OER14 homeApplication › Prof Paul Bacsich

Proposed policies to foster open educational resources and practices in UK higher education

Tuesday 9:00-10:30 (2), Marlborough Suite

Type: Short paper

Theme: Open policy, research, scholarship and access

http://www.poerup.info #oer14 #abs67


Professor Paul Bacsich, Senior Consultant, Sero, [email protected]


This paper from POERUP provides a set of 16 or so recommendations designed to foster the use of open educational resources and open educational practices in the UK higher education sector, in particular England, Scotland and Wales.

The study method was to review the full range of OER activity in the UK HE sector in the last few years (such as the JISC/HEA OER Programme), take into account the policy environment in the home nations for HE in general and online learning in particular, and correlate these both with developments in over 30 other countries deemed to be of relevance to Europe and the emerging policy environment at EU level (to which the POERUP project contributed, as the author was both a member of the EU’s Open Education Experts Group and a contributor (Bacsich 2013a) to the Open Education 2030 workshop on higher education).

This paper focuses only on higher education in the UK but companion papers focus on further education and on schools. In addition the project is also preparing policy papers on Ireland (by the same author), Netherlands, France, Spain, Poland and Canada. This set of studies and papers provides massive capability for cross-correlation and triangulation.

Our first EU HE OER policy paper (Bacsich 2013b) was made available publicly in September 2013, in advance of the EU’s Opening Up Education report (European Commission 2013). Ours has now been updated to take account of that and refine the EU’s recommendations for the HE sector. The first summary version of a UK HE policy paper has been produced for internal discussion in the POERUP project and then in the Advisory Committee.

By the time of OER14 our UK HE paper will have been refined and split into versions taking into account the different home nations’ HE systems and the different state of policy development in England and Wales (BIS 2013; HEW 2013) and working groups such as Open Scotland.

The POERUP project takes care not to focus on OER as an end in itself, but on the agendas that OER is said to be able to foster and on the wider agenda (called by the EU “opening up education”, but equally well called by others “open and distance learning”, “open educational practices”, or “flexible learning”) within which OER is embedded. Paradoxically perhaps, this makes it much easier to make recommendations and to ensure stability in the recommendations and consistency with other existing policies.

In its current draft form, the recommendations are formulated as 16 in a “home nation neutral” fashion, but the number of recommendations will no doubt change as the document splits into three versions. It is still felt to be valuable to produce a UK-wide synthesis, not least because several key agencies such as HEA and QAA have a UK-wide remit.

The project is willing to work with other home nations/regions/mission groups, Crown Dependencies and other EU countries to co-create similar documents. It already has some experience of this developed in the last few months.


Bacsich, P. (2013a). A liberal arts/science Competence-Duration model for universities within an Open Qualifications Alliance international framework for student global mobility. Open Education 2030, JRC-IPTS Call for Vision Papers for University Education.
Bacsich, P. (2013b). POERUP - policy advice for universities (Deliverable 4.2U). Available from: http://www.scribd.com/doc/169430544/Policies-at-EU-level-for-OER-uptake-in-universities. [Accessed: 26 November 2013].
BIS. (2013). The maturing of the MOOC. BIS Research papers, number 30.
European Commission. (2013). Opening up education: innovative teaching and learning for all through new technologies and open educational resources (COM(2013) 654 final). Brussels: European Commission.
HEW. (2013). The Wales open education declaration of intent. Available from: http://www.thinkwales.ac.uk/. [Accessed 26 November 2013].
POERUP. (2013). POERUP wiki. Available from: http://poerup.referata.com/wiki/Main_Page. [Accessed: 26 November 2013].

Funding acknowledgements

European Commission Lifelong Learning Programme KA3 ICT, for POERUP
Higher Education Academy, for LUOERL (Learner Use of Online Educational Resources for Learning)

Further details

Keywords: open educational resources, OER, MOOCs, open educational practices, opening up education, policies, e-learning, online learning, accreditation, competences

Website: http://www.poerup.info

Prof Paul Bacsich, Senior Consultant, Sero Consulting Ltd

Twitter: @pbacsich

Twitter abstract: Proposed policies to foster the use in higher education of open educational resources and practices in the UK