In keeping with the National Forum’s longstanding commitment to supporting open education principles, practices and policies in Irish higher education, a new publication series has been announced focused on open educational resources (OER) and open educational practices (OEP). The widespread interest in the National Forum Open Licensing Toolkit, published in June 2019, and accompanying webinar, ‘Introduction to Open Educational Resources (OER) & Open Licensing’, prompted the National Forum to establish a series of guides and associated webinars focused on the topic of OER/OEP. The Toolkit has already been viewed over 850 times and the recording of the associated webinar has been viewed over 1,300 times. Staff and students have used the Open Licensing Toolkit to support them in creating OER of all kinds – images, infographics, rubrics, assignments, guides, blogs, textbooks, module materials, entire modules, and publications of varying lengths.
The second guide in the series has now been published. This guide, How to Choose an Open Licence, follows a related webinar, ‘Creating and Sharing Open Educational Resources (OER)’, which took place on 28 May 2020 and focused on the value of OER for all who learn and teach. The webinar, facilitated by Catherine Cronin, invited guest speakers Gearóid O Súilleabháin (Cork Institute of Technology), Orna Farrell (Dublin City University) and Iain MacLaren (National University of Ireland, Galway) to describe how their teams approached openly licensing resources created in previous National Forum-funded projects – TEL Tools, #Openteach and AllAboard, respectively – as well as what they have learned about creating, sharing and using OER.
Ensuring the alignment of open education principles and practices in Irish higher education with EU policy and emerging international practice was one of the key priorities for success identified in the National Forum’s Roadmap for Enhancement in a Digital World, which has guided the building of digital capacity across the sector since 2015. The use of open licences (typically Creative Commons licences) facilitates the reuse of teaching and learning resources by others, avoiding the usual limitations of copyright restrictions. An open licence accompanying a resource, quite simply, communicates how others may adapt and reuse that open resource, or OER, in their own context.
All teaching and learning resources produced by the National Forum, or any of its funded projects or initiatives, follow open licencing principles and practices. This new series of guides and accompanying webinars aims to ensure good practice in the area of OER/OEP is shared and understood. Sharing the resources we create openly, as OER, can help all in Irish higher education and beyond to maximise the use and value of teaching and learning resources being created across the sector – and can support collaboration, partnership and building digital capabilities in the process.
As we prepare to continue many elements of remote and online teaching in the coming academic year, the value of OER is clear. Much can be gained by adapting and reusing existing OER, by openly sharing the resources we ourselves create, and by teachers and learners co-creating OER together.
You can access all of the National Forum’s resources related to OER and open education at www.teachingandlearning.ie/open.