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Another model for Open Education?

May 24th, 2011 by Graham Attwell

Following on yesterday’s blog post on MOOCs as a possible model for Open Education, here is another initiative taking a different approach. The Open Education Quality Initiative (OPAL) describes itself as “a flagship initiative being implemented by a group of organizations including UNESCO, EFQUEL and ICDE and includes representatives of leading institutions from within higher education and adult education.”

The OPAL website, inviting participation in an on-line consultative group says: “The initiative believes that although OER are high on the agenda of social and inclusion policies, their use in higher education and adult education has not reached a critical threshold. The focus has been placed on building access to digital content, while the challenge now is to support educational practices and to promote quality and innovation in teaching and learning.”

This theme is taken up by Ulf Daniel Ehlers in the introductory video above.  Ulf Daniel calls for a transformation in the approach to Open Educational Resources moving the focus in what he calls stage two of development from content to practice and goes on to outline the idea of an Open Educational Architecture.

Whilst seeming to be saying the right thing, this seems to me more of a policy lobby, than anything really impacting on practice. And the idea of OERs remains within the context of exiting institutions, rather than opening up education to a wider participant group. None the less, the focus on what Open Education might mean, and how educational institutions could engage with Open Education is a welcome addition to the debate.

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