2nd World OER Congress Logo

Collaboration for transforming education through OER and innovation Inform on the initiative, connect to new global partners


The PArtnership for Networking Open education resources, OER, Repositories: PANOR

PANOR position itself as a key initiative to respond to the opening up of education in Europe and modernization of Europe's higher education systems through contributing in creating a coordinated OER area for education in Europe, with strong links to key global partners in all regions of the world.

Given the partnership get funding, a project will be initiated in 2018.
The partners aims for having established a global partnership, a network: Global Open Libraries.

OER: “OER can been defined as teaching and learning resources in any medium, digital or otherwise, that permit no-cost access, use, reuse and repurposing by others with no or limited restrictions”, “Open Educational Resources: Policy, Costs and Transformation”, (UNESCO and Commonwealth of Learning, 2016)

A repository: Collection of OER, with search services to find OER in the collection, and reference or help services to support constituents’ use of the collection and search services, as well as a user community using and contributing the resources. 

OER holds the promise: for significant achievements:

  • Economic savings
  • Higher quality of learning material
  • Easier to work with than copy protected material
  • Support 21st century skills
  • Support education as a public good
  • Opportunities for the EdTechs and value-added new services
  • Better effect of public investments in education
  • A catalyst for innovation (OECD)

OER State of play: The number and strength in existing and new initiatives for OER have grown significantly the last few years. Still the uptake of OER in the most advanced countries (e.g. the US) is low (estimated 15 – 25 % among faculties – teachers). Among laggards, in countries with lesser used languages like most countries in Europe, (e.g. Norwegian, Greek), the uptake is very low in higher education. The connection to the market place and EdTech providers is weak, but interesting cases and opportunities are emerging. Fields which need to be further developed are a) building trust in teacher communities that OER are first rate quality resources, b) build user communities around OER and involved stakehoders in development, use and reuse, c) foster the use of quality frameworks for OER.

There are many initiatives for OER repositories and similar in all regions of the world, the quality and usability vary a lot and they are not well connected. The knowledge sharing and transfer between repositories is assumed to be weak.  Significant, effective initiatives for utilising and sharing OER across borders, across languages and culture are not observed.

The policy drive for OER has been strengthened, in particular through UNESCO and Commonwealth of Learning - COL, , as well as the European Commission but still there is a huge need for actions to have easy access and use of quality OER.

The vision: is through a collaborative effort inspired by, and within the framework of the Sustainable Development Goal 4 Education 2030: “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote life-long learning opportunities for all”, and current relevant EU policies, establish a collaborative network to share knowledge, to design, test, establish, scale up and sustain global open libraries for higher and upper secondary education.

The rationale: By PANOR networking repositories to:

  • better connect to users’ communities, institutions, companies and the market place,
  • build trust for OER in teachers’ and learners’ communities, as well as for institutional leaders
  • facilitate sharing of OER across borders, languages and cultures
  • innovate in repositories, stimulate innovation in education and at the market place
  • increase the effect of the knowledge triangle, the investments in education innovation and research.

Well networked repositories are assumed to constitute a key resource for institutional innovation and making educational institutions more relevant. It will be a source for developing Courses, for MOOCs, Short courses and other content for learning and education. Utilising and collaborating with repositories is an opportunity for visibility, for cooperation and internationalisation.

For companies – well networked repositories should be an important source for quality assured content adapted to new technologies and solutions. Opportunities for new value added services for students, for institutions for the communities and working life. It will be a source for new business opportunities, ref. the WEF publication “New Vison for Education”Figure 1 Need for technologies based on OER (WEF 2015).

The initiative PANOR

PANOR: Through a long term partnerships, the overall aim is to contribute to creating a coordinated OER area for education in Europe, with strong links to key global partners in all regions of the world. A sustained network in Europe can contribute to a global collaborative network of repositories.

Based on existing quality OER repositories, educational needs, teachers and learners demands, the project intends to spark the uptake of OER and Open education in Europe and provide the basis for a future networked global cooperation between quality OER repositories. The main outcome of the project will be a dynamic network of OER repositories, well connected to key stakeholders and the user community.

The partnership will address the following specific objectives:

  • Consider and suggest models and solutions for networked OER repositories – a sustainable quality platform for the future
  • Survey and consider ecological and business models for quality OER repositories
  • Examine, test and suggest sustainable, easy accessible and user-friendly quality OER Repositories
  • Consider and suggest solutions for sharing across borders, languages and better cultural adaptation
  • Clearinghouse and provide European and Global oversight and new knowledge on OER repositories
  • Explore and promote innovation in OER, by OER in education and EdTech companies utilising OER
  • Technology awareness
  • Explore and facilitate knowledge exchange on next generation OER (ref. VR, AR, AI)
  • Framework for Quality of knowledge sharing through OER
  • A framework to strengthen local user communities in a global networked OER infrastructure
  • Quality assurance for the project
  • Provide Information, communication, exploitation and innovation
  • Good governance and management of the project.

Success and risks: We have currently identified 9 key stakeholders in Europe for networked OER repositories. Based on the stakeholder analysis, the project will plan how to relate and interact with stakeholders to have success.

The initiative will tap into the experiences from previous and initiatives, and initiatives, existing networks for quality OER, the knowledge of the ICDE OER chairs and international networks connected to the project.

Risks will be managed by a risk plan. Risks like lack of collaboration between repositories, lack of innovation and delays are mitigated by measures for beneficial collaboration, horizontal led promotion of innovation and a clear management structure.

The core group of partners

  • International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE) – NGO, Norway
  • Norwegian Digital Learning Arena (NDLA) – Public agency, Norway
  • l'Université Numérique Ingénierie et Technologie (UNIT) – University, France
  • Open University (OU) – University, England
  • University of Cooperative Education Baden Wuerttemberg (DHBW) – University, Germany

The partnership is in a process of inviting in two companies as core members. 

ICDE is the leading global membership organization for open, distance, flexible and online education. ICDE has the last years paticipated in the following EU projects:

  • IDEAL, Coordinator, (2014 – 2015/16), Impact of Distance Education on Adult Learning.
  • LangOER, Partner, (2014-2016), OER for Less used Languages. Responsible for policy development.
  • OPAL, Partner, (2009 – 2011). Open Educational Quality Initiative. Responsible for the dissemination work package and the OPAL Awards which recognized outstanding achievement in the field of open educational practices: www.oer-quality.org.

UNIT is one of 8 French Thematic Digital Universities (TDU), and is coordinating these universities participation in PANOR. The French Repository built by the TDU holds more than 35000 quality assured, licensed open educational resources. UNIT was selected by the French National Research Agency for the project SONATE (2015) to increase inclusion of disadvantaged persons in tertiary education through e-learning and remote tutoring.

NDLA is an agency operating on behalf of the county councils in Norway. Its aim is to develop and publish high quality, internet-based open educational resources (OER). NDLA was awarded the European Public Service Award in 2011 the Boldic Award in 2014 and the global OEC award in 2017. It holds more than 100.000 licensed resources targeting upper secondary level.

OU: Institute of Educational Technology at OU, is an expert on the design, content and delivery of supported open and distance learning through the innovative use of technology. OU is one of the leading Open Universities in the World.

DHBW is a public institution and the largest and preeminent German university for dual studies in Baden-Wurttemberg, the innovation capital of Germany. DHBW combines academic studies and on-the-job training with over 10,000 partner companies in Germany. It is the only HEI offering entirely dual studies. DHBW regards companies and social institutions as equal partners. All partners work together to develop and improve the 'dual concept' and to achieve mutual goals. Its digital strategy as well as a number of digital learning materials and programs have been awarded with a national price of excellence. DHBW is a knowledge hub for Open Education in Germany.

The project partner Professor Dr. phil. habil.  Ulf-Daniel Ehlers, Vicepresident Quality and Academic Affairs for DHBW, has led several  OER initiatives, created numerous EU funded projects and is an internationally known innovator in the OER field.

All these partners have a history of collaboration on OER and open education for several years.

The wider partnership

PANOR aims for establishing a wider partnership throughout the globe, with partners in all regions of the world.  Candidate partners in most regions have been contacted for tentative feedback, and this work is ongoing.  A networking event is organised during the 2nd OER World Congress on 19 September 2017, in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

  • Be informed about the feasibility study for a Global Open Library - based on the collaboration between owners of quality OER repositories.
  • Take part in dialogue on a global open library.
  • Be presented for partners.
  • Interesting in connecting in global partnership.

ICDE and partners:

  • International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE) – Global NGO, Norway
  • Norwegian Digital Learning Arena (NDLA) – Public agency, Norway
  • l'Université Numérique Ingénierie et Technologie (UNIT) – University, France
  • Open University (OU) – University, England
  • University of Cooperative Education Baden Wuerttemberg (DHBW) – University, Germany
  • Owners and organizers of OER repositories and similar
  • Stakeholders to the same:
  • IGO´s
  • NGO´s
  • Governments
  • User organisations (e.g. teachers, students)
  • Publishers and Edtech companies

Main organizer email: titlestad@icde.org