OER Bar Camp Bremen 14-16 September 2012
This attracted over sixty participants from across Germany and beyond for a three day event organised on Bar Camp principles with the first session of each day being an open planning session drawing on proposals for 45 minute sessions offered by participants.
The discussion ranged widely from the technicalities of finding and re-mixing material to a briefing on the June 2012 declaration from UNESCO conference and an exploration of future funding models.
The event was conducted largely in German but there were two session in English from the writer of this Blog.
Eine Geschichte von einer kleinen Insel.(A story from an island)
This gave a case study of the way that Open Government Licence has been used creatively by NIACE to ensure sharability of learning materials created in Adult Community Learning Fund and Community Learning Innovation Fund (CLIF).
Mehr Geschichten von einer kleinen Insel. (More stories from a small island)
This second session offered a broader view of content initiatives in UK since 1999 with lessons learned from the good the bad and Jam!
Where is Germany in the development of OER policy?
Delegates were generally agreed that Germany is in the early stages of the OER debate. The examples quoted frequently during discussion were the MIT open courseware initiative, Open University (UK), Stanford’s MOOCs and the recent large scale schools initiative in Poland. Commercial publishers were represented at the event and, whilst they were all urging caution, some were more open that others to finding new content models for education.
Reflections from a saddle
These are my reflections as I cycled up to the campus for the final few hours of the three day event.
The Master Plan a WuZuMaP!
At the end of the Bar Camp delegates were asked to contribute to a collaborative WuZuMaP a so called ‘masterplan’ where they each indicated their intended action in the next 100 days – effectively up until Christmas. I have little doubt that many of the bar campers will go away and do good things and add them to the list. However, there was no sign of a clear route or any kind of national or even regional strategy. This will not be much help to the Europe-wide ‘Policies for OER Uptake research project (POER UP ) led by SERO consulting in the UK. At best we can say that some Lände (regions) are encouraging OERs on their educational servers and some federal ministries such as Bundeszentrale fur politische Bildung, are releasing their material with Creative Commons licence.
The defining moment for me during my visit to Bremen was a conversation with campaigners for the Piraten Partei who’s eyes lit up at the magic words ‘Creative Commons’ but they had not idea what an Open Educational Resource and it took some time to find out whether their party had a policy on the matter (In fact it does have a general policy – see earlier posting) .
With OERs well down the political agenda, and with publishers very mindful of the potential loss of business, don’t expect a breakthrough early. In fact my guess is that the OER concept will continue to go largely un-noticed in Germany unless the baton is passed from the evangelists to the pragmatists. The Bar Camp was always going to attract the evangelists and early adopters. Maybe an engagement of the pragmatists needs to be in the Master Plan?
Jöran’s last word
The supporting online resource for the Bar camp is at http://oercamp.mixxt.de