The open education movement has been around for over two decades, with much of its early efforts emerging out of the work of the Hewlett Foundation, David Wiley, and other innovators. In 2014, creators of open educational resources (OER) — like Lumen Learning, run by David Wiley, and BCcampus, an organization that supports post-secondary learners and institutions in British Columbia, Canada — started using Pressbooks to create and optionally host their content. These people and organizations saw the absurd rate at which the price of textbooks was growing, the impacts those prices had on the quality of students’ lives, and the challenges these costs present faculty in their choice of material. They found an alternative: free and open textbooks hosted natively on the web. Not only did these early adopters concern themselves with the cost of textbooks, but they also made transparency of the publishing process a key element of their best practices, thus ensuring the quality of OER could be assessed by librarians and faculty who might adopt and adapt those materials. Eight years after those early adopters began their OER creation projects, Pressbooks now hosts OER for over 100 institutions across North America.
SPARC Europe has just released a long-awaited report Open Education in European Libraries of Higher Education. This report is the 2021 version of the 2020 report under the same title, which was the first of its kind. The 2021 report is framed by the UNESCO Recommendation on OER.
The report, authored by Gema Santos-Hermosa, Vanessa Proudman and Paola Corti is a result of research conducted earlier this year. The authors analyzed responses to a survey of European libraries of Higher Education on Open Education (OE) and Open Educational Resources (OER). The survey focused particularly on the work being carried out by academic libraries in Europe to implement the UNESCO Recommendation on OER. It saw over 230 responses from 28 European countries.
This collaborative self-study examines how five higher education institutions in British Columbia (BC), Canada, have achieved momentum with openness and are implementing and sustaining their efforts. A goal of this research was to see whether an institutional self-assessment tool—adapted from blended learning and institutional transformation research—can help to assess how an institution has progressed with its open education initiatives. By adopting both an appreciative and a critical approach, the researchers at these five BC institutions compared the similarities and differences between their institutional approaches and the evolution of their initiatives. The paper includes discussion of how a self-assessment tool for institutional open education practices (OEP) can be applied to OEP initiatives at an institutional level and shares promising practices and insights that emerge from this research.