Germany has an Open Educational Resources (OER) strategy
1st August 2022 — Freely accessible and gratis educational materials increase educational opportunities and social participation. On the 29th July 2022, Dr Jens Brandenburg, Parliamentary State Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), presented the OER strategy at the DIPF Leibniz Institute for Educational Research and Information in Frankfurt. Through community building – such as networking and the exchange of actors from science and practice – content creation and contemporary educational practice, Open Educational Resources (OER) are to be systematically promoted in all areas of education. Germany is thus taking a major step towards free, digitally supported, collaborative educational practice and is following UNESCO's recommendation on OER, which emphasises the important contribution that OER can make to achieving the goals of the Education 2030 Agenda – equitable and quality education and lifelong learning.
"We have been advising the BMBF on the topic of Open Educational Resources since 2015. We are pleased that OER are finally getting the relevance in education policy that they deserve with their own strategy."
DLR Projektträger designs strategy process with participation of the specialist community
The publication of the OER strategy is based on a participatory development process which DLR Projektträger played a major role in shaping. As early as spring 2021, three online consultations took place in which around 80 people from the professional community participated. The experts from DLR Projektträger had developed a multi-stage participation process. Theses were formulated in three thematic areas, which were commented on by the expert community (including scientists, educators, IT experts as well as non-profit associations and publishers). After the evaluation of the submissions by DLR Projektträger, these formed the basis for three discussion rounds using the fishbowl method, which the DLR Projektträger experts transferred to the digital medium.
"The topic of Open Education calls for broad community participation. It was important for us to hear different perspectives and give them space for discussion. The fishbowl method is best suited for this – and it can also be used online!"
Further commitment of the BMBF in the field of OER
The fishbowl method provided the framework for challenging discussions with a high level of participation. The results of the online consultations laid the foundation for the OER strategy, which now, after the change of government, marks a central pillar in the BMBF's education policy. In the next few years, the BMBF would like to promote Open Educational Resources with around ten million euros.
"We expect an ambitious funding programme with a wide range of funding guidelines to anchor OER in German educational practice in the long term. We look forward to being able to continue to accompany the BMBF in this thematic area. This also means being very close to the innovative funding projects and closely following developments over the next few years," comments Mario Ganz, scientific officer in the "Digitisation in Education" department, on the publication of the OER strategy.
Since 2012, the DLR Projektträger has been advising and supporting the BMBF in the implementation of the "Digitisation in Vocational Education and Training" funding programme. With their interdisciplinary expertise, the experts at DLR Projektträger have helped to shape numerous funding guidelines and support knowledge transfer through innovative methods and networking formats such as the annual status conference.
The programme's funding focuses, among other things, on augmented and virtual reality applications, work process-integrated learning at the workplace, Open Educational Resources (OER), concepts for promoting media competence or inclusion as well as the networking of companies, science, professional associations and chambers. These activities contribute to the modernisation of education and help to spread the use of digital media for educational purposes, to increase the proportion of digital teachers and learners and to contribute to the qualification of educational staff.
OER stands for Open Educational Resources. According to UNESCO's definition, OER are "any type of teaching-learning materials that are in the public domain or made available under a free licence. The essence of these open materials is that anyone can legally reproduce, use, modify and distribute them free of charge. OER include textbooks, curricula, course outlines, scripts, assignments, tests, projects, audio, video and animation formats."
Jöran Muuß-Merholz for www.open-educational-resources.de – Transfer Office for OER