The first meeting of the Innovation Circle took place on the 27th September. This was the inaugural Circle meeting for this project but also for ENCORE+ as a whole. The session was attended by a range of people but predominantly educational technologists and OER advocates.
The draft position paper was circulated ahead of the meeting and available for consultation and comment afterwards as well. During the Circle there was a breakout session where participants were invited to comment on the document or otherwise provide feedback. This proved to be an exercise which gleaned some useful feedback.
Feedback from the discussion included the following:
- There is a need to establish what kind of evidence would be persuasive for the different kinds of stakeholders that ENCORE+ wishes to influence. E.g. we tend to frame for educators in terms of OER efficacy but is this of interest to businesses? We know that businesses have a profit motive, but what is their interest in innovation beyond this?
- The lack of a ‘public’ perspective was mentioned – should we consider the public as a stakeholder type? (as opposed to ‘learners’)
- Can we provide examples of where OERs have been used in business? (This is something that our Innovation Briefing series will cover in the next year)
- One strategy is to emphasize the ‘prospector’ business models that focus on emerging markets, but this may be of little interest to companies that have existing market share. How can the OER value proposition be refined for ‘defenders’?
- Our ecosystem needs to account for both ‘top-down’ and ‘bottom-up’ approaches in quite targeted ways
- Businesses re-using OER by taking material that is CC BY, assembling it into packages and then selling these is not considered within the ‘spirit of open’ by many of the OER practitioners and experts, though this is entirely the kind of action/innovation that the licence permits.
- It was suggested that, even though they are essentially the content creators, universities are insufficiently agile/fast when it comes to developing services
- The general sustainability of OER was mentioned as something that we should address explicitly
- It was suggested that educational content / OER is absolutely in abundance. There is no real money to be made from content and the focus should be on services.
- It was suggested that we target PVCs and participants offered to facilitate this through their networks.
- We should be willing to explicitly draw on non-European perspectives
- We should appreciate that many businesses are wary of disruptors or newcomers to their market(s) – OER could be seen as a threat by many
- It’s important to remain aware that even when resources are open the infrastrucuture around them is typically proprietary and often used to harvest data – this is evident during the Covid-19 pandemic ‘online pivot’
- There was a general sentiment that how is the time to make the most of all the work done in previous projects, drawing together outputs and lessons learned
- Similarly, work done in the course of ENCORE+ should be future facing and available for easy reuse and building upon
- There is great scope for developing the OER value proposition for less used European languages, which would also support improved equity and participation
A slimmed down version of the content for the Circle was also presented at the Open Education Global conference on the same day, raising awareness of the project to a worldwide audience.
The outcomes of this Circle form a good basis for moving forward with related work. The basic proposition of the ENCORE+ Innovation strand – that there is an untapped potential for Open Educational Resources (OER) to support innovation in European learning – was validated and several interesting avenues for exploration were identified.
A copy of the slides used to facilitate the workshop can be found clicking the button below: