative ICT organisation. The ensuing cross-institutional initiatives are strong; they are based on trust and reciprocity of knowledge exchange. In this presentation we identify ways in which HEIs can take the initiative to give the development of national policy on OER a boost. We will use the Dutch case study as a model.

We will take a look at the following elements:

- 1. HEIs uniting in a Special Interest Group for Open Education
An important role was taken by the Special Interest Group (SIG) Open Education. The SIG is a community of HEI staff members, working in the various institutions of higher education. The SIG is supported by SURF in terms of organisation. SURF's self-appointed task is to share its knowledge on open education, jointly work on vision building and facilitate development within the individual HEIs. This group publishes a yearly Open Education Trend Report, based on a range of meetings within the community of experts to generate input.

- 2. SURF Open Education Innovation Programme
SURF started its Open Education Innovation Programme in 2011. This programme aims to expand awareness of trends and developments, exchange information about concrete applications, and jointly discuss opportunities and threats around open and online education. For instance, this programme organised a study trip to the US for chairmen of HEI institutions and representatives of the Ministry of Education. This trip gave them a key opportunity to generate a shared vision on OER. Another element of the programme is the SURFacademy, in which HEI professionals transfer knowledge across HEI institutions, both on a basic and advanced level. The SURF programme also co-ordinates the Open Education Week, stimulating the individual HEIs to organise their own activities in open education. And finally, together with the SIG Open Education, they organised tailor-made workshops for HEIs to formulate a vision or policy on open education.

The existence of a cross-institutional cooperation structure that has the support of virtually all HEIs offers many possibilities: it forms a fundament for a solid programme that addresses the needs of and has the support of all HEIs. Based on this case study, we will discuss to what extent other countries can use a similar approach.

We will wrap up the presentation with a brief look to the future: what will be the next step? Is there an inevitable need for a clear policy framework? If so, which role should HEI institutions have in defining its contours' Or should this innovative force be granted space to develop further while we experiment with flexibilisation, life-long learning, hybrid learning and the further improvement of quality of education?

avatar for Janina van Hees

Janina van Hees

Project manager open and online education, SURF

Robert Schuwer

Professor, Open Universiteit/Fontys University of Applied Sciences

Thursday November 20, 2014 11:30am - 12:00pm

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