Open Educational Resources are one of the levers for implementing Open Education, but also one of the paths towards multiplicity and plasticity of formats/structuring of learning paths, learning methods and teaching practices.
This presentation discusses the challenges of including OER in pedagogical and documentary frameworks that support learning and teaching strategies. It demonstrates the benefits of bringing together diverse professional communities in pedagogy and documentation, knowing and defining each community’s areas of expertise to ensure dynamic complementarity. This is most effective when the approaches of the various professions come together within the framework of a shared strategic vision.
This presentation brings together a panel of speakers from the various professional communities in French higher education and research, who will demonstrate, through concrete and illustrative examples, how national policies and institutional strategies for OER benefit from bringing together dynamic actors from complementary professional and inter-professional networks within a common and shared vision. An ongoing dialogue between the various professional communities, which places the learner at the heart of the teaching arrangements, promotes the design and implementation of living pedagogical models, marked by the diversity and richness of approaches offered to each institution and to each teacher and trainer. Such an approach also facilitates the multiplicity and flexibility of learning practices for students and citizens who access these educational resources produced and made accessible by the services of public higher education institutions.
The paper opens with a presentation by a national expert on OER, of the French Open Science policy framework that includes OER, and the policy related to data, algorithms and source code that touches on the same topics. UNESCO, in its 2019 recommendation on OER, urges states to develop supportive policies at national as well as institutional levels, and to " develop strategies to enable the use and adaptation of OER in support of high quality, inclusive education and lifelong learning for all". France, a CONOSC member country, has had a National Open Science Plan (PNSO) since 2018 and, since 2021, a national framework on public data, algorithms and source codes.
It is in this general context that the French public higher education system is embarking on a policy of OER development that is based on already established realities. Higher education is characterised by the principle and practice of academic freedom: it is through the actions of its institutions and by drawing on the dynamism of professional associations and educational and documentary networks that French public higher education produces policies and strategies. It is these same actors who translate these strategies into actions and (good) practices that aim to include the design, use and discoverability of OER, among other resources, in the pedagogical and learning arrangements of higher education and lifelong learning.
A representative of the public professional communities in higher education dedicated to the development of digital learning presents how, since the launch in the early 2000s, the various French OER repositories aligned with disciplinary fields and even more so since their integration into L’Université Numérique. French higher education institutions have implemented many pilot projects revolving around the use of OER and how it enhances the students’ learning experience. With the onset of the pandemic, this hybridisation of courses has dramatically increased and reached beyond early adopters to become more or less mainstream. In addition, OER are now routinely used in curriculum development and are key enablers to move forward on new approaches around competencies and micro-credentialing. L’Université Numérique federates French higher education and universities around the creation and use of OER in French in several disciplinary fields: economics, management, engineering, healthcare, the humanities and sports. Together with ICDE and the French Ministry for Higher Education, Research & Innovation, it leads the activities of the Francophone working group on OER, within the framework of UNESCO’s dynamic coalition for OER. Its various projects and partnerships involve many French-speaking African nations, such as the Republic of Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Madagascar, Mali, Senegal and Togo. L’Université Numérique also has partnerships with major players in the anglophone world: ICDE, MERLOT and the OER Foundation and its Learning in the Digital Age courses.
The session then focuses on the fundamental role played by libraries in the open science and open knowledge ecosystem. A representative of the national professional communities of academic and research libraries presents the fields of expertise and know-how of academic and research libraries and Learning Centres. For the libraries, the action undertaken by the teams at the institutional level is to be matched with their active communities and professional networks at the national level in France, at the European level and at the international level. Academic and research libraries have shown strong leadership with Open Access, and they have been very active in advancing Open Science in the last two decades. Academic libraries and Learning Centres are a key player in equally supporting Open Education and particularly OER, and leading action in areas close to their core work. Librarians are known as effective and visionary partners and leaders, as open information and knowledge managers, facilitators, and disseminators thanks to their expertise in metadata and discovery services. Libraries enable, support and enhance creation, access, re-use, adaptation, sharing and redistribution of educational resources. Their collaborative philosophy and practices identify Libraries as major partners for institutional teaching and learning and research support departments. They also play an essential role as skilled and qualified educators and trainers in information literacy, and facilitate pedagogical innovation.
In France, the national consortium Couperin.org (Consortium unifié des établissements universitaires et de recherche pour l’accès aux publications numériques), a non-profit association financed by the fees of member institutions and subsidised by the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, provides a vision, expertise and active contribution on OER, focusing on the evolution of economic models for electronic resources in the landscape of educational publishing and, more generally, of open science. Indeed, Couperin.org aims to build and develop a national network of competences and exchanges in the field of electronic documentation, notably concerning acquisition policies, collection development plans, information systems, publishers’ invoicing models, access ergonomics, and usage statistics. Couperin.org evaluates, negotiates and organises the purchase of digital documentary products at the best price for the benefit of its members, with a particular focus on the evolution of business models in the publishing field. A representative of Couperin.org presented the way in which the consortium works directly on the provision of free educational and research resources, and invests in the emergence of new models through the provision of free and open access e-textbooks.
The last part of the presentation is dedicated to an exchange and discussion between the panel of speakers and the audience. This talk is open to all, policy makers, OER professionals, teachers, engineers, librarians, students, curious citizens, without prerequisites. It will be conducted in English, and will be accompanied by a bilingual French/English handout that will provide useful resources for further exploration.
Authors are asked to reply below with links to presentation materials, videos, and other relevant resources, as well as posting prompts for discussion.
Conference participants can reply below with questions, comments for the presenters or to share related resources. And please add anything relevant from this session as an annotation to a specific part of the UNESCO OER Recommendation.