The launch of the “Opening Up Education” initiative of the European Commission in 2013 has been commonly seen as a milestone for the development of the Open Educational Resources (OER) movement in Europe. The initiative includes OERs as one of the four key “areas” of policy intervention. At the same time, the document has been criticised for “thinned down” standards and definitions of OER. Nevertheless, and even taking into account Commissions’ lack of influence over domestic educational systems of member states, this is an important development.
At the same time, a range of OER projects and policy initiatives has been developing over the last several years in a range of states both within the European Union and just beyond its borders. The goal of the presentation is to present this varied landscape of initiatives, together with a framework for mapping these developments. It is based on a review of European initiatives that went beyond OER-focused projects to include a range of digital repositories and textbook initiatives, targeted at primary and secondary education. Furthermore, national textbook production and financing models have been analysed as an important point of reference – since textbooks have been for decades the dominating form of educational resources used. The review has been based on a literature review, online desk research, interviews and questionnaire distributed among national experts.
I will argue in the presentation that while we still lack significant policies in support of OER in Europe, a range of projects has been developing such resources and making them available at a scale that can have significant impact on respective educational systems. In my talk I will present following types of projects: content repositories (such as Belgian KlasCement or Norwegian NDLA); open digital textbooks (such as Polish e-podręczniki project or French Sesamath and Le Livre Scolaire publishers) and Coalitions building support for OERs (such as Polish KOED or SLovenian Opening Up Slovenia). I will argue that these different types of projects should be treated, optimally, as parts of a complex ecosystem that supports OER development in member states. The development of such an ecosystem should be the goal of policy work both in member states and at the European level.