Reflections on the first Policy Circle
The first meeting of the policy circle took place on the 30th of September. The session was attended predominantly by educators and those with an interest in Open Education. A draft position paper entitled “The Current State of OER in Europe: Going Beyond Altruism” was circulated in advance of the circle event as a stimulus for discussion, consideration and debate at the event. The draft position paper was open for comment before, during and after the event.
The circle event was interactive in nature and centred around four key questions:
- What does good policy for OER look like? How do you know it’s good?
- How can policy enable “open mindsets” for impactful OER use?
- How do you develop an enabling OER ecosystem?
How do we bridge the gap between these two groups: higher education and business?
Summary of Circle Discussion
In this section, we provide a summary of the circle event’s discussion and the resources and examples that were shared by participants in answer to the four stimulus questions.
The discussion started off with looking at national and institutional policies on open education and identifying examples. Two main types of policy in relation to Open Education were discussed: national and institution/organisational policies. Most participants reported that their organisation did not have a formal policy on open. The need for joined up thinking at institutional level, some existing policies cover aspects of open education.
Participants shared a number of interesting examples, resources and links related to national and institutional policies:
- OER world map policy register https://oerworldmap.org/resource/ This site contains over 6000 entries of national, sectoral and international open education policies.
- The Irish National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning resources for building open capabilities in the HE sector in Ireland —all built in collaboration with students/staff across the sector— can be found here https://www.teachingandlearning.ie/open
- Federation of Finnish Learned Societies – a government-funded organisation responsible for various tasks in Finnish academia, such as national Open Science Coordination for the Finnish Research community including all the Finnish universities and other research organisations under which we also include Open Education . We are currently doing a Open Education policy for Finnish research community https://www.tsv.fi/en
- Atenas, Javiera, Havemann, Leo, Neumann, Jan, & Stefanelli, Cristina. (2020). Open Education Policies: Guidelines for co-creation. Zenodo. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.4281363
- UNIR has a policy on open education, developed to address the social responsibility aspect of the university, and wanted to allow easier access to some of their resources. http://research.unir.net/ited/prologue-and-table-of-content/?lang=e
- ALTs Open Covid Pledge https://www.alt.ac.uk/news/all_news/open-covid-pledge-education
- Catalyst IT as an example of a business harnessing the affordances of open education https://www.catalyst-eu.net/
We then discussed how a mindset shift is needed to embrace open as a mainstream feature of higher education. The concept of open by default or open by design was mentioned. Instead of arguing for, or giving reasons why, something should be open, we should be required to argue for, or give reasons why, something should be closed.
The outcomes of this circle form a good basis for moving forward with related work, with the aim of developing policy to support the wider proliferation of OER within and across academia and businesses.
A copy of the slides used to facilitate the workshop can be found clicking the button below: