Inamorato dos Santos, A. Practical Guidelines on Open Education for Academics: Modernising Higher Education via Open Educational Practices (based on the OpenEdu Framework), EUR 29672 EN, Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg, 2019
ISBN 978-92-76-00194-2, doi:10.2760/55923, JRC115663
These guidelines are for the academic staff of higher education institutions, with the goal of helping them move towards the use of open educational practices (OEP) in order to widen participation in education. The guidelines are meant to provide an understanding of each of the ten dimensions of open education based on the OpenEdu Framework (JRC, 2016), and to show how academics can start using OEP to prompt inclusion and innovation as important values, starting from their day-to-day activities such as teaching, knowledge creation and research.
“Open education is a way of carrying out education, often using digital technologies. Its aim is to widen access and participation to everyone by removing barriers and making learning accessible, abundant, and customisable for all. It offers multiple ways of teaching and learning, building and sharing knowledge. It also provides a variety of access routes to formal and non-formal education, and connects the two”
Open education is about a set of practices that together can lead higher education to be more inclusive, in line with societal changes, and also to be more innovative in terms of making the most effective use of teaching and educational resources, research and students’ services. These practices are often referred to as ‘open educational practices’, and in the OpenEdu Framework they are presented within the context of the ten dimensions of open education:
Access: Widening Participation in Education
Content: Open Educational Resources (OER)
Pedagogy: Open Educational Practices (OEP)
Recognition: Open Learning
Collaboration: Involving Different Stakeholders
Research: Open Science, Open Access and Open Data
Strategy: Integrating Open Education Practices into Core Activities
Technology: Free Open Source Software and Open Document Standards
Quality: Objectives, Standards and Procedures
Leadership: Top-Down and Bottom-Up
These ten dimensions interrelate to one another, and together contribute towards opening up education in a holistic way. However, it is not always obvious how to ‘do and support open education’, starting from the academic’s own practice. These guidelines are meant to provide an understanding of each of the ten dimensions of open education, and to show how academics can start using open educational practices to prompt inclusion and innovation as important values, starting from their day-to-day activities such as teaching, knowledge creation and research.
Open educational practices: a mindset shift towards openness
Open educational practices can lead to more inclusive education systems, but this requires a shift in mindset. Each individual academic can be more open in the way they produce and share knowledge, in the way they teach and assess students, and in collaborating with others. And the same is true of higher education institutions. By shifting their mindset and practices towards open educational practices, academics can start changing the landscape of higher education by prompting changes in their own institutions.
These guidelines can help the academic to streamline their open educational practices and enable more profound changes in the European higher education system, such as the more rapid and effective recognition of open learning, which in turn can enhance the opportunities
for employment for all learners. When higher education institutions move towards a set of shared practices, opportunities for collaboration become more evident.
How to use the guidelines
Each of the 10 dimensions of open education is individually presented. There is a rationale for each dimension, followed by a reflection upon the benefits and challenges that each dimension brings to stakeholders at four levels: academics, learners, institutions and society. Then, some statements for reflection for each dimension are presented (e.g. “I take the initiative to …” or “My institution supports….”), in which the academic is invited to reply accordingly. This is followed by suggestions about how each statement can be put into practice. The statements for reflection have been designed following a progression model: they are numbered according to the most basic practices (1) to slightly more complex ones (2, 3, 4…).
The explanations are designed so as to trigger reflection on how academics can change their own practice while at the same time becoming empowered to lead changes at an institutional level, by being an advocate of open educational practices in their own institution and in their