Open Educational Resource, a lever for digital transition of higher education? Report available

Easy access to educational content for the largest number is deeply rooted in our European history. The question of freely available digital open educational resources (OER) has nonetheless been a particular point of focus in the last ten years for various countries and also for international institutions, particularly in Europe. The production and diffusion of these resources have taken different aspects. They have either taken the form of “reservoirs” of educational resources whose location and access need to be facilitated, or the form of structured and rhythmic training modules comprised of classes, exercises, discussion forums, and evaluations, as is the case with on line education programs and Mooc. Whatever the form, two principles underlie this process: education for all as it is defended by UNESCO and “free”, “open”, “collaborative”, “coproduction” practices etc. carried by the web world for the sake of greater agility and global efficiency.

The media have reflected some great successes, even presenting Mooc as “the” lever for a radical transformation of educational patterns and for a better universal access to knowledge. Firm recommendations have been edicted at national and international level, efforts to mutualise actions have been launched, OER are now included in the field of digital public policies (see our Public Digital Policies in Higher Education – A comparative survey between Spain, France, Italy and the United Kingdom).

Has this mobilization around OER borne fruit in terms of a wider access to knowledge for all? Facing a dual trend of commoditisation and opening up of education at world level, are OER an instrument of domination or a tool of equal opportunities and diversity? Is the trend towards sharing maximum resources or rather towards a contextualized and private usage?

Furthermore, will the development of OER lead to an innovation and a transformation of our educational systems linked with the digital evolution of our economy, our society and our culture?

What place should it consequently be given to mobilize and educate “leaders” of our systems and institutions?

The objective of this report is to answer these questions, focusing on two main areas:

  • the first area will concern open education confronting the ideals of this concept with reality
  • the second area will question observations and perspectives in terms of evolution of higher education and the role played by OER.

The conclusion will focus on the object of the D-Transform Project, the mobilization of the governance of institutions.

In order to give context to these issues, the present report will start with a reminder of historic and geographic perspectives related to OER and Mooc before providing a general background in terms of digital governance and digital services offered to teachers and students in the various studied institutions studied.

The report is available in English and in French.

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