Open education is all about openness, collaboration and knowledge-sharing. UCLouvain would like to contribute by making open educational resources (OERs) available and providing online courses open to all.
The open education approach proposed here can make a significant contribution towards achieving several objectives of the Rector's programme, such as: innovative teaching methods, high-quality mass education, improved pass rate, lifelong learning, e-learning, relations with the business world and with alumni, and internationalisation.
OERs are educational materials in digital format (lecture notes, videos, exercises, assessments, online courses, MOOCs, etc.), freely available to instructors, students and self-learners everywhere. These materials can be re-used at no cost for the purposes of teaching, learning and research [CERI 2007, Elaine 2014, OS]. Digital paves the way for new types of educational materials and facilitates their dissemination. Today, various individual initiatives contribute at UCLouvain to open educational resources [Bonaventure 2011, Banse 2015].
OERs are relevant not only for first degrees but also for continuing education, aimed at both companies and alumni.
Many institutions have joined the OER movement and freely offer resources to the world. Some of the various initiatives include the Open Education Consortium, which comprises 250 universities [OEC], the Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching, with more than 56,000 resources [MERLOT], Common Open Educational Resources [OERC], Open Education Europa [OEE], OpenLearn [OpenL], and many others [OERWiki]. By opting for open education, UCLouvain could become part of some of these initiatives.
As a university, UCLouvain can benefit greatly from joining the OER movement:
- the University can fulfil its role in creating, sharing and disseminating knowledge;
- both the creation and the use of open resources enhance the quality of educational programmes;
- UCLouvain's visibility and reputation are enhanced;
- UCLouvain's international presence is strengthened;
- UCLouvain is more attractive for new students;
- this approach enables UCLouvain to offer its alumni a true "post-degree service": ongoing access to future developments in courses completed;
- education is open to all;
- support is provided for lifelong learning: open educational resources are relevant for UCLouvain's Institute for Lifelong Learning (IUFC) and University of the Third Age (UDA).
Although an open education approach helps to disseminate OERs, it does not affect UCLouvain's role as an education provider at its six different campuses: UCLouvain still confers degrees and diplomas. Besides this certification role, a university's added value also lies in the development and implementation of classroom learning activities that are innovative, relevant and effective, exploiting all the resources available.
Naturally, an approach promoting open educational resources cannot be imposed. The project simply aims to support teachers wishing to become involved in this approach. It should also be pointed out that free dissemination of an educational resource, such as lecture notes in digital format (for instance under a Creative Commons-type licence [Creative]), does not curtail the author's rights but rather enables the author to authorise the public to make certain use of it, while giving him or her the option of restricting its commercial use, derivative works and redistribution conditions. Publication in this form does not, for example, mean that the resource cannot be published in the normal way.
For UCLouvain teachers, an approach promoting OERs also offers various advantages:
– traditional academic values such as knowledge dissemination and collaboration are highlighted;
– teachers can support the initiative for either some of their classes and/or some of their teaching materials; they can therefore feel involved without necessarily being an expert in teaching methodology and with a reasonable investment of time and resources;
– the OER approach encourages collaboration, particularly international alliances, on the design of high-quality teaching materials;
– there is an incentive to improve their courses, either by using existing resources or by improving their own resources in order to disseminate them to the outside world; the dissemination of educational resources is an opportunity to obtain feedback from other teachers;
– the creation of resources by teachers as part of the OER approach contributes to their academic reputation; if these resources are used in other universities, this is also a form of recognition.
Proposal 1 >
Make UCLouvain part of the open education movement and include it in international open education networks.
Proposal 2 >
Encourage and support the in-house development and use of open educational resources (objective: 10% of the teaching staff will make at least one of their courses openly and freely available in the next four years); priority will be given to collaborative approaches where applicable.
Proposal 3 >
Establish and manage a repository of open educational resources at UCLouvain.
Proposal 4 >
Develop and propose to alumni a "post-degree service" based on open educational resources; develop, via the IUFC, a range of continuing education courses, complementing the existing programme and based on open educational resources.
Proposal 5 >
Help the University of the Third Age (UDA) to benefit from UCLouvain's open educational resources approach.