Open Educational Resources

Open Educational Resources (OER) are understood to be digital teaching and learning materials (course materials, textbooks, videos, task sheets, podcasts etc.) which are freely accessible for all interested parties and without charge. This means that there are no restrictions for any groups of users, and no royalties or licence fees need to be paid. Open Educational Resources may also be reproduced, put to further use, changed, mixed and disseminated. The term Open Educational Resources was introduced by UNESCO in 2002 and has been an object of international discussion ever since. Open Educational Resources are now considered to offer a large degree of potential with regard to changing educational media and thus the educational system itself in an innovative way.

Advancing digitalisation also means that the significance of digital teaching and learning resources is constantly growing within the individual educational areas. However, the concept of OER and the associated opportunities they offer remain relatively unknown in Germany. Compared to the areas of school education and higher education, this particularly applies to vocational education and training. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) also takes the view that Open Educational Resources, which allow the easy editing of materials because of the openness of certain technical formats used, will become the driver of new educational practices which will enable exploitation of the areas of potential offered by digital media for teaching and learning. Under guidelines issued to promote Open Educational Resources, the BMBF is funding a special programme for digital media in VET, the establishment of an OER Information Agency (OERinfo) and 23 further projects aimed at raising awareness and providing training on OER in the educational sector within a time frame of 24 months.

OERinfo comprises seven competent partner institutions which are pursuing the objective of providing information and encouraging the transfer and networking of Open Educational Resources. The German Eduserver based at the German Institute for International Educational Research (DIPF) is in charge of overall coordination of the project. In the areas of school education, higher education, vocational education and training and adult education, the FWU – Media Institute of the Federal States, the eLearning Network NRW (housed at the Learning Lab at the University of Duisburg-Essen), the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB) and the German Institute for Adult Education (DIE) are all acting as transfer partners to help shape the services provided by the OERinfo.

Tasks of the Information Agency

  • Work in conjunction with various key stakeholders and experts to present the current status of knowledge of Open Educational Resources
  • Support networking between initiatives by showing the diversity of the various projects and approaches that are in place
  • Facilitate ease of access to current information relating to every aspect of the topic of Open Educational Resources
  • Bundle information on and results from best practice examples (including results from the further 23 projects commissioned to raise awareness and provide training)

The project receives media support from the Jöran und Konsorten media agency for education. The previous project OER World Map is also represented.

Tasks of the transfer partner at BIBB

  • Draw up a selected bibliography on the topic of OER in the educational sector
  • Involve relevant VET stakeholders and key players in presenting the current status of knowledge of Open Educational Resources
  • Monitor and document best practice example
  • Act as an interface to contact target groups via social media, print, presentations, workshops and poster displays

More information on Open Educational Resources will be provided here in the near future. This will cover a wide range of aspects, including significance for the educational sector, licensing opportunities, possibilities regarding quality assurance, and financing.