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POERUP: Policies for OER Uptake

- November 19, 2014 in communication, featured, project

Paul-Bacsich-3-190x200POERUP, Policies for OER Uptake, was a project part-funded under the Lifelong Learning Programme of the European Commission during the period November 2011 until June 2014 inclusive.

Now all the project’s key outputs and public deliverables are finalised and available to the public Paul Bacsich, the POERUP Project Manager, highlights the project’s main achievements.

The project’s overall aim was to develop policy recommendations to promote the uptake of OER (Open Educational Resources) in the educational sector, and to further the range of purposes for which institutions deploy OER: opening up education, widening access (internationally and in particular for developing countries), higher quality or lower cost of teaching – and combinations of these. These policy advice documents – for schools, for universities and for colleges and other organised education providers – were to be oriented to the European Union and a specified range of other countries.


The more than 500 selected OER initiatives are all documented in a large wiki database and are displayed on an interactive, progressive OER Map.

OER policy map

OER policy map

We invite you to browse the collection and if you have initiatives to add, submit your contribution.

The POERUP team achieved their aims and objectives by:

  • studying a range of countries in Europe and seen as relevant to Europe, in order to understand what OER activities and initiatives are under way, and why they are continuing (or stopping, or starting) – and taking account of reports from other agencies and projects studying OER in other countries;
  •  researching case studies of the end-user–producer communities behind OER initiatives in order to refine and elaborate recommendations to formulate a set of action points that can be applied to ensuring the realisation of successful, lively and sustainable OER communities;
  •  developing informed ideas on policy formulation using evidence from POERUP and (the few) other policy-oriented studies, POERUP staff’s own experience in related projects, and ongoing advice from other experts in the field.

The project used a multi-method research approach to triangulate research data from different sources to gain an in-depth view of the European OER policy environment by:

  • Producing a global inventory of over 500 relevant national and other large-scale OER initiatives as a result of a thorough desktop analysis. These initiatives are all documented in a large database and can be shown on a searchable OER Map. Many more initiatives are discussed in the country reports and associated tables.
  • Producing 11 country reports and 22 mini-reports. These country reports were created based on literature review and document analysis of relevant policy papers and country reports from previous projects.
  • Selecting eight case studies from the inventory in the context of the country studies. To gain an in-depth view into the dynamics of OER communities, Social Network Analysis (SNA) methodology was used.
  • Creation of policy advice reports for universities, schools and colleges.


For further information the reader is referred to the POERUP web site – in particular the page on key outputs at – and to the collection of documents on the POERUP wiki – in particular

The POERUP wiki is a semantic wiki and both it and the OER map make use of Linked Open Data and can deliver key information as Linked Open Data – see in particular the OER Map API page at

Help improve the open knowledge directory

- November 10, 2014 in communication, featured, project

openstepsThis is a guest blog post from Open Steps, an independent blog aggregating worldwide information around Open Cultures in form of articles, videos and other resources. Its aim is to document open knowledge (OK) related projects and keep track on the status of such initiatives worldwide. From organisations using Open Data, promoting Open Source technologies, launching Open Government initiatives, following the principles behind Open Science, supporting the release of information to newsrooms practicing Data Journalism.

In this way, their site seeks to continue, this time virtually, the globetrotter project realised between July 2013 to July 2014 and discover further OK projects all around the world.

If you followed the journey across Europe, India, Asia and South-America that Margo and Alex from Open Steps undertook last year, you probably already know their open knowledge directory. During those 12 months, in every of the 24 visited countries they had the chance to met numerous enthusiastic activists sharing the same ideas and approaches. In order to keep record of all those amazing projects they created what began as a simple contact list but soon evolved in a web application that has been growing since then.


After some iterations a new version has been recently released which not only features a new user interface with better usability but also sets a base for a continuous development that aims to encourage collaboration among people across borders while monitoring the status of open knowledge initiatives worldwide and raising awareness about relevant projects worth to discover. If you haven’t done it yet, head to and join it!

New version implementing PLP Profiles

One of the main features of this new version is the implementation of the Portable Linked Profiles, short PLP. In a nutshell, PLP allows you to create a profile with your basic contact information that you can use, re-use and share. Basic contact information refers to the kind of information you are used to type in dozens of online forms, from registering on social networks, accessing web services or leaving your feedback in forums, it is always the same information: Name, Email, Address, Website, Facebook, Twitter, etc…PLP addresses this issue but also, and most important, allows you to decide where you want your data to be stored.


By implementing PLP, this directory does not make use anymore of the old Google Form and now allow users to edit their data and keep it up-to-date easily. For the sake of re-usability and interoperability, it makes listing your profile in another directory so easy as just pasting the URI of your profile on it. If you want to know more about PLP, kindly head to the current home page,  read a more extensive article about it on Open Steps or check the github repository with the documentation. PLP is Open Source software and is based on Open Web Standards and Common Vocabularies so collaboration is more than welcome.

Participate on defining the next steps for the open knowledge directory

Speaking about collaboration, on the upcoming Wednesday 12th of November, a discussion will take place on how the worldwide open knowledge community can benefit from such a directory, how the current Open Steps’ implementation can be improved and what would be the next steps to follow. No matter what background you have, if you are a member of the worldwide open knowledge community and want to participate on the improvement of the open knowledge directory, please join us.
When? Wednesday, 12th November 2014. 3pm GMT

Event on Google+:


This blog post also appears on the Open Knowledge blog.

Supporting Schools to use OERs

- October 24, 2014 in communication, featured, licensing, oer, project

josieAt the Open Education Working Group there is often reflection that there are great things happening in the open education world but many of these don’t transpose to educational spaces, such as schools.

Josie Fraser from the DigiLit Leicester initiative has an exciting announcement about how Leicester Council is bringing together OERs and teachers to enable Open Educational Practices.


Open Educational Resources (OER) are learning materials (including presentations, revision guides, lesson plans) that have been released under an open licence, so that anyone can use, share and build on them for free. Many openly licensed resources are available for schools to use and develop. At a time when schools increasingly work with, and rely on, digital and web based materials, understanding how copyright works, and making the most of available resources, is essential for staff and schools.


Creating OER allows schools to connect and collaborate with others through sharing work. Sharing can also help promote the great work that school staff and schools are doing.

The DigiLit Leicester initiative, designed to support schools in making the most of the city’s current investment in technology, identified a gap in support and information for school staff relating to the use and creation of OER. In response to this, Leicester City Council is releasing a range of resources to help schools in the city and beyond get the most out of open licensing. Guidance for schools has been produced, along with a range of practical resources, to support school staff in understanding, finding, and creating OER. The resource pack is itself is released under an open licence, and can be downloaded from


Editable versions suitable for adaptation are also available for download.

The resources being that have been released are:

  • School Permission & Policy docs: 1. Formal notification of permission from LCC to city community and voluntary controlled schools 2. Guidance notes for schools on the permission 3. Model school policy (based on the Albany Senior policy) for schools with Local Authority permission 4. Model school policy (same) for schools where the governing body is the employer
  • Guidance docs: On ‘What are Open Educational Resources?’; ‘Understanding Open Licensing’; ‘Finding and Remixing Openly Licensed Resources’; ‘Openly Licensing and Sharing your Resources’
  • Supporting Docs: S1-6 – 6 documents designed to support staff in delivering workshops, or providing walkthroughs relating to finding, using and attributing CC Licenced materials, plus an extensive list of annotated resources and related materials
  • Additional materials: A pack of existing openly licenced resources that are either referenced in the guidance or in activities in the supporting documents, that we are providing on a standalone basis to make life easier for school staff

All of the materials build upon existing openly licenced works and are themselves released under a CC-BY licence, and provided in editable doc formats as well as PDF.

Leicester City Council has also given permission to the 84 community and voluntary controlled schools across the city to create and share Open Educational Resources (OER), by releasing the learning materials they create under an open licence. By default, the rights of work created in the line of employment are assigned to the employer, unless a specific agreement has been made. This permission makes sharing resources simpler for everyone, and provides additional opportunities for schools and school staff.

Josie Fraser, ICT Strategy Lead (Children’s Capital) at Leicester City Council, said:

Many free, Openly Educational Resources – OER – already exist. Schools can’t make use of them if they aren’t aware of OER and don’t know how to find them. We are creating practical information and guidance for schools (which is released under an open licence) and providing community and voluntary controlled schools across the city with the freedom to openly license their own work. This supports Leicester schools to promote what they are achieving, and also to connect to, and collaborate with, other schools, and to make educational resources accessible to learners everywhere.

Dr Björn Haßler (University of Cambridge), said:

Leicester City Council is the first local authority in the UK to provide its school employees with permission to openly license their resources. This is a highly commendable and visionary step. We very much hope that this will inspire other councils and schools to look at how they can also support staff in sharing their work.

The Council is also encouraging voluntary aided schools, foundation schools and academies across the city to review their own approach to digital resources, and to see how they can make the most of open licensing. At these schools, the governing body is usually the employer. All schools in the city have been provided with information about the permission, and the Council has produced model policies to discuss, adopt and adapt. Further information about the permission and model policies can also be downloaded from


OER Guidance for Schools was released on 23 October 2014. It was commissioned by Leicester City Council, as part of the Council’s award winning digital literacy school staff development project, DigiLit Leicester.

The Guidance is produced by Björn Haßler, Helen Neo, and Josie Fraser, and is available under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 licence.

For further information please contact Josie Fraser ( or Björn Haßler (

OER and less used languages

- March 4, 2014 in featured, languages, oer, project

One important aspect of the Open Education Working Group that we are keen to promote is that we are a global group. We have members from all over the world, something highlighted through our Around the World blog series.

If we are a global group then we need to acknowledge that not everyone speaks English. Although our blog is in English we are really keen to support initiatives that create resources, data and practices in other languages.

ioerICDE and LangOER, a 3-year network project supported by the EU Lifelong Learning Programme, are looking for your input on the role of Open Educational Resources and Open Educational Practices in less used languages.

How can less used languages, including regional and minority languages benefit from Open Educational Practices (OEP)? How can Open Educational Resources (OER) foster linguistic and cultural diversity in Europe? What policies are favourable to the uptake of quality OER in less used language communities? Answers to these questions will be sought through LangOER, a 3-year network project supported by the EU Lifelong Learning Programme.

To aid in this, you are asked to contribute by answering five very short questions (in Google docs) on your experience of OER and less used languages.

What are less used lanaguages?

Denmark, a country with a population of 5.6 million, has Danish – which is a less used language – the same goes for many others like Greek, Latvian, Swedish etc. But also regional minority languages can be less used languages. And in a broader context, Chinese for example, can be regarded a less used language in countries with an immigrant population from China.

ICDE will produce a working policy paper entitled “OER – challenges and opportunities for less used languages. A global and European perspective.”, which will be published through these channels.