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Development of an Austrian OER Certification for Higher Education Institutions and Their Employees


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The “Forum Neue Medien in der Lehre Austria” (fnma) is responsible for the development and introduction of a procedure to attest open educational resources (OER) competences and OER activities in higher education. The aim is to develop and implement a convincing and recognized procedure that succeeds in sustainably promoting and making visible OER activities and OER competences at Austria’s higher education institutions. Within this paper, the development of the Austrian OER certification approach, in other words its framework, will be addressed. A working plan and first results will be presented; among others, the competence framework and its compatibility with existing frameworks.
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Development of an Austrian OER
Certification for Higher Education
Institutions and Their Employees
Sandra Schön, Martin Ebner, Elfriede Berger,
Gerhard Brandhofer, Sarah Edelsbrunner, Ortrun Gröblinger,
Claudia Hackl, Tanja Jadin, Michael Kopp, Kristina Neuböck,
Judith Proinger, Alexander Schmölz and
Hans-Peter Steinbacher
The “Forum Neue Medien in der Lehre Austria” (fnma) is responsible for
the development and introduction of a procedure to attest open educational
resources (OER) competences and OER activities in higher education. The
© The Author(s) 2023
D. Otto et al. (eds.), Distributed Learning Ecosystems,
S. Schön (*) · M. Ebner · E. Berger · G. Brandhofer · O. Gröblinger · T. Jadin ·
M. Kopp · H.-P. Steinbacher
Forum Neue Medien in der Lehre Austria (fnma), Graz, Austria
M. Ebner
E. Berger
G. Brandhofer
O. Gröblinger
T. Jadin
M. Kopp
162 S. Schön et al.
aim is to develop and implement a convincing and recognized procedure that
succeeds in sustainably promoting and making visible OER activities and
OER competences at Austria’s higher education institutions. Within this paper,
the development of the Austrian OER certification approach, in other words
its framework, will be addressed. A working plan and first results will be pre-
sented; among others, the competence framework and its compatibility with
existing frameworks.
H.-P Steinbacher
M. Ebner · S. Edelsbrunner
Educational Technologies, TU Graz, Graz, Austria
E. Berger
Institute for Consultancy, E-Learning and E-Didactics, University College for Agrarian
and Environmental Pedagogy, Vienna, Austria
G. Brandhofer
Department Media Education, PH Niederösterreich, Baden, Austria
O. Gröblinger
Department Digital Media and Learning Technologies, University of Innsbruck,
Innsbruck, Austria
C. Hackl
Open Education Austria Advanced Center for Teaching and Learning, University of
Vienna, Vienna, Austria
T. Jadin
University of Applied Science Upper Austria, Wels, Austria
M. Kopp · K. Neuböck
Center for Digital Teaching and Learning, University of Graz, Graz, Austria
J. Proinger · A. Schmölz
Austrian Institute for Research On Vocational Education and Training, Vienna, Austria
A. Schmölz
A. Schmölz
Department of Education, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria
H.-P. Steinbacher
Learning Center of FH Kufstein Tirol Bildungs GmbH, Kufstein, Austria
163Development of an Austrian OER Certification …
1 Introduction
The European Commission is promoting open educational resources (OER), with
the aim of “opening up education” and improving the teaching of digital skills
in schools and universities (European Commission, 2013). Some define and
understand OER more generally as openly available resources – such as MOOCs
(Stracke et al., 2019). According to the UNESCO recommendation (2019),
openly licensed learning and teaching resources use so-called “open licences”:
These licences ease the restrictions of copyright law by allowing everyone to
modify, adjust, re-publish, or re-use materials with a few requirements such as
attributing the original creator and describing changes. Within the last few years,
the Creative Commons (CC) licences have become the dominant licence set in the
field of educational resources, so that more and more people use and know the
open licences CC BY, CC BY-SA, and CC 0.
International organisations such as UNESCO, OECD, and the European Com-
mission, as well as national initiatives and strategy papers recommend OER
development: OER are seen as a base for a more inclusive, open, and sustainable
education and world (Orr et al., 2015; UNESCO, 2019). Higher education institu-
tions (HEI) share such ambitions and add some more pragmatic aspects such as
OER as solution for copyright issues in teaching, OER providing new teaching
opportunities, or OER simply supporting lifelong learning and public relations
(Schaffert, 2010; Ebner et al., 2016d).
The topic of OER in HEI is multifaceted, as OER touch many disciplines and
different people and responsibilities - e. g., e-learning units, centres for university
didactics, central IT services, or university libraries. They are matters of continu-
ing education, of IT infrastructure, of strategies, and copyright issues. “Educa-
tional skills”, embedded in the EU’s open science policy (Open Science Skills
Working Group Report, 2017) and its eight ambitions, are a key factor in the fur-
ther development of the Austrian higher education sector. To facilitate open sci-
ence and open education practices, it is recommended that all scientists in Europe
be equipped with the appropriate skills.
To support the development of OER in Austria’s HEI, the project consortium
“Open Education Austria Advanced” (OEAA) operates in close cooperation with
e-learning centres, central IT services, and libraries of partner universities to gen-
erate synergies between open education and open science for the establishment
of open practices. Besides the OERhub, a platform under development offering
access to OER from Austrian higher education and the development of local insti-
tutional OER repositories, the OEAA project team develops and implements the
164 S. Schön et al.
processes of a certification procedure to give OER activities of universities and
OER competences more visibility: an OER certification for universities and their
staff, i.e., lecturers and instructional designers. The Austrian OER certification
project can, therefore, be seen as an accompanying measure to the establishment
of a “distributed learning ecosystem” in Austrian higher education (see Otto &
Kerres in this book).
2 Aim and Approach of the Article
The aim of this article is to describe the project of developing an OER certifica-
tion for HEI and their staff to support similar projects to receive impulses and
insights. The article is, thus, based on project documentation (partly published,
see Schön et al. 2021a, Schön et al. 2021b; Kopp et al., 2021) and the authors’
development of a framework OER certification in Austria. The text is structured
as follows: Firstly, we describe the background of the development of OER
certification and secondly, the project phases. Then we describe the criteria for
OER certification as well as insights into our analysis concerning Austrian stake-
holders, OER certification, and certification in HEI. Finally, we will present our
(preliminary) OER certificate titles, the development of our OER competence
framework, and its compatibility to existing frameworks. We would like to point
out that the project is in development and that there may still be changes to the
preliminary results.
3 Background of the OER Certification,
the Implementation Phases, and Criteria
3.1 OER in Austrian HEI
There have been several contributions describing the development of OER in
Austria (Schön & Ebner, 2020; Schön et al., 2017); we focus here on the status
of OER in relation to higher education. In general, Austria is a German-speak-
ing country of about 8.8 million inhabitants. Most students are enrolled at HEI
that are publicly funded and can be attended for comparatively low tuition fees
- especially in international comparison - if one meets the formal admission
requirements. Austria counts 22 public universities, 16 private universities, 21
universities of applied sciences, and 14 universities for teacher education.
165Development of an Austrian OER Certification …
Like the worldwide OER movement, individuals and groups started to develop
and work on the idea of freely available and usable learning content in the first
decade of the 2000s. A first Austrian milestone was the coordination of an
international conference on open educational content in 2007 as the final activ-
ity of the first European project focused on OER (; led by Salzburg
). In general, Austria belongs to the countries where OER production or
use are part of government policy (Orr et al., 2015, p. 129). OER have been men-
tioned in several Austrian national strategy papers in recent years. One example
is the “General Austrian University Development Plan” (own translation), which
is the planning instrument for the further development and strategic orientation
of the 22 public universities (Bundesministerium für Bildung, Wissenschaft und
Forschung, 2020, p. 40, cf. Schön et al., 2021c).
An essential institution for the exchange on the topic of OER in the Austrian
higher education sector is the “Forum Neue Medien in der Lehre Austria” (fnma
for short, see, especially their special interest group (SIG) for
OER. fnma is a non-profit organisation and the Austrian network for the develop-
ment and implementation of strategies and recommendations in the field of digi-
tal learning and teaching in HEI. Nearly all Austrian higher education institutions
are members of the association led by an executive board of six experts. These
are elected by delegates of the member universities. The executive board of the
non-profit organisation is supported by an executive director and several part-
time employees. As the only Austrian inter-university interest group for the use
of digital media in teaching in HE, fnma is also an important contact point for the
Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research and the public. Recommen-
dations by the fnma special interest groups on various topics are also relevant for
political decisions. The first meeting of the special interest group on OER took
place in 2015.2
All interested members of partner universities can participate in
the fnma SIGs. Two joint contributions have been published: In one, recommen-
dations for the introduction of OER in higher education are given (Ebner et al.,
2016a, 2016b). In another, a certification of competences of university staff as
well as of the universities’ activities is proposed (Ebner et al., 2017; Ebner, 2018).
Representatives of the Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy and
1 Salzburg Research Forschungsgesellschaft mbH is a non-profit research organisation
owned by the State of Salzburg, see
166 S. Schön et al.
the Association of Austrian Librarians were also active contributors to these pub-
The Austrian Ministry of Education, Science and Research funded a first pro-
ject on OER infrastructure at Austrian universities, called “Open Education Aus-
tria”, with four partner universities in 2017. In May 2017, fnma organised the first
Austrian OER festival for HEI at the University of Graz in cooperation with the
Open Education Austria project. In 2020, the project “Open Education Austria
Advanced” started to further develop OER infrastructures, such as OER reposito-
ries, OER training, services for lecturers for OER creation, and the, an
Austrian one-stop shop for OER in higher education, hosted and developed by the
University of Vienna.
Numerous smaller initiatives or OER projects at Austrian universities show
that OER are becoming increasingly important and attracting. OER are more
and more perceived as a field of action by Austrian universities, which is also
reflected in the results of an analysis of the current performance agreements
(valid for the period from 2019 to 2021) of the 22 public Austrian universities
(Edelsbrunner, Ebner & Schön, 2021): Nine out of 22 performance agreements
(41 percent) already describe concrete OER activities, three others at least men-
tion OER or related concepts.
3.2 The OER Certification Implementation Project
as Part of Open Education Austria Advanced
“Open Education Austria Advanced”3
started in April 2020 and will last for four
years. The University of Vienna, the University of Graz, Graz University of Tech-
nology (TU Graz), and the University of Innsbruck work together with fnma
and öibf4
(a non-profit research institute in the field of professional research)
as smaller partners work together to expand their services for the development
of OER in HEI. One work task of “Open Education Austria Advanced” is the
implementation of an OER certification. It is seen as a service for the universi-
ties to intensify recommended OER activities while simultaneously evaluating
these activities independently and making them visible. As project partner of
167Development of an Austrian OER Certification …
Fig. 1 The project phases of the Austrian OER certification implementation for HEI.
(Source: Own illustration)
the OEAA project, fnma, together with öibf and TU Graz, is responsible for the
development of the OER certification development and implementation.
3.3 Project Aims and Phases
In cooperation with all Austrian stakeholders, the necessary procedures and pro-
cesses have been set up and implemented since March 2020 and will be finished
by February 2024. Latest by the end of the project period, all Austrian HEI should
be able to apply for an OER certification for their staff as well as for the HEI itself.
The aims of developing a certification procedure for HEI and their staff are to pro-
mote and to make visible the offer of continuing education on OER, the OER com-
petence development of staff, and the OER development and OER activities of a
HEI. Therefore, the project attempts to develop a convincing and recognised pro-
cedure that is not unnecessarily complex and does not need extensive documen-
tation work, but rather a comprehensible framework and objective processes for
HEI. The development phases of the OER certification are shown in Fig. 1.
For the entire duration of the project, it is planned to develop and implement
the OER certification in close cooperation with the active members of the SIG
OER, i.e., in regular meetings for development and discussion, and to make the
development comprehensible for the public and present it in a national and inter-
national environment. Additionally, thinking beyond the project timeframe, we
are also developing a business model that enables the long-term operation of a
certification body beyond April 2024.
3.4 Criteria for the OER Certification
Regarding the criteria for certification - probably the aspect with which many
would expect the project to start - the starting point was the mentioned publica-
tion by the SIG OER, “Concept of OER certification at Austrian universities”
168 S. Schön et al.
Fig. 2 The criteria for Austrian OER certification. (Source: Own illustration)
(Ebner et al., 2017; Ebner, 2018). The concept for OER certification outlines the
certification of both university staff and HEI and recommends the creation of a
national certification body. To this end, the SIG OER has developed criteria that
promote useful measures for HEI for building OER infrastructure and compe-
tences, while being comparatively easy to track. As shown in Fig. 2, the criteria
for HEI are an existing offer of continuing education on OER for their staff and a
public and strategic commitment to OER, an OER repository (or access to a joint
solution), and a certain number of certified OER individuals. HEI can apply for
an OER certification of members of their staff if there is proof of their participa-
tion in an OER training with an effort of one credit according to the European
credit transfer system (ECTS) (about 25 h) and three published OER per person.
(Ebner et al., 2017; Ebner, 2018).
It is not planned to validate existing competences of OER as part of the crite-
ria, but proof of participation at a training with a certain extent (25 h) is required.
In Austrian continuing education for university staff, participation is usually cer-
tified, but a final exam or validation of competences is rather rare. For an OER
certification, the individual staff member must prove that they participated in a
relevant comprehensive training measure and have published three OER.
As part of the OEAA project, fnma has been commissioned to establish the
national OER certification body and processes for certification with the support
of its project partners. At the beginning, in March 2020, there were only two HEI
that already (potentially) met the requirements for one criterion: The University
of Vienna (Marksteiner, 2008) as well as the Graz University of Technology have
repositories where OER can be published and archived (Ladurner et al., 2020).
169Development of an Austrian OER Certification …
Fig. 3 Relevant issues for the OER certification implementation within the project time
frame (2020–2024). (Source: Own illustration)
Other criteria, such as a public commitment to OER or an OER policy were not
met by Austrian HEI at the project start. Nevertheless, as we know from the SIG
OER meetings, several HEI—including universities of applied science and uni-
versity colleges for teacher education—already offer continuing education on
OER for their lecturers. For the most part, however, the training does not reach
the extent of 25 h. This description of the status quo at the start of the project
shows that the criteria for OER certification at universities are indeed challeng-
ing: No university met more than one criterion.
3.5 The OER Certification Implementation
At the start of the project, it was again scrutinized whether the criteria (Ebner
et al., 2017; Ebner, 2018) were still well chosen. However, it was decided that the
validation of competences could be part of future revisions. To better describe the
prerequisites of continuing education on OER, it was decided that a competence
framework was an important measure. For other criteria, too, it seemed necessary
to define more precise descriptions and prerequisites, for example, what exactly is
meant by “published OER”.
So, focusing on the OER certificate, as shown in Fig. 3, the situation at project
start was as follows: We will build on the existing criteria, but need to specify
them; it is necessary to determine the title of the certificate, how we will call the
certificate holders, and the design of the certificates (from a logo to the possi-
ble technical implementation, for example, as an open badge), and to develop the
process. A validation of informally acquired OER competences of individuals
or a systematic extension of the certification to other target groups (such as stu-
dents), educational sectors, or countries is explicitly not planned in the project.
170 S. Schön et al.
4 Related Analyses: OER Certification, Certification
in HEI
The project included an internal stakeholder analysis to involve all relevant institu-
tions and people in the development of the certification, to use their potential as
multipliers or to be able to consider their needs and concerns at an early stage.
Besides this, we searched for other OER certifications available at (Austrian) HEI.
4.1 Existing OER Certifications
Starting from our national context, we searched and collected examples of OER
certifications for lecturers and adult educators worldwide. Among the examples
we found (Schön et al., 2021b) were MOOCs where participants receive a cer-
tificate upon finishing, such as the first course on OER in German (Arnold et al.,
2015), small OER training offers and, perhaps most prominently, the Creative
Commons certification (Creative Commons, 2021). We were unable to find an
OER certificate for HEI or other organisations that certifies an institution that is
particularly concerned with OER and demonstrates activities according to defined
criteria. However, we did find a few procedures that seem to be inspiring, such
as a contribution describing a competence framework or activities of universities
regarding “Opening Up Education” (Inamorato dos Santos et al., 2016) or the
OERu network, where it is possible to participate for a fee. The network is pri-
marily concerned with supporting and disseminating MOOCs that provide OER.
It is, therefore, not a certification process in the strict sense (OERu, 2021). The
collection has shown us that there are—and should be—strong efforts to make the
requirements and processes transparent, especially in OER certification.
4.2 Certification of and Within Austrian HEI
An internal report compiled how Austrian HEIs are currently certified. The start-
ing point was the institutions’ self-presentations. A large number of international
certificates were found, e.g., for quality management and environmental protec-
tion, but also Austrian certificates for family-friendliness. Obtaining a certifica-
tion is usually time-consuming for HEI; in addition to concrete activities, visits by
commissions and extensive audits are necessary. We also looked more closely at
how continuing education is organised in Austria for HEI members, particularly
in the OER-related area of continuing education in technology-enhanced teaching.
171Development of an Austrian OER Certification …
The universities of applied sciences offer continuing education throughout Austria;
moreover, regional cooperation for continuing education has been established
among different HEI in Styria (Kopp et al., 2016). However, there is neither a com-
mon continuing education system in the field of technology-enhanced learning or
higher education didactics for HEI in Austria, nor a structure where continuing
education certificates are mutually recognised. The implementation of an OER cer-
tificate for individuals must, therefore, take place in several different organisations.
5 The OER Competence Framework and Its
Compatibility with Other Frameworks
5.1 The Austrian OER Competence Framework
for Individuals in HEI
In the first months of the project, a competence framework was created to estab-
lish a set of competences relevant for the certification. A competence framework
is a model that lists the competences of individuals required to perform specific
tasks within an organisation or sector (Marrelli et al., 2005). It includes a qualifica-
tion description for the certificate holders, which was created based on a thorough
review and comparison of existing OER frameworks and developed and agreed
on by the fnma SIG OER and other stakeholders. Practically all OER courses and
frameworks include open licenses, how to find OER, how to create OER, and how
to remix OER (see, for example, the OLCOS tutorials from 2007: Córcoles et al.,
2007). We, therefore, used existing OER competence frameworks for orientation
(see below). Our wording of a “qualification description” and “learning objectives”
is based on the specifications of the national qualification framework for Austria
(NQR-Gesetz, 2016). In several discussion rounds, we adjusted the general qualifi-
cation description and the learning objectives (see Fig. 4).
5.2 Comparison with Other Existing OER Competence
Before we asked the SIG OER for final approval of the competence framework,
we looked at how well our version is compatible with other competence frame-
works, especially with well-known national and international competence frame-
works. During our work, we discovered the following competence frameworks
that deal with OER specifically:
172 S. Schön et al.
Fig. 4 The competence framework of the Austrian OER certificate for individuals.
(Source: Own illustration.)
The Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (2016) published an
“Open Educational Resources Competency Framework OER”. This framework
has five “fields of competences”, which are “becoming familiar with OER”,
“searching for OER”, “using OER”, “creating OER”, and “sharing OER”. For
each field of competences, the authors describe abilities and capabilities. For
example, the competence field “searching for OER” lists the ability “Select
appropriate OER”, which is described with the capabilities “1. Know the quality
criteria of an OER, 2. Know the validation mechanisms of the quality of OER.
3. Identify some of the key data to correctly attribute an OER, 4. Recognize a
license and know how to determine whether a resource has one” (p. 4f). A com-
parison of the learning objectives of the Austrian draft with this OER competence
framework does not show any deviations, rather, the OER competence framework
appears to be helpful in specifying capabilities.
Nascimbeni and Burgos (2016) developed the idea of an “open educator” in
HEI and defined him/her in the following way: “An Open Educator choses to
use open approaches, when possible and appropriate, with the aim to remove all
unnecessary barriers to learning. He/she works through an open online identity
and relies on online social networking to enrich and implement his/her work,
understanding that collaboration bears a responsibility towards the work of oth-
ers” (p. 4). The “open educator” is described by different characteristics and
mentions four facets of open education, namely design, content, teaching, and
assessment. OER are in the “content” facet (p. 9). Such an “OER expert” is char-
acterised as follows:
173Development of an Austrian OER Certification …
Re-shares resources that he/she has reused openly through social media and
OER repositories.
Uses resources created by others.
Searches for OER through social media and repositories.
Shares and promotes resources produced by his/her students.
Shares links and resources beyond the classroom, through an open online
In comparison, the characteristics in the Austrian OER competence framework
are more concretely oriented towards the correct development and use of OER
than towards characteristics of lecturers (“open educator”).
Ehlers & Bonaudo (2020) have also proposed a competence framework for
“open educators” that consists of two components: competences related to OER
and competences related to “Open Pedagogies” (p. 73ff). Regarding OER, they
distinguish four competences:
Use open licences
Search for OER
Create, revise, and remix OER
Share OER
Ehlers & Bonaudo (2020) have, thus, merged the characteristics of the open educator
from Nascimbeni and Burgos (2016) with concrete requirements for OER compe-
In summary, a congruence of existing OER competence frameworks and the
Austrian OER competence framework is obvious.
5.3 Comparison with Other National Competence
Frameworks for Teachers and Educators in HEI
There are several other competence frameworks that are interesting to compare to
the OER framework for the Austrian and international context. In the following,
we list some that are of special interest from an Austrian perspective:
The research centre of the European Commission JRC has developed a com-
petence framework for digital competences of teachers, the DigCompEdu
competence framework (see Redecker & Punie, 2017, 2019). Teachers should
174 S. Schön et al.
have certain competences regarding the use and creation of digital resources
(Redecker & Punie, 2019, p. 15). This section is not exclusively about OER,
but OER are explicitly mentioned, including the use of open licences. There
are also further aspects of “digital resources” that play an important role for
teachers in general, such as data protection. The description in DigCom-
pEdu is, therefore, somewhat broader overall and does not only refer to OER,
though it does mention them explicitly.
The same is true for the Austrian framework for digital competences for
teachers. In the Digi.kompP model, “creating digital materials” is described
in “Category C”, which is “designing, modifying and publishing materials for
teaching; use of works and copyright” (Onlinecampus Virtuelle PH, 2019).
Thus, practically all competences of the OER certificate are also included in
the Austrian competence framework of Digi.kompP for teachers, but it does
not specialise on OER.
The German competence framework for digital competences for university teach-
ers does not mention OER specifically at any point but includes the creation of
learning resources and, as such, aspects of open data and copyright (Eichhorn &
Tillmann, 2018, Digitale Kompetenz bei Hochschullehrenden, n. d.).
The “Digital Skills for Library Staff and Researchers Working Group” of the
European Librarians’ Association LIBER (Ligue des Bibliothèques Europée-
nnes de Recherche - Association of European Research Libraries) has defined
skills and abilities needed for Open Science. OER are also named in the
“Open Science Skills Visualisation” several times as a partial aspect of Open
Science (McCaffrey et al., 2020; cf. Stracke, 2020).
Competences in the field of Open Education are also embedded in one of the
eight ambitions of the EU’s Open Science policy as part of educational skills
for researchers (O’Carroll et al., 2017). According to this policy, these skills
in the context of training and lifelong learning enable researchers to perform
a change in mind-set and culture, while also modernising the higher education
sector. OER competences belong to the set of appropriate skills for facilitating
Open Science, alongside open practices such as open access, open data, open
peer review, and citizen science.
To sum up, there is intentionally congruence with other competence frameworks
for teachers and researchers at universities, which makes it possible to use the
OER certifications framework for continuing education programmes or valida-
tion schemes in the fields of digital competences of teachers and Open Science;
nationally as well internationally.
175Development of an Austrian OER Certification …
6 The Certificate, Its Title, and the Further
Development and Continuous Training Offers
in the Project
6.1 Consensus-Based Decision on Titles
While the criteria for certification have already been described, work is currently
underway to outline the processes and the design of a suitable digital environ-
ment. To increase the impact and incentives for the certificate, it is planned to
meet as many standards as possible in the development and, thus, to create com-
patibility with national and international initiatives and certificates, among other
things by considering the quality standards of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für
Hochschuldidaktik (2020). Whether and how the certificate will also be awarded
in the form of virtual “seals” or open badges is still open.
To determine the title of the certificate for individuals in HEI and the HEI
themselves, a consensus-based online survey was conducted among the SIG OER
and OEAA project colleagues. A long list of different options from “OER expert”
to “OER master” was presented and respondents were asked how much they disa-
gree with these options. The point of this survey was not to determine which title
receives the highest approval, but which title receives the least opposition. The
result – the title with the least opposition – was “OER practitioner”. For HEI, the
title with the least opposition is “Certified OER university”. Both were approved
as the titles for future certificate holders.
6.2 Development of Procedures
During the current phase, the concrete procedures and materials will be devel-
oped together with the pilot partners. The framework conditions include the fact
that we need an independent advisory board that decides, for example, whether
a continuing education program meets the requirements. So far, we have only
set a competence framework and the requirement of one ECTS and would
now like to see which and how pilot partners can present documents that also
convince the advisory board. In practical terms, it is also a question of who must
provide what data or information; for this, we need data protection declarations,
176 S. Schön et al.
6.3 Additional Support of Continuing Education on IER
in HEI: Materials, a MOOC, and a Train-The-Trainer
OER certification can only be one building block in an OER landscape. Closely
linked to this is the creation of suitable continuing education offers for teachers
and other staff and the appropriate qualification of trainers. In cooperation with
other Austrian universities, the University of Graz will revise the existing online
course on open educational resources on the Austrian MOOC platform iMooX.
at. This platform is itself dedicated to OER (Kopp & Ebner, 2015; Ebner et al.,
2016c). Since 2015, courses on OER have been offered on the platform, and a
special MOOC for OER in HEI was implemented in 2017 and has been offered
three times since (see; Ebner et al., 2016c).
Within the Open Education Austria Advanced project, the MOOC in ques-
tion will be re-developed and produced according to the competence framework
described above. The MOOC and its contents - organised in four units with an esti-
mated 16 videos (available on, materials such as an OER canvas,
and quizzes - can be integrated partly into an OER training at a university. Partici-
pants who successfully complete the quizzes for each unit will receive a certificate
of attendance and open badges for MOOC participation (Kopp et al., 2021).
In practice, in the last few years, several universities have organised their
internal OER trainings for teachers and staff with a first half-day workshop, the
MOOC participation as an online phase, and another half-day workshop to clarify
open issues. HEI can, thus, verify that a person took part in continuing educa-
tion to the required extent of one ETCS (25 working hours). Besides a self-study
MOOC, an additional offer is planned to meet the requirement of one ECTS (25
working hours) of continuing education as defined in the certificate criterion. For
this special course, the participants will use a specially implemented course space
at the MOOC platform with assignments, feedback options, and peer reviews,
which will require the time and effort needed for a certification.
HEI offering continuing education on OER are free to choose their lecturers
and the precise contents. However, to have enough qualified people in Austria
who can be hired by HEI, it is planned to offer a train-the-trainer course for the
first time in 2023.
177Development of an Austrian OER Certification …
7 Developments Regarding the Criteria of the OER
Certification and Outlook
In Sect. 3.1, we described that at the beginning of the project in April 2020,
only some HEI fulfilled at least one of the OER certification criteria. Progress
has already been made here (as of November 2021): After the project launch in
March 2020, two universities have already published OER policies: The Univer-
sity of Graz was the first Austrian university to have its own OER policy by a
decision of the rectorate in March 2020. It was followed by TU Graz in Novem-
ber 2020. At least two more universities will follow in 2021. Some recommen-
dations have been published for universities that plan to develop OER policies
(Ebner et al., 2020).
Concerning the OER repositories, two OEAA partner universities will imple-
ment their OER repositories in the project and other Austrian HEI are engaged
in their own developments or potential joint solutions. OER repositories at Aus-
trian HEI are currently available at the University of Vienna (Marksteiner, 2008)
and at the TU Graz (Ladurner et al., 2020). At the University of Innsbruck and
the University of Graz, such a development is part of the Open Education Austria
Advanced initiative.
Although continuing education on OER is offered at several HEI, an OER
training with an effort of about 25 h is still more extensive than currently avail-
able offers, compared with training in the field of technology-enhanced learning.
It is not easy to convince the HEI management and the potential participants of
this, and it is, thus, not quite easy to reach the number of individuals needed for
certification (5–40 individuals per HEI).
To sum up, the development of an OER certification procedure for HEI in
Austria is a balancing act: it is not just a simple matter of assessing and rewarding
existing developments, but also of actively stimulating and promoting them. The
selected criteria are, indeed, ambitious and cannot be completely fulfilled by a
HEI during the project period without further adaptations or without difficulties.
The certification criteria can also be seen as a measure to put the focus on impor-
tant activities, for example, an OER repository that can be used by all Austrian
178 S. Schön et al.
8 Aim for International Cooperation
With our activities and results,5
we are hoping to promote the Austrian develop-
ment of OER certification for HEI in the long term, possibly also with transfers to
other educational sectors, to create an international network and, thus, to make an
essential contribution to good teaching and open education.
Acknowledgements The developments presented and this contribution were realised
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Schön, Sandra (2023): Open Educational Resources in Austria: Experiences, challenges and successes. Presentation for Goethe Institut, Jakarta, 6.4.23
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