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11 November 2014
GÉANT Association proposes pilot European Open Educational Resource portal service

The GÉANT Association has demonstrated its engagement in pushing forward open education (OE) standards and services by sending a positioning paper to the European Commission (EC) in which it proposes to develop a pilot European Open Educational Resource (OER) portal service. In the paper, the GÉANT Association also offers its knowledge and expertise to progress the objectives of the EC’s open education policy. The paper has been prepared by the GÉANT Association's member NRENs (National Research and Education Networks) and was approved by the NREN Policy Committee and the General Assembly of the association.

The proposed pilot service will be a prototype one-stop-shop (broker) for national learning resource organisations. The portal will enable structured searching and re-use of content on a European level. The initiative is complementary to the European Commission’s Open Education Europa portal and, once developed to an appropriate level, can be made accessible via that portal.

NRENs ready to push forward

Many of the European NRENs are active in open education activities and have made a significant contribution to the deployment and availability of OE digital technology and content. To encourage the wider take-up and use of OE resources, the position paper states that more consideration needs to be given to how technology can support educational institutions in offering OE facilities in a financially sustainable manner, and to developing methods and practices which enable learners, teachers and institutions to best engage with OE.

The NRENs assert that they are well qualified to contribute to these steps, in collaboration with the EC, educational institutions and other relevant players. Beyond providing and supporting the technology that delivers OER and MOOCs (Massive Online Open Courses) to users, NRENs also express their wish to engage with educators and participate in the production of openly licensed content (course development) especially in the area of ICT and networking, for the benefit of teachers and the next generation of the knowledge economy. In return, they ask educators to encourage students by creating appropriate policies, for example to participate in flipped classes, use Creative Commons licences and so on, to better use the NREN services directly or indirectly offered to them.

Pioneering access federations and AAI

To reap all the potential benefits of OER, state-of the art authentication and authorisation infrastructures (AAI) are necessary. The NRENs and the GÉANT Association are pioneers in developing AAI. The NREN community is keen to engage with the EC in developing its open education policy to take greater account of the potential of AAI, and in continuing to work with the education community to deliver the benefits of AAI. The European NRENs support the EC’s policy of EU-level cooperation to push the adoption of open learning, and are ready to engage in discussion and activity aimed at realising reform.

More information about OER

You can find out more about OER and download the positioning paper via the OER activity page.