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Asian Journal of Distance Education - Approaches to Monitor and Evaluate OER Policies in Higher Education - Tracing Developments in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland

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The 2019 UNESCO recommendation on Open Educational Resources (OER) encourages member states to monitor policies and mechanisms in OER across the world. In higher education, there are many initiatives and policies around OER. This contribution gives insights into the current situation concerning OER policy documents that are of national or institutional relevance for public higher education institutions in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria. For each country, a different approach for identifying OER policy documents was chosen, dependent on the availability of documents and different dominant forms of documentation. Whereas digital documents available on the web were found as helpful sources for Germany, and performance agreements between the national ministry and individual universities were used for analysis in Austria, a survey amongst all universities was the chosen research approach in Switzerland to give an overview about potentially OER related policy documents. All these documents are now made available via the OER World Map. With this contribution, the authors also highlight the possibility of using the OER World Map as a powerful tool to collect and evaluate OER policy documents.
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Asian Journal of Distance Education Volume 17, Issue 1, 2022
125
Published by Asian Society for Open and Distance Education (ASODE), Japan
ISSN 1347-9008 http://www.asianjde.com/
This is an open access article under the CC BY license
Approaches to Monitor and Evaluate OER Policies in Higher Education -
Tracing Developments in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland
Jan Neumann, Sandra Schön, Svenja Bedenlier, Martin Ebner, Sarah Edelsbrunner,
Nicole Krüger, Gabriela Lüthi-Esposito, Victoria I. Marín, Dominic Orr, Laura N. Peters,
Ricarda T.D. Reimer, Olaf Zawacki-Richter
Abstract: The 2019 UNESCO recommendation on Open Educational Resources (OER) encourages
member states to monitor policies and mechanisms in OER across the world. In higher education, there
are many initiatives and policies around OER. This contribution gives insights into the current situation
concerning OER policy documents that are of national or institutional relevance for public higher
education institutions in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria. For each country, a different approach for
identifying OER policy documents was chosen, dependent on the availability of documents and different
dominant forms of documentation. Whereas digital documents available on the web were found as
helpful sources for Germany, and performance agreements between the national ministry and individual
universities were used for analysis in Austria, a survey amongst all universities was the chosen research
approach in Switzerland to give an overview about potentially OER related policy documents. All these
documents are now made available via the OER World Map. With this contribution, the authors also
highlight the possibility of using the OER World Map as a powerful tool to collect and evaluate OER
policy documents.
Keywords: open education, open educational resources, OER policies, OER World Map, digitization
strategies
Highlights
What is already known about this topic:
The UNESCO (2019) recommendation encourages the development of supportive OER policies
in higher education institutions.
OER World Map (https://www.oerworldmap.org) is a platform, which aims to collect data and
information about actors and activities related to OER.
OE Policy Hub (https://www.oepolicyhub.org) provides a collection of >300 policy documents,
which refer to open education or OER.
What this paper contributes:
An overview of the OER higher education landscape in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.
The current state of OER policy implementation in the three countries.
Implications for theory, practice and/or policy:
The article reveals the nature of policy documents in which aspects of OER and Open Education
are considered.
Higher Education Institutions can use this overview as a starting point for developing their own
OER strategies and policies
The results can also be used for further national comparisons or benchmark systems
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Introduction
One of the many advantages of Open Educational Resources (OER) is that they can be used free of
charge but can also be adapted and reused (e.g., Ebner & Schön 2011). Higher education institutions
(HEIs) use OER in different ways (Schaffert, 2010); for about 15 years, countries (Hoosen & Butcher,
2012) as well as the first HEIs have been positioning themselves favourably towards OER for strategic
and publicity reasons and developing and publishing dedicated OER strategies (dos Santos et al. 2017;
e.g., University of Edinburgh, 2016). National policy documents on OER are developed and published
to promote OER. In this paper, we examine the extent to which OER has become visible in policy
documents to date in three middle European countries (Germany, Austria, Switzerland) in the field of
HEI.
Our contribution has a twofold objective. Firstly, we aim to describe the current state of OER policy
making in higher education in Austria, Germany and Switzerland using an approach, which combines
quantitative and qualitative elements. By doing so, we hope to provide deeper insights into the
functioning of OER policy making and possibilities to monitor OER policies and its effects in these central
European countries (see UNESCO, 2019). At the same time, we want to provide a first orientation which
could support better assessment of our future national developments, as well as the monitoring of
ongoing OER adoption. We believe that an overview of OER policies might form a good starting point
to conceptualize a more comprehensive monitoring system, which could help to evaluate future OER-
programs and support collaboration on an international level.
Conceptual Framework
OER Policy
The OER World Map (https://www.oerworldmap.org) is a platform that collects data and information
about actors and activities related to OER. It uses state of the art linked open data technology and
currently provides more than 6400 entries. The project has been funded by the William and Flora Hewlett
Foundation since 2014 and was developed by the North-Rhine-Westphalian Library Service Center
(hbz) till March 2021. Currently, it is in a major organisational transition phase. One of the major lessons
learned from the OER World Map project is that comprehensive data collection is possible, but requires
systematic impulses, for example in the form of editorial support. To improve the user experience of the
platform, the OER World Map recently developed the OE Policy Hub (https://www.oepolicyhub.org,
OEPH). The OEPH is a satellite site that accesses the central data pool of the OER World Map, but at
the same time can be adapted in terms of structure and layout to the needs of a specific user group, in
this case policy makers. The data provided on the OEPH includes the OE Policy Registry, a collection
of more than 300 policy documents, which refer to OE or OER.
The OE Policy Hub defines Open Education Policies as “regulations and strategies, which foster the
development and implementation of Open Educational Practices, including the creation and use of Open
Educational Resources, by governments, institutions, and other organisations. They allocate resources
and orchestrate activities to increase access to as well as quality, efficiency and innovation of
education."
Within this contribution, we exclusively refer to higher education policies on or about OER. Many of the
initiatives and policies described have a broader scope, such as covering digitalization or open
education, including the introduction of open teaching methods and practices (Inamorato dos Santos,
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Punie & Castaño-Muñoz 2016; Nascimbeni & Burgos, 2016, Atenas et al., 2019). Within our contribution,
we focus on OER as openly licensed learning, teaching and research materials as defined by UNESCO
1
.
One important insight gained within the development of the OE Policy Hub is that it is surprisingly difficult
to define the term OER-policyprecisely and conclusively. According to our experience, the term policy
is used differently in different contexts and geographical regions. Even though we are not able to work
out a conclusive typology of policies at this point, we would like to go into some particularly important
differences in more detail below.
Policy Initiatives Versus Policy Documents
The term “Policy” is also be used in a broader way, as “policy initiative” (cf. Morestin, 2012), which is not
restricted to documents, but describes complex institutional processes which develop over time and
which, in addition to policy documents, also includes implementation measures such as projects,
programmes and services. To avoid misunderstandings, we use the term ‘policy document’ in the
relevant places. OER policy documents are written manifestations of decisions of the senior
management of an institution to foster the development and use of OER. Following this definition,
different types of policy documents can be identified. The OER World Map/OE Policy Hub currently
distinguishes between five different types of policy document; they are legislation, policy documents,
strategy documents, call for tender and ‘other’.
Looking at the different types of policies it can be stated that some policy documents provide strategic
orientation, while others represent concrete regulations, which must be observed by the members of the
institution applying them. While occasionally policy and strategy are different, but complementary
steering instruments, this contribution will summarize both instruments as policy documents in the
broader sense.
Figure 1. An Influence Map of the structure of OER Policies and its components
Figure 1 shows the structure of an OER policy-initiative and its components. This highlights that policy
documents make up only one component of policy initiatives. Arguably it is significantly easier to collect
existing policy documents than to model complete policy initiatives, but the full impact of policy
documents can only be assessed when considering the entirety of the policy initiatives.
OER Policy Making as Multi-level Governance
Recommendations for analysing (public) policies suggest starting with a description of the logic model
of its influence (Morestin, 2012), so we draft relationships of different governance levels in the following:
1
According to the established definition of the 2012 Paris OER Declaration OER are “teaching, learning
and research materials in any medium, digital or otherwise, that reside in the public domain or have
been released under an open license that permits no-cost access, use, adaptation and redistribution by
others with no or limited restrictions.”
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OER policy making happens on different political and institutional levels. Figure 2 shows the intertwining
nature of OER policy making on the international, national, and institutional level. We embed this in a
broader context, highlighting that international policies can influence a national policy, which in turn can
initiate and influence HEI policy documents, as well as the vague notion of mutual influence within the
worldwide OER movement. Plainly, international policies will themselves be based on experiences at
both the national and institutional level, so in fact influence flows in both directions. However, from a
multi-level policy perspective, the rationale of international initiatives is that they can scale up and
mainstream positive experiences, fostering maximum achievement of the potential of OER.
Figure 2. A draft of how (inter-) national OER policy influences a HEI (OER) policy
OER policy making on international level and examples for OER policy documents
in higher education worldwide
OER policy making on the international level is the subject of the activities of various multinational
institutions like UNESCO, the Commonwealth of Learning, OECD, and the European Community.
Probably most influential so far have been the activities of UNESCO, which adopted its
Recommendation on OER in November 2019 (UNESCO; 2019). Additionally, we want to sketch the
worldwide situation of OER policy documents in HEI.
The UNESCO (2019) Recommendation as International Policy Document
The UNESCO recommendation is the successor to the UNESCO (2019) Declaration on OER, which
was adopted in 2012 and includes the most widespread definition of OER so far, and indeed has been
considered especially influential for the adoption of OER in Germany during recent years. The UNESCO
Recommendation (2019) is an interesting example of an international policy itself, which includes
numerous recommended actions, divided into five areas of action:
Capacity building (“Building capacity of stakeholders to create, access, re-use, adapt and
redistribute OER”)
Policy making (“Developing supportive policy”)
Inclusive and equitable access to quality OER (“Encouraging effective, inclusive and equitable
access to quality OER”)
Sustainability models for OER (“Nurturing the creation of sustainability models for OER”)
International cooperation (“Promoting and reinforcing international cooperation”)
Policy making seems to be of particular importance within the overall framework of the recommendation.
For example, item 12 states that “member States [...] should develop or encourage policy environments,
including those at the institutional and national levels, that are supportive of effective OER practices”.
Item 12 a) includes the far-reaching claim that member states should consider “developing and
implementing policies [...] which encourage educational resources developed with public funds that are
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openly licensed or dedicated to the public domain”. If one reads the recommendation carefully, one can
extract from it almost a complete blueprint for the research presented within this paper: Item 12 g)
recommends “encouraging and supporting research on OER, through relevant research programmes
on OER development, sharing and evaluating”. Within item 15, the recommendation claims that
“Member States should promote and reinforce international cooperation among all relevant
stakeholders, whether on a bilateral or multilateral basis.” Finally, within item 16, the recommendation
expresses that “Member States should [...] monitor policies and mechanisms related to OER using a
combination of quantitative and qualitative approaches”. To do so, Member States are encouraged to
deploy “appropriate research mechanisms to measure the effectiveness and efficiency of OER policies
and incentives against defined objectives” and to develop “strategies to monitor the educational
effectiveness and long-term financial efficiency of OER.” In this respect, the present contribution
attempts to take up the objectives set by the UNESCO recommendation and to take the first steps
towards their implementation in practice.
National and Institutional OER Policy Documents in HEI Worldwide
Marín et al. (2020) investigated the influence of country-specific contexts on the development of national
or state-wide policies for digital infrastructures and their implementation of OER with a focus on HE. The
authors investigated ten nations worldwide and found that most of them referred to high level plans in
terms of strategies (China, Germany, Japan, South Korea, Turkey) or to working papers with influence
on national or provincial policy (Spain) with some connection to OER. Australia and the United States
also had some initiatives, but they were not connected to OER policy documents. For instance, the
#GoOpen initiative by the U.S. Department of Education supports states in the use of openly licensed
educational materials but does not mandate its use (see https://tech.ed.gov/open/states/). It was only
the national government of South Africa that had developed “several policies where OER are referred
to, with the most recent being the Call for comments on the open learning policy framework for South
African post-school education and training (2017)” (Marín et al., 2020, p. 251).
Marín et al. (under review) also collected and presented OER policies within HEI or related research
and data in 10 nations:
In the case of South Korea, each university develops its own OER policy. As a HEI case, “Seoul
National University has three different policy frameworks for OER selection and management:
a) for internal courses, b) for Korean MOOCs, and c) for global MOOCs (edX)” (Marín et al.,
under review, p. 7).
In Australia, the University of Wollongong and the University of Technology Sydney are two
examples of Australian HEI that do not actually have an OER policy as such, but had targeted
strategies towards OER (Marín et al., under review; Stagg et al., 2018).
Few universities in Canada have OER policies. As an example, “Ontario’s University of Windsor
[…] enacted OER policies with a Senate motion in 2016 advocating the use of OER, and the
establishment of an Office of Open Learning that supported the development and use of OER/P”
(Marín et al., under review, p. 8).
A different case is the University of Cape Town in South Africa, where there is no actual OER
policy but its Intellectual Property Policy (2011) “intentionally supports open educational
practice” (Cronin, 2019, p. 7), assigns copyright of the course materials to the author/s and
encourages academics to share them as OER (Cox & Trotter, 2016).
In Spain, 16 out of 34 Spanish universities with open access policies included OER in their
documents. The Open Access policy of the Open University of Catalonia (UOC) is one of the
most comprehensive of all the universities with this policy and refers to OER: the teaching
materials are to be published first under copyright during a specific period, after which they are
published with Creative Commons licenses (UOC, 2010). Another Spanish policy that refers to
OER more concretely is the International University of La Rioja’s Open Education policy (UNIR,
n.d.), published by the Research Institute for Innovation and Technology in Education, which
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specifies the institution's vision towards Open Education (including OER). UNIR encourages
both staff and students to "use, create and publish OE resources and services to enhance the
quality of the student experience, enhance the provision of learning opportunities for all, and
improve teaching practices" (UNIR, n.d.). The strategic priorities of the policy are five: P1)
increase the amount of UNIR resources released as OER, P2) integrate existing OER as
appropriate into UNIR courses, P3) support the creation of OER as academic resources, P4)
develop an open access approach for UNIR research data, and P5) contribute to the awareness
of open education into society and the academic community at large (UNIR, n.d.).
Not being part of the comparative study case mentioned before, the United Kingdom has some
exemplary cases of OER policies in HE. As Campbell states (2019), Glasgow Caledonian
University was the first university in Scotland to approve an interim open education resources
policy in 2015. The University of Edinburgh has published its OER policy (Open.Ed) in 2018,
approved by the University’s Learning and Teaching Committee. As Cronin (2019, pp.7-8)
explains, “Open.Ed includes an institutional OER policy as well as an array of supporting
resources for learning and teaching using OER. The policy is rooted in a vision for OER that
encompasses ‘education, research collections, enlightenment and civic mission'”. The policy
“encourages (University) staff and students to use, create, and publish OERs to enhance the
quality of the student experience, enhance the provision of learning opportunities for all, and
improve teaching practices'' (The University of Edinburgh, 2016, p. 1) and was adapted from
OER policies at the University of Leeds, the University of Greenwich, and Glasgow Caledonian
University.
Another case outside the comparative study case is Morocco. The “OER Morocco declaration”
launched in 2016 by a consortium of universities is a relevant highlight in the country related to
OER policy that provides a combination of guidelines to adopt OE, including OER, in higher
education (Zaatri et al., 2020).
As can be observed from this overview, other studies have discussed examples of OER institutional
policy documents and strategy papers, but these are still scarce and do not cover all HEI within the
countries. In this contribution we will analyse the cases of Germany, Switzerland, and Austria,
highlighting their similarities and differences.
Research Questions and Methodology
Research Questions
This study will answer the following two research questions:
RQ 1: Are documents available that can be used to monitor the relevance of OER in HEI,
especially in public universities in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria?
RQ 2: What are the results and insights of using such documents for monitoring?
To answer our research questions, we checked existing documents in the field of HEI institutional level
and defined an appropriate and fitting research approach to collate and analyse relevant documents in
the countries (Germany, Switzerland, Austria).
Types of Policy Documents Addressed in this Research
In this research, we have focused on single universities in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland and have
identified the following types of relevant (OER) policy documents:
1. Institutional OER policy documents: Policies, which provide concrete rules of conduct
concerning the development and use of OER within an institution and which are usually explicitly
designated policies.
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2. Institutional strategy papers: Policies, which express the decision to address, amongst others,
the topic of OER in the future, such as digitalisation strategies or strategies for future teaching
and learning.
3. Performance agreements: Regulative agreements between higher education institutions and
the respective responsible state ministries that can stipulate the development and use of OER,
thereby leaving the higher education institutions a certain amount of freedom for detailed
control. Performance agreements seem to be of special interest since they are manifestations
of a negotiation process between the state level and the institutional level.
Although we occasionally refer to national policies, their collection was not the explicit aim of the present
work.
Overview of Methodologies within the Multi-Case Study
This contribution is a multi-case study (Mills, Durepos & Wiebe, 2010). To analyse the OER policies in
higher education in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, we needed to select and use different
methodologies. For Germany and Austria, relevant documents were available publicly and could be at
last partly retrieved online, whereas for Switzerland, universities needed to be contacted directly and
were asked concerning relevant documents. Table 1 gives an overview of the different sources and
methodologies.
Table 1. Overview of Methodology for OER document analysis in higher education of Germany,
Switzerland, and Austria
Methodology
Germany
Switzerland
Austria
Focus of collected Data
Digitalisation Strategies
(Status April 2021)
OER relevant documents
(Status April 2021)
Performance Agreements (2019-
2021) (Status April 2021)
Collection of Data
Search for publicly
available digitalisation
strategies of the 131
German universities that
are allowed to confer PhD
degrees and are publicly
funded
Survey amongst 40 HEI
Search for the publicly available
performance agreements of all
22 public universities
Comment on data
coverage
17 were found
60% response rate
All 22 are available
Analysis of Data
Documents were analysed
concerning mentions of
OER.
Documents were described
and ordered.
Documents were analysed
concerning mentions of OER.
The analyses presented here took place in the period from March to July 2021. For reasons of space,
the documents analysed in this paper can be found in a separate document; they are each marked with
an asterisk (Neumann et al., 2022).
For each country, we describe the concrete procedures, the documents examined and the results,
against the background of a brief sketch of the landscape of public universities within the following
chapter.
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Findings
OER Policies in German Higher Education
German HEI Landscape and OER
The German higher education system consists of a total number of 420 institutions that catered to a
total student body of 2.9 million in the winter term 2020/21 (Hochschulrektorenkonferenz, 2021; Statista,
2020). The central characteristic of the system lies in its compartmentalization with each federal state
having sovereignty over the education system (legislation) in the respective state. The system is, for the
overwhelming part, publicly funded. Universities, universities of applied sciences, institutions for
administration and arts and music education that are allowed to confer PhD degrees and are publicly
funded amount to 131 (Hochschulrektorenkonferenz, 2021). These 131 institutions are also considered
in the present analysis since it was not feasible to thoroughly analyse all higher education institutions.
The federal states in Germany control higher education development via higher education development
contracts (“Hochschulentwicklungspläne”), on the basis of which target agreements are reached with
the universities (“Ziel- und Leistungsvereinbarungen”). The agreed goals are incorporated into the
respective higher education development plans of the individual universities. A variable part of the
allocated budgets is dependent on the achievement of quantitative targets like number of enrolled
students or number of graduates (performance-oriented allocation of funds). If the development and
publication of OER are included in the target agreements, this represents a high motivation for the
universities to move in this direction.
OER policies are often related to developments in digitalisation. Here, German higher education is also
very active. Digitalisation has garnered substantial interest over the past years and higher education
institutions have increased the digitalisation within teaching and learning, their institutional
infrastructures and have also made considerable attempts to broaden their strategic outlook on
digitalisation (Gilch et al., 2019). On an applied level, the Hochschulforum Digitalisierung, a joint forum
of CHE Centrum für Hochschulentwicklung, Hochschulrektorenkonferenz and Stifterverband für die
Deutsche Wissenschaft and funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, has emerged
since 2014 as a platform. Addressing higher education practitioners and researchers in educational
technology it fosters dialogue, shares best practices, and overall aims to advance digitalisation within
higher education. Given the decentralized structure of the higher education system, the states are
influential regarding policy and decision making, leading to each state having a different take on
digitalisation as well, which leads to a highly diversified picture (see Arndt et al., 2020).
While the topic of digitalisation has resulted in digitalisation strategies for the individual federal states
(and including higher education) (Bedenlier & Deimann, 2020), the number of specific OER policies has
remained low in Germany, in comparison to other countries (Orr, Neumann, Muuß-Mehrholz, 2017) -
not only within higher education but across all education sectors (Deimann, Neumann & Muuß-
Mehrholz, 2015; Ebner & Schön, 2015; Mu-Mehrholz & Schaumburg, 2014). However, this situation
has begun to change in the past years. Several states now have OER platforms or repositories in place
(e.g. Baden-Württemberg, Lower Saxony, North Rhine Westphalia, Hamburg) or have developed open
educational offerings alongside closed ones. The past years have witnessed major initiatives such as
the project behind OERinfo, providing an overview of OER across different education sectors, materials
and general information related to OER (https://open-educational-resources.de/). Following the
inclusion of the planned development of a national OER strategy in the 2018 government coalition
contract, in 2021, the federal government scheduled official hearings to finalize the strategy in summer
2021 (Bündnis Freie Bildung, 2021), but so far none was published. Empirical research into the actual
use and assumed merits of OER remains scarce (Otto, 2019; 2020). Instructors tentatively see the
merits of using OER, but also express reluctance (Schmidt et al., 2017). Indeed, Germany does not
follow a nationally concerted strategy but rather has disconnected pieces. Outside educational policy,
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major actors often position themselves as part of an “OER movement”, arguing normatively for openness
of education (Kerres, 2019).
Data Collection and Analysis
With a view to the fact that OER tends to be viewed within the context of digitalisation in Germany, the
analysis focused on digitalisation strategies that mention OER (or similar - see below). The data retrieval
of the current strategy papers regarding digitalisation for this contribution occurred in the first half of April
2021. The data retrieval procedure consisted of two steps: Firstly, the full name of the specific higher
education institution attached with the phrase “Digitalisierungsstrategie” (digitalisation strategy) was
searched for in Google. Text files that could be derived from that step were directly taken into the text
corpus for analysis. In case there was no strategy found via the search engine, the second step included
an internal search of the official websites of the specific higher education institution, with only the term
“Digitalisierungsstrategie” inserted into the search field.
Furthermore, the inclusion of findings was defined by the following criteria. The title had to be rather
domain specific and contain one of the following key concepts: “IT” or “elearning” or “Digitalisierung” and
“Strateg*”. Otherwise, it had to be published by the general authority of the chair or presidium of the
institution and had to be found by the search terms. With this procedure, strategy papers of single
departments and units of a university were excluded. In addition, text files that had been collated and
made publicly available via URLs as part of the project “Higher Education Institutions’ Digital Strategies
(HEIDS)” at Technische Universität Hamburg (Knutzen, Ladwig & Arndt, 2019) were integrated into the
corpus and duplicates excluded.
Conclusively, 17 of 131 of the above-described institutions in Germany had a published strategy paper
according to the criteria applied here and that we were able to identify via our search. These were taken
into consideration for the following analysis. We also identified one explicit OER policy (Hochschule
Reutlingen, 2019) which we did not include for reasons of consistency - but which serves as anecdotal
evidence that institutions have started to consider the topic as separate from digitalisation as such.
In the analysis of the institutions’ digitalisation strategies, we distinguished between three forms of
mentioning of OER:
No mention: The terms “Open Education”, “Open Educational Resources”, “OER”, “open
license” or the German equivalents or hints are not mentioned in the performance agreements.
OER is mentioned: OER terms are mentioned, but explicit activity in the field is not described
or specified.
Concrete OER activities are described: These may be initial enquiries and explorations on the
topic in OER pilot projects or more advanced activities such as the development of a HEI-wide
OER repository.
Findings
Our analysis of the 17 retrieved full text strategy papers results in:
5 (29,5%) mention OER and explicitly commit themselves to working towards activities and or
strategies that foster the usage, implementation, and distribution of OER.
7 (41%) contain a mention of the term open educational resources (OER). They address related
concepts such as Open Science, Open Access, Open Data, and rebuilding library
infrastructures with Open-Source software in order to foster open education in general.
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So, 12 of 17 (71%) institutions
2
at least mentioned OER.
5 (29,5%) do not mention OER or related concepts.
In the following list we will illustrate example activities that foster the production and usage of OERs at
the five institutions that addressed OER in more detail:
The Technical University of Braunschweig explicitly addresses “opening up the university
through digitalisation in order to promote social participation, general access to education, and
the training of specialists” (Technische Universität Braunschweig*, 2020, p. 7, own translation).
Firstly, they define “the production and use of freely accessible OER as one example” (p.7) of
achieving the above-mentioned goal. Secondly, they address “the expansion of continuing
education offerings in the sense of Open Science (p. 7, own translation).
The University of Bremen promotes the permanent allocation of “publications (Open Access),
teaching and learning materials (OER) and services and infrastructures for handling scientific
data” (Universität Bremen*, 2018, p. 31, own translation)
The University of Duisburg-Essen “wants to use educational resources to enrich its own
teaching […] and at the same time to make its own teaching and learning content available to a
broader target group in a low-threshold manner” (p. 7). They also aim at fostering disciplinary
networking between OER producers. The UDE is focusing its efforts on implementing an OER
delivery option with interfaces to existing e-learning tools" (Universität Duisburg-Essen*, 2017,
p. 7f., own translation)
The University of Osnabrück clearly identifies three aspects by which the implementation and
usage of OER in higher education in Germany is constantly slowed down: “Teachers consider
third-party material unsuitable […], teachers do not know or cannot find suitable material, or the
material they have found would have to be edited, trimmed, or supplemented and is not
available in a changeable format. […] Teachers are to a large extent uncertain about which
materials may be used under which circumstances […]” (Universität Osnabrück, 2017, p. 51,
own translation) They explicitly strive to participate in the OER movement in three ways: Firstly,
“by making its own tools OER-friendly (being able to publish created materials as OER, being
able to easily search and embed OER materials, […] create, maintain, share, and reuse
materials with low-threshold tools, etc.)”; secondly “through special promotion of the benefits of
releasing teaching materials as OER” and thirdly through funding these developments “by
participating in calls for proposals on projects that foster the creation and use of OER”
(Universität Osnabrück*, 2017, p. 52, own translation)
The University of Freiburg states that an open learning and teaching culture (p.1) is meant to
be built with and around OER in order to enhance life-long learning. This culture is meant to
offer micro-degrees to translate the output of the university into society. Additionally, they
address three levels on which this development is supposed to contribute to basic teaching,
informal continuous learning, and knowledge transfer. As concrete measures they describe a
“continuous education of teachers about the benefits of OER” and the “development of an OER
Policy.” (Universität Freiburg*, 2020, p. 3, own translation).
In the case of the remaining seven digitalisation strategies that mention OER, OER appear to be
understood as part of the broader ideas of openness (Kerres, 2019; Weller, 2014), that is, referring to
related larger discourses in the Open Education and Open Science movements. For example, major
changes in the organizations such as library software development and IT system changes and the
support of Open Access publications, are addressed in the cases of University of Bamberg, University
2
Universität Bamberg (2019), Universität Bielefeld (2020), Technische Universität Braunschweig
(2020), Universität Bremen (2018), Universität Duisburg-Essen (2017), Technische Universität
Bergakademie Freiberg (2019), Universität Freiburg (2020), Fernuniversität Hagen (2020), Technische
Universität Hamburg-Harburg (2017), Universität Osnabrück (2017), Universität Paderborn (2018/19),
Universität Trier (2018).
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of Trier, and the FernUniversität in Hagen. Whilst not specifically relating to actual practices, topics such
as increasing broad use of blended learning formats for informing about OER (University of Paderborn)
or using OER as part of increasing education equality (Technische Universität Bergakademie Freiberg)
are mentioned concerning OER. However, these strategies do not seem to elaborate on more concrete
aspects and dimensions of OER and only touch upon them in passing.
OER Policies in Switzerland Higher Education
Switzerland’s HEI Landscape and OER
The Swiss higher education landscape offers a wide range of study opportunities at all levels
(Bachelor's, Master's, Doctor of Philosophy) and is characterised by diversity: ten cantonal universities,
two Federal Institutes of Technology (ETH Zurich/EPF Lausanne), the Federal Institute for Vocational
Education and Training, the Federal Institute of Sport, nine cantonal or intercantonal universities of
applied sciences, 17 universities of teacher education and six university-related accredited institutions
according to the Higher Education Funding and Coordination Act (Swissuniversities HEdA, 2021). The
universities of applied sciences, which were clustered in regionally organised universities of applied
sciences under public law, have been accredited in the last two years, with the result that these
universities no longer appear under their umbrella organisation. One example is the Zurich Universities
of Applied Sciences ZFH, which consists of the Zurich University of the Arts, Zurich University of Applied
Sciences, Zurich University of Teacher Education, and the School of Business Zurich. They are now
increasingly operating independently rather than under the ZFH label. Another example is the University
of Applied Sciences of Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW), which unites nine universities of applied
sciences across several cantons under one organisational umbrella. Some of these sub-universities
have a high degree of autonomy. In addition to the universities under public law, there are more than 30
other universities (Schmidt, 2008) or university-related accredited institutions, but these were not
considered for this analysis. This complex situation poses a particular challenge for the research
questions to be examined in this article.
For Swiss higher education institutions, there is no published white paper on OER that could be used
as a set of arguments at the strategic level (Reimer & Edinger, 2014). However, there are efforts at a
national level to strengthen OER in higher education in Switzerland, such as the government funding
scheme of swissuniversities (swissuniversities, 2021), the national umbrella organisation of the Swiss
HEI. In previous years, projects with funding from swissuniversities were able to establish a national
conference on OER, the Open Learning Days (openlearningdays.ch, 2021), which will be continued in
the forthcoming years. Just recently, at the beginning of 2021, a major collaborative project was started
under the P8 funding programme of swissuniversities (swissuniversities digital skills, 2021) with a project
duration until 2024. The project “Swiss Digital Skills Academy: Mastering Open Educational Resources
(OERs) and Open Educational Platforms (OEPs)” is a common project of 13 Swiss HEI and covers
topics like “teach the teachers”, “community building”, or “accessibility of OER”.
Data Collection and Analysis
In many cases, policy documents are published at Swiss universities’ homepages. However, when we
started our document analysis, we found that many of these strategic documents were quite brief and
went into less detail on issues (quite often "OER'' was not specially mentioned). As it was not possible
to conduct a document analysis for Switzerland, we decided to choose a different method. Through
personal networks and web searches, we listed contacts of all 40 HEI in Switzerland. The six university-
related accredited institutions mentioned in the Higher Education Funding and Coordination Act were
not considered for the survey. Furthermore, the universities mentioned in the clusters of universities of
applied sciences are counted as one HEI in our survey, as well as in the Higher Education Funding and
Coordination Act (swissuniversities HEdA, 2021).
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To acquire the data, the first contact was made through an unstructured e-mail in German and English
language. We inquired after the status of OER at the respective university, the existence of OER policy
documents and if OER was part of a digitalisation strategy, general strategy document, or a performance
agreement of the university. In many cases, further details were obtained by telephone. We also
discovered that very different organisational units are responsible for OER policy documents or the
promotion of OER at Swiss universities. They were affiliated with either (a) didactics- and e-learning
centres, teaching and innovation centres, or blended learning centres, (b) the university administration,
centres for higher education development, or the rectorate, or (c) media centres or the university library.
For our inquiry into OER policies at HEI in Switzerland, we aimed to cover all 40 Swiss HEIs.
Table 2: Swiss Type of HEI and Response Rate
Type of HEI
Number
of HEIs
Responses
Response
rate (%)
Cantonal universities
Universities of teacher education
Cantonal/inter-cantonal univ. of applied sciences
Federal Institutes
Total
10
17
9
4
40
7
10
5
2
24
70
59
56
50
60
As Table 2 shows, the overall response rate to our e-mail inquiry of sixty percent was moderate, but can
be regarded as representative, as we reached the major universities of the Swiss university landscape.
We received responses from all larger language areas of Switzerland, namely German, French, and
Italian, with a stronger response from the German speaking Swiss HEI.
Findings
The results of the ad hoc survey in April-May 2021 revealed an insufficient uptake of OER policy
development, but also revealed a reassuring outlook. OER activities of the Swiss HEI are invisible, even
though in a 2019 online survey, 27% of participants from universities, universities of teacher education
and 33% of participants from universities of applied sciences rated the topic OER as "strategically
relevant” (Gutknecht, Reimer & Lüthi, 2020, p. 14). Furthermore, in the survey, 40% (universities) to
56% (universities of applied sciences) stated that OER activities have already been introduced at their
universities. Participants mentioned terms such as strategy, agenda setting and policy, central point of
contact or coordination (Gutknecht, Reimer & Lüthi, 2020, p. 14).
The majority of HEIs of all types, which have responded to the ad hoc survey, have neither developed
an OER policy nor is the topic of OER directly mentioned in the strategic documents - which is in line
with the previous survey. However, the survey also found that there are many universities, universities
of applied science and universities of teacher education that have embedded the open idea into their
institution, e.g. by an open access policy, such as the University of Zurich, University of Bern, University
of Zurich, ETH Zurich, EPF Lausanne, University of Neuchâtel, Lucerne University of Applied Sciences
and Arts, University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland (see examples of Open
Access Policies of Swiss HEI in Neumann et al.*, 2022).
The following higher education institutions have explicitly mentioned an OER policy or the topic of OER
in their strategic documents:
University of Basel has OER integrated in their strategic document "Digitalisation of Teaching".
Open Education and OER are mentioned and placed in the teaching context. Activities are
described such as: introducing an OER Policy to provide more security for the lecturers in the
areas of copyright, data protection or creation of a Code of conduct for interactivities in public
or scientific forums and networks (Universität Basel*, 2018, p. 4).
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Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW) encourages the creation and distribution of
teaching and learning materials as Open Educational Resources. ZHAW staff involved in
teaching benefit from a "culture of sharing” (ZHAW*, 2018, p. 4). ZHAW has had an OER policy
since January 2020. It describes its position on OER as follows (excerpt): "The ZHAW
recommends the use of Open Educational Resources (OER) and to adapt them for the own
target group to exploit didactic and content-related synergies and new perspectives. OER
enables a constructive approach to the restrictions of copyright law, especially when using
digital media. Likewise, ZHAW promotes the production of OER to actively participate in the
“culture of sharing” (ZHAW*, 2020, own translation). Also, there is a strong commitment to
respect the copyrights of third parties followed by recommendations on how to use Creative
Commons Licenses. ZHAW supports its staff and students in the use, creation, publishing, and
licensing of OER (ZHAW*, 2020).
Bern University of Teacher Education (PHBern): OER is referred to in the performance
agreement for the area of further training. Bern University Teacher Education is committed to
select, develop, and evaluate OER and distribute them via their homepage to the beneficiaries.
In addition, advice and guidance is offered in digital media. This offer is not specified in more
detail. Further strategic issues are not mentioned (PHBern*, 2017, p. 5).
There is a variety of activities on OER at each type of university, grassroots initiatives such as bottom-
up activities (e.g., ETHx MOOCs or OER support websites of HSLU and ZHAW - see examples of OER
activities of Swiss HEI in the Annex) as well as national HEI initiatives (e.g., SwissMOOCServices, the
OpenLearningDays, or a national P8-OER project see examples in the Annex), which are supported by
several funding schemes of swissuniversities. This finding is supported by the survey of Gutknecht,
Reimers, & Lüthi (2020). Our inquiry shows, however, that OER is not yet anchored in the strategic
documents of universities in Switzerland. Only very few universities have an OER policy or address the
topic of OER in a strategy paper.
OER Policies in Austrian Higher Education
Austrian HEI Landscape and OER
In Austria, most students are at universities that are publicly funded and can be attended for
comparatively low tuition fees - especially when compared internationally - if one has the formal
admission requirements. In addition to 22 public universities, Austria has 16 private universities. There
are also 21 universities of applied sciences and 14 University Colleges of Teacher Education in Austria,
which are responsible for the training of a significant number of teachers (Federal Ministry of Education,
Science and Research, 2021).
There has been a steadily growing OER movement for about 15 years with numerous projects and
initiatives in Austria. OER are already part of government strategies, commissioning of feasibility studies
(Schön et al., 2017) and support for OER projects (Orr, Rimini & van Damme 2015; Schön & Ebner,
2020). In 2016, the term "OER" was mentioned for the first time in a strategy paper of the Austrian
government, the "Digital Roadmap" (Bundeskanzleramt und Bundesministerium für Wissenschaft,
Forschung und Wirtschaft, 2016). The Austrian government as well has recognised the importance of
the topic for higher education institutions and in 2016, together with the Forum Neue Medien in der
Lehre Austria and other stakeholders, issued a recommendation for the integration of OER at Austrian
HEIs (Ebner et al., 2016a, English paper Ebner et al., 2016b). In 2017, a concept for the certification of
HEIs was published (Ebner et al., 2017). In Austria, OER are mentioned as well in at least two national
strategies for higher education. In the "National Strategy for the Social Dimension in Higher Education"
(Bundesministerium für Wissenschaft, Forschung und Wirtschaft) OER is mentioned as a means for
broad access and integration in studies (Bundesministerium für Wissenschaft, Forschung und
Wirtschaft, 2017, p. 26). Additionally, there are two strategic publications within the national education
report concerning the area of digital education. Both reports emphasise the importance of OER for both
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secondary and tertiary education (Baumgartner et al., 2016; Brandhofer et al., 2019). OER can also be
found in the "Overall Austrian University Development Plan", the technical-strategic planning instrument
on which the further development and strategic orientation of the 22 public universities in Austria is
based and which forms the basis of the performance agreements with the individual universities. In the
system goal "Improving the quality and efficiency of university teaching", OER is explicitly mentioned as
an action until 2024: "Use of Open Educational Resources (OER) to increase self-learning ability as well
as ubiquitous unrestricted access to knowledge" (Bundesministerium für Bildung, Wissenschaft und
Forschung, 2020, p. 40, own translation).
The Austrian Federal Ministry has co-financed two important projects in relation to Austrian public
universities in the last five years, namely the project "Open Education Austria" (2016-2018) and the
current follow-up project "Open Education Austria Advanced" (2021-2024). In the project, the
infrastructures for open educational resources of Austrian higher education institutions and universities
are established and further developed. Project partners in the first implementation were the University
of Vienna, the University of Graz, the University of Innsbruck, and the Graz University of Technology; in
the current implementation, fnma and öibf (Vienna) are also involved as smaller partners. The project
includes the implementation of OERhub.at, where all metadata of Austrian OER from universities or
Austrian OER repositories of universities can be found in the future. OER repositories at the partners’
universities and corresponding interfaces are also being developed and implemented (Ladurner et al.,
2020), as well as OER MOOCs and training courses offered. OER certification, which was already
outlined in a white paper in 2017 (Ebner et al., 2017), is now also being designed, participatively
developed and tested until 2024. One criterion for the OER certificate for Austrian HEI is that they
publicly/strategically commit to open educational resources. Therefore, the development of documents
for OER recommendations and policies is supported within the project (Schön et al., 2021).
Data Collection and Analysis
If governments wish to shape their relations with public HEI, they can either enact laws and regulations
or conclude agreements. Individual agreements are possible as well, typically so-called regular
“performance agreements” (Kogler, 2017, p. 27) are used for this. Performance Agreements are seen
as the central design and steering instrument for public HEI in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland
(Kogler, 2017). Performance agreements at public HEIs are formally signed contracts between the HEI
and a state institution, and in Austria this is done between the university and the ministry of education,
science and research. In contrast to Switzerland, where the performance agreements are very short,
the Austrian performance agreements include a long list of plans, measures, and activities. Although
they are not the only possible sources for OER activities or plans in public HEI, they are relevant and as
well a resource that is easy to find due to the public nature of those public strategies in Austria. We
therefore research and analyse OER policies and strategies for OER (see Open Education Policy Hub,
2021):
National OER policies or strategies for higher education mentioning OER.
OER Policies of public universities
Performance agreements of public universities in relation to OER
In the analysis of the universities' performance agreements, we distinguish between three forms of
mention of OER, as also applied in the analysis of the German case: no mention, OER is mentioned
and Concrete OER activities are described. Additionally, we will give an insight into the situation of the
role of OER in private universities, universities of applied sciences and University Colleges of Teacher
Education in Austria.
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Findings
All performance agreements (2019-2021) between the Austrian public universities and the ministry were
analysed concerning the mention of OER. A detailed analysis is already published in a German
conference proceeding (Edelsbrunner, Ebner & Schön, 2021). Our analysis results in:
9 (41%) public universities
3
described concrete OER activities within their performance
agreements
3 (14%) more only referred to OER or related concepts such as open education in a vague
manner, meaning more than half of the public universities have concrete or vague references
towards OER.
So, 12 of 22 (55%) institutions at least mentioned OER.
10 (45%) universities did not mention OER within their performance agreements.
All four partners of the current “Open Education Austria Advanced” project are among the universities
which present more intense activities and goals concerning OER. However, there are also universities
outside the consortium with explicit OER activities.
For example, the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna announced an
OER policy (Universität für Bodenkultur & BMBWF*, 2019, p. 56).
The Medical University of Vienna commits to an "analysis of the Open Education Resources
options for MedUni Vienna and further improvement of the offers in the teaching and learning
area" as well as an examination of the participation in OER projects. (Medizinische Universität
Wien & BMBWF*, 2019, p. 32)
The TU Vienna's performance agreement explicitly refers to OER and states it as an
implementation goal (Technische Universität Wien & BMBWF*, 2018, p. 29).
Aside from the analysis of performance agreements, two of the universities already have explicit OER
policies, as announced in their performance agreements: the University of Graz since March 2020
(Universität Graz, 2020); the TU Graz published its OER policy in November 2020 (Technische
Universität Graz, 2020). At least two additional universities are currently discussing their own OER
policies, so that we expect that the availability of such documents clearly dedicated to OER will grow as
well.
Conclusion and Further Perspectives
The concept of "OER policy" is fuzzy and must be sharpened in the future. The understanding of this
contribution, which distinguishes between "policy documents" and "policy initiative" represents a good
starting position for a deeper understanding of the different phenomena related to policy making. This
paper has also argued that we should often look beyond pure OER policies and initiatives, as OER is
often part of policies on digitalisation or on open principles. The analyses of the situation at the public
universities in Germany, Switzerland and Austria based on these two premises have shown that it can
be helpful and useful to search specifically for documents that (could) address the topic of OER or OER
policy within a certain governmental level.
3
These are: University of Vienna, University of Graz, Medical University of Graz, Medical University of
Vienna, TU Vienna, Medical University of Graz, Graz University of Technology (TU Graz), University of
Innsbruck, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna
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Concerning research question 1 (RQ 1), on the availability of documents that can be used to monitor
the OER relevance in HEI, suitable types of documents were found. They were all publicly available in
the case of Austria, partly publicly available in Germany, but we needed our own investigations and a
survey amongst the universities in Switzerland to identify and reach their relevant documents.
Concerning the potential insights (RQ 2), it seems possible to describe the status of OER in HEI in
relatively good quality. However, how these results can be used for further, also national comparisons
or benchmark systems, requires further discussion.
Limitations
Certain limitations to this study arise from the methodological approach used and the restrictions it
entails, as well as the sample under consideration. These are also challenges for the possibilities of
monitoring OER developments. With the three countries having a strong publicly funded higher
education system, we opted to focus on these institutions and leave out private ones. In further
iterations, this would need to be mended to gain a more comprehensive picture. However, the study in
this form presents a first attempt to make OER visible in HEIs and can provide the grounds for further
analysis.
Whilst we chose countries for our analysis that are relatively comparable in regard to their HE systems
being predominantly publicly funded and being heterogeneous in their blend of universities and
universities of applied science, the analysed documents vary considerably. In the case of the German
HEIs, the digitalisation strategies are institutional documents that proclaim a vision and intention but that
are not binding in a way that the performance agreements are for the Austrian case. In Switzerland, the
documents were retrieved through a survey constituting another focus. Thus, we can provide a glimpse
into how the three different countries approach OER in policy documents from different angles, but we
cannot directly compare them due to the different nature of the documents, e.g., how great their effect
and binding nature is. In further research, a closer alignment of document type across countries is aimed
for.
In the cases of Germany and Switzerland, we note how time-consuming the search is, so that the display
of results will also be incomplete because of missing documents. For the case of Germany, it needs to
be stated that we searched for the digitalisation strategies as diligently and attentively as possible. Still,
we need to acknowledge that we might have missed strategic papers.
In the case of a special topic such as OER, it could also be that there are independent contributions
from the universities; in Austria there are already two OER policies from universities. Having resorted -
for reasons of consistency - to only focus on explicitly labelled strategies, we have not considered
mission statements, general development plans etc. that might focus on OER. Practically, we know that
the OER practice and practices of the universities are not always written down in strategies or described
as OER activities. It could as well be, that they are described but not labelled as OER: for example, in
Austria MOOCs on the platform iMooX.at are mostly open, but always CC-licensed, but the term OER
itself is seldom used. Additionally, policy or strategy documents still must be translated into activities, so
they can only be viewed as a proxy for actual activities. Looking at the number of policy documents
therefore cannot provide more than a very rough indication of the actual situation. The mere existence
of a policy document does not mean that its contents are implemented and lived” in the respective
institution concerned.
To sum up, policy documents make a good starting point for identifying policy initiatives. Nevertheless,
their importance for the evaluation of policy initiatives should not be overestimated. Anecdotal evidence
gathered in the course of this work suggests that quite often policy initiatives are being launched without
releasing a formal strategy or policy first. Also, the policy concept seems to be spread differently in
different countries, which must be considered in the assessment. In-depth continuation of our research,
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for example by collecting data on existing related implementation activities, some projects, and services
in addition to the policy documents would be worthy.
Outlook: OER World Map as Potential System to Monitor OER Policy Document Development?
Finally, we would like to give an outlook on the OER World Map as a potential system to monitor OER
policy document development. All the documents mentioned in this article were registered with the OER
World Map as part of research.
Figure 3. Number of OER-Policies documents and subtypes within Higher Education Institutions in
Germany, Austria, and Switzerland according to the OER World Map
It seems difficult to quantitatively compare the policies found in each of the three countries, as the
approaches to the data collection were different and, moreover, different emphases were set.
Nevertheless figure 3, which shows the total numbers of HEI policy documents within the region,
indicates that Austria has a significantly higher penetration of policies at institutional level compared to
Germany and Switzerland. Now, we can only speculate about the reasons for this. One possible
explanation could be that (according to the OER World Map) the number of national policy documents
is also higher than in Germany and Switzerland, which could have supported the trend towards adopting
institutional policies. Another explanation could be that the topic of OER was taken up earlier in Austria’s
higher education system than in Germany and Switzerland and therefore could develop further than with
its neighbours.
As a side effect of our research, it turned out that the OER World Map is a helpful tool for collecting data.
The categories provided by the map turned out to allow capturing the collected data in an adequate way.
Several already existing categories have not been used in this research and provide a chance for deeper
insights. Another strength of the platform is that it facilitates the connection of policy documents to other
activities, which could be used to evaluate the efficiency of a policy in the future. Nevertheless, the
research shows that data collection must be done systematically, as otherwise the data on the map will
be far from complete. This research helped to improve data availability on the OER World Map
significantly (+400% in Germany, +300% in Switzerland).
We have shown that there is still a way to go, as not only the existing basic scientific concepts need to
be sharpened and differentiated. Also, sustainable monitoring of the growing adoption of OER requires
a stable human, technical and methodological infrastructure, which needs to be conceptualised and
implemented.
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Acknowledgments
This contribution was partly developed in the context of the co-funded project “Open Education Austria
Advanced” (2021-2024 by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research). Thereby,
all project partners - i.e., University of Vienna, University of Graz, TU Graz, University of Innsbruck, the
Forum Neue Medien in der Lehre Austria (fnma) and the Austrian Institute for Vocational Training
Research (öibf) - want to contribute to make more materials and infrastructures available that support
the systematic use and publication of OER by Austrian universities.
The analysis of both the worldwide overview of national and institutional OER policies and the German
Higher Education Institution OER Policies was partly organized in the context of the project Digital
educational architectures Open learning (educational) resources in disseminated learning
infrastructures (EduArc), which was funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research,
Grant Number 16DHB2129.
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About the Authors
Jan Neumann (Corresponding author); jan.neumann@anisation.org; OER Policy Hub,
Germany, https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4879-7752
Sandra Schön; sandra.schoen@fnma.at; Forum Neue Medien Austria (fnma), Austria;
https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0267-5215
Svenja Bedenlier; svenja.bedenlier@ili.fau.de; Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-
Nürnberg, Germany; https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7940-5232
Martin Ebner; martin.ebner@tugraz.at; Graz University of Technology, Austria;
https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5789-5296
Sarah Edelsbrunner; sarah.edelsbrunner@tugraz.at; Graz University of Technology, Austria;
https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4951-4101
Nicole Krüger; nicole.krueger@zhaw.ch; Züricher Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaften
(ZHAW), Switzerland; https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2120-7073
Gabriela Lüthi-Esposito; gabriela.luethi@zhaw.ch; Züricher Hochschule für Angewandte
Wissenschaften (ZHAW), Switzerland; https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7655-2149
Victoria I. Marín, victoria.marin@udl.cat; University of Lleida, Spain; https://orcid.org/0000-
0002-4673-6190
Dominic Orr; dominic.orr@giz.de; University of Nova Gorica & GIZ, Germany;
https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7675-9329
Laura N. Peters; laura.peters@uol.de; Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg, Germany;
https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6788-2584
Ricarda T.D. Reimer, ricarda.Reimer@fhnw.ch; Fachhochschule Nordwestschweiz (FHNW),
Switzerland; https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6325-9816
Olaf Zawacki-Richter, olaf.zawacki.richter@uol.de; Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg,
Germany; https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1482-8303
Suggested citation:
Neumann, J., Schön, S., Bedenlier, S., Ebner, M., Edelsbrunner, S., Krüger, N., Lüthi-Esposito, G.,
Marín, V. I., Orr, D., Peters, L. N., Reimer, R. T. D., & Zawacki-Richter, O. (2022). Approaches to Monitor
and Evaluate OER Policies in Higher Education - Tracing Developments in Germany, Austria, and
Switzerland. Asian Journal of Distance Education, 17(1), 125-147.
https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.6508522
... In Bezug auf die strategische Implementierung von OER an den Hochschulen in Österreich ist zunächst zu erwähnen, dass zwei weitere OER-Strategien von Hochschulen verö entlicht wurden: inzwischen haben drei ö entliche Universitäten und eine öffentliche Fachhochschule ein solches Dokument verö entlicht . Die Initiative "Open Education Austria Advanced" (2021-2024) bleibt weiterhin wich-Original erschienen in: Edelsbrunner, S., Ebner, M., Schön, S. (2022) Strategien zu offenen Bildungsressourcen an österreichischen Hochschulen. In: Digitale Lehre nachhaltig gestalten, Standl B. (ed.), tig für die österreichweiten Entwicklungen: Für 2022 ist der ö entliche Zugang für den sogenannten OERhub geplant, bei dem man OER anhand von Metadaten in den angeschlossenen OER-Repositorien österreichischer Hochschulen durchsuchen kann . ...
... Daher wurde für die weitere Analyse diese Aktivität noch einmal eigens ausgewiesen (d-e). Diese Vorgehensweise hat sich in einer vergleichenden Untersuchung (Neumann et al., 2022) mit Deutschland und der Schweiz als nicht übertragbar gezeigt: In beiden Ländern sind die Leistungsvereinbarungen nicht oder nur zum Teil ö entlich zugänglich bzw. nicht so umfangreich, dass darin einzelne Maßnahmen genannt werden. ...
... In Deutschland wurden daher Di-gitalisierungsstrategien recherchiert und analysiert, in der Schweiz eine Befragung durchgeführt (s. Neumann et al., 2022). ...
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Digitalisierung nimmt im Kontext hochschulischer Bildungsprozesse eine zunehmend zentrale Rolle ein und dies sowohl in der eigentlichen Lehrpraxis als auch in bildungspolitischen Strategien. Um herauszuarbeiten, in welchem Verhältnis die beiden Komplexe Bildung und Digitalisierung zueinander stehen, werden mittels einer qualitativen Inhaltsanalyse die Digitalisierungsstrategien von zwölf Bundesländern untersucht. Die Ergebnisse zeigen, dass beide Komplexe anhand der Aspekte Qualität und Effizienz zusammengedacht werden, aber gleichzeitig der Einsatz digitaler Werkzeuge und Settings dem Bildungsgedanken untergeordnet ist.
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Der Beitrag problematisiert die aktuelle Diskussion über open educational resources und fragt nach ihrem Beitrag zur weiteren Öffnung von Bildung («open education»). Angenommen wird dabei regelmässig, dass verschiedene Initiativen zu einer Öffnung im Kontext von Bildung in einer Kaskade wirken und sich zu einer Openness-Bewegung zusammenführen lassen. Der Beitrag stellt die Gegenthese vor, dass die verschiedenen Initiativen sich auf unterschiedliche Problemhorizonte beziehen und nur schwer unter eine Klammer zu bringen sind. Denn das Ziel eines breiteren Zugangs zu Bildung lässt sich sowohl mit offenen wie auch geschlossenen Bildungsressourcen erreichen, die wiederum in offenen wie auch geschlossenen informationellen Ökosystemen betrieben werden können. Es erscheint damit zielführend, die Relation der verschiedenen Initiativen von Öffnung als mehrdimensionales Gefüge von eher lose gekoppelten Initiativen zu betrachten, um aufzuzeigen, wie bestimmte Initiativen zu anderen beitragen (oder nicht). Die Konstruktion einer Openness-Bewegung wird dagegen in ihrer normativen Setzung hinterfragt, da sie mit Schliessungstendenzen einhergeht, die das Gegenteil von Öffnung und Offenheit bewirkt.
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Open Educational Resources (OER) sind ein prominenter Gegenstand der Bildungsdiskussion. OER wird das Potenzial zugeschrieben, die Entwicklung partizipativer und kollaborativer Lernszenarien zu ermöglichen und auf einer grundlegenderen Ebene offene Bildung und Bildungsgerechtigkeit zu fördern und zu unterstützen. Dennoch ist die Verbreitung von OER in der Bildung bisher eher episodisch denn systematisch. Der Beitrag versucht auf Basis der Einstellungsforschung eine empirische Annäherung an die Rolle von Einstellung bei der Nutzung und Verbreitung von OER. Auf Grundlage eines umfragebasierten explorativen Ansatzes wurde versucht, die determinierenden Einstellungskomponenten bildungsbereichsübergreifend abzubilden. Die Ergebnisse zeigen, dass Einstellungen nicht das zentrale Hindernis für die Nutzung von OER sind, sondern die mangelnde Verbreitung. Bezüglich der Verbreitung lässt sich konstatieren, dass sowohl Intention als auch Verhalten nur innerhalb einer breiteren OER-Gemeinschaft existieren, die allerdings starke Emotionen und Überzeugungen mit den Kernideen und Mehrwerten von OER verbindet. Diesem Argument folgend ist der häufig geforderte Abbau struktureller Barrieren ein notwendiger, aber keineswegs hinreichender Grund, um die Nutzung und Verbreitung von OER zu erhöhen. Es ist zu empfehlen, OER nicht als ein normatives Element einer Openness-Bewegung zu konzipieren, sondern als eine (Teil-)Antwort auf die Herausforderung des Lehrens und Lernens in der digitalen Welt zu begreifen und zu fördern.
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The concept of open educational resources (OER) is becoming increasingly prominent in education. However, research circles around defining OER, content and forms of OER, technological features of OER, and the importance of the issue or lack thereof. Vital aspects such as the notion of the adoption of OER by educational practitioners remain underdeveloped. In order to shed light on the question of how to adopt OER in education, the article presents findings of a meta-study which critically reviewed 25 state-funded OER projects located in Germany. All projects aimed to anchor OER across educational areas, such as school, higher, continuing, and vocational education. The meta-analysis disclosed a mixed bag of results. Although interest and willingness to deal with OER can be confirmed, reservation is rooted in the complexity of the topic and especially the legal concerns. However, the findings demonstrate that OER can by no means be ignored in the context of teaching and learning in a digital world. Integrating OER as an aspect of existing educational training should, therefore, be encouraged. Concerning future design recommendations, to conflate OER with other pressing issues and to simultaneously emphasise its added value explicitly is a promising approach. Moreover, establishing central contact points in educational institutions to accompany and monitor actors on their path to OER appears to be necessary. Notwithstanding the concrete measures, any strategy must operate persistently at both levels, institutional and practical, embracing all relevant stakeholders.