University of Graz (AUSTRIA)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2022 Proceedings
Publication year: 2022
Pages: 2659-2668
ISBN: 978-84-09-45476-1
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2022.0665
Conference name: 15th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 7-9 November, 2022
Location: Seville, Spain
Open Educational Resources (OER) have quite a long history by now. After all, the first definition of OER by the UNESCO dates back to 2002. In the past two decades, this definition has not only been refined but numerous measures have also been taken to popularize OER among academia. In particular, the advantages of OER such as legally safe use, availability to the general public, or higher visibility of one's teaching performance have been emphasized. By this, it was possible to interest numerous teachers in the use and production of OER.

As a response to this development, Higher Education Institutions (HEI) have started the process to deal with OER on a strategic level, with the aim of establishing a structural basis for OER. In March 2020, the University of Graz became the first Austrian university to publish an OER policy, thus making a public commitment to OER. The strategic establishment of OER is also reflected in other official documents of the university: In the current development plan (2022-2027), the University of Graz is committed to actively promoting the provision of OER. In the current performance agreement (2022-2024), concrete implementation steps are defined, such as the establishment of an OER training programme or the provision of an OER repository.

Because of this groundwork already undertaken by the University of Graz, it serves as an example within this paper to illustrate the strategic process of establishing and popularizing OER. A part of this description includes the project “Open Education Austria Advanced”, a project of Austrian universities for the joint development of a national infrastructure for OER. Based on this foundation, the paper describes necessary next steps for a successful establishment of OER at HEIs.

In its OER policy, the University of Graz enables and recommends the use, production and publication of OER to its teaching staff. In addition, the university also commits to providing the necessary support services for this. One of the required services is professional development for staff. Therefore, in 2022, the University of Graz offers a comprehensive OER training programme in several turns, in which teachers from all Austrian universities can participate free of charge. The training provides basic OER knowledge and gives participants the opportunity to develop skills in the use and design of open educational materials.

Such a guided staff training programme is an important building block for establishing OER. However, in order to maintain interest in and motivation for OER in the long term, teachers need comprehensive support measures for OER use and production. This includes frameworks they can rely on, consulting services or active support in OER production.

This paper discusses how the mentioned support services are the next step in establishing OER and illustrates which measures are recommended for functional OER development at HEIs and structural anchoring in the best possible way. By this, HEIs can make an important contribution „to widen access and participation to everyone by removing barriers and making learning accessible, abundant, and customisable for all” (European Commission, Joint Research Centre: Opening Up Education, 2017).
OER, Open Educational Resources, open education, third mission, accessibility, policy, lifelong learning.