One of the highlights of OER13 for me was the opportunity to meet with University of Leicester’s European partners in the POERUP project. One of POERUP’s main aims is to find out what is happening in terms of OER policies in countries around the world, and to disseminate this information in order to stimulate the uptake of OER policies.
The first presentation from POERUP, on day one of the conference, was by Ming Nie, who gave a snapshot overview of the types of policies in different countries emerging from the research: countries with OER policies (such as the Netherlands, the USA, South Africa and Romania); countries active in OER activities (such as New Zealand, UK, Australia, Spain, Poland and Canada), and countries driving open education (such as Greece, Italy, France Hungary and the Scandinavian countries).
On day two, Terence Karran followed up with his in-depth presentation on OER developments in Mexico. His catch phrase was “the tortoise, not the hare” – in other words suggesting that while progress may be slow here, there are indicators that Mexico might ultimately win the OER race. The major success factors he listed were: a strong tradition of open and distance learning (ODL); the growing use of ICT in general and technology in learning in particular; an emerging directive approach to national policy; a privatised but gradually opening telecommunications industry; and a strong and growing ICT manufacturing base. These wide-ranging factors were presented to show that although the use of OERs in Mexico has only just begun, we can expect to see much greater engagement in time to come.
Finally the POERUP team presented a fast-flowing “elevator pitch” of OER policies, covering 26 countries in 26 minutes. It was a great team effort involving six of us (Paul Bacsich and Nick Jeans from Sero in the UK, Robert Schuwer from the OU Netherlands, Terence Karran from the University of Lincoln and Ming Nie and myself from the University of Leicester). We presented the OER policy “highlights” from the research so far. Anyone who is interested in finding out more about the POERUP findings so far can go to the POERUP wiki to read the 26 full country reports, or refer to the longer list of all countries that includes further information about other countries.
The next step for POERUP is to conduct case studies of several large OER networks or communities, using social network analysis methodology. Information will be shared via the POERUP website.