In 2014 the University Duisburg-Essen (UDE), one of the 10 largest German universities, launched an e-learning-strategy. Its main objectives are flexibilisation, to achieve more compatibility of study and private life and quality development, for another use of face-to-face learning time with more comprehension oriented interaction and feedback. The University is already strong in the field of digitalized teaching and learning. Within the past 10-15 years many programs to support e-learning have been successful. The University development plan 2016-2020 is to bind digitalization more closely to the university`s strategic aim to be an open institution
The scope of “openness“ as an institution-wide objective has yet to be differentiated by the UDE. Being a traditional presence-learning institution providing higher education for high school graduates and focussing on the implementation of formal study programs it is unlikely that the university will give up the exclusivity of its educational offers completely. Andrade et.al. (2011) offer a scale to assess an institution’s pedagogical level of “openness” by judging the nature of the learning objectives and the social practices present. I.e. low openness is characterized by solely aiming for “knowledge transmission” while high openness aims for social practices, co-creation and sharing of knowledge, while learners can also participate in setting the methods and learning objectives (cf.ibid.5).
To promote openness in the field of teaching and learning the UDE has launched a 2-year project to develop its own OER-Strategy that aims to enhance outreach and and educational equality, and improve conditions for our students “by using open technologies that facilitate collaborative, flexible learning. It may also grow to include new approaches to assessment, accreditation and collaborative learning” (Cape Town Open Education Declaration, 2007), rather than becoming an end to itself.
The pursuit of openness is also understood as an instrument of the overall strategy to set the university up for her diverse students´ needs: To make education fairer, more flexible and: more open, with easier access to study (Mulder & Janssen2013).
Kerres & Heinen (2015) state that also the informational infrastructure is crucial for harvesting the full benefits of OER. They distinguish between strong and weak OER, strong OER being aimed for (re-)generating knowledge collaboratively and fulfilling the “4 Rs of Openness” (cf. ibid. 26 ff). To fully use the potentials of strong OER and therefore contributing to an opener university they suggest that an open informational ecosystem is to be established.
The challenge facing the university is how to serve the open learners who access the open resources (McAndrew, 2010). The aim of our presentation is to elaborate recommendations on how to design and establish an OER-Strategy to support the university’s overall strategy and catalyse digitalization. Our talk will elucidate the impact of opening up higher education in Germany using the digital strategy of the UDE as an example. We illustrate the tasks and objectives and give an overview on the milestones so far achieved.
Andrade, A.; Ehlers, U. D.; Caine, A.; Carneiro, R.; Conole, G.; Holmberg, C. et al. (2011). OEP Guide: Guidelines for Open Educational Practices in Organizations (Vs. 2011). Open Educational Quality Initiative (OPAL). Available at: http://oerworkshop.pbworks.com/w/file/fetch/44605120/. Last accessed 20/10/2016.
Cape Town Open Education Declaration (2007). Available at: http://www.capetowndeclaration.org/read-the-declaration. Last accessed 23/09/2016.
Kerres, M.; Heinen, R. (2015). Open Informational Ecosystems: The Missing Link for Sharing Educational Resources. In: International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning (16), S. 24–39. Available at: http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/2008/3247. Last accessed 20/10/2016.
McAndrew, P. (2010). Defining openness: updating the concept of “open” for a connected world. Journal of Interactive Media in Education. 2010(2), p.Art. 10. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5334/2010-10. Last accessed 23/09/2016
Mulder, F., & Janssen, B. (2013). Opening up education. In: Jacobi, R., Jelgerhuis H., & van der Woert N. (Eds.). Trend report: Open educational resources 2013, SURF SIG OER, Utrecht, pp. 36-42. Available at: https://www.surf.nl/binaries/content/assets/surf/en/knowledgebase/2013/Trend +Report+OER+2013_EN_DEF+07032013+%28LR%29.pdf. Last accessed 23/09/2016.