Successful Launch of ENCORE+ Project to Create a European Network for Catalysing OERs in Education

A team from the NIDL comprising of Dr. Orna Farrell, Dr. James Brunton and Prof. Mark Brown is pleased to be representing DCU as an active partner in a new EU Erasmus+ funded project called ENCORE+: The European Network for Catalysing Open Resources in Education. 

The project aims to create a European network that supports innovation and entrepreneurship with Open Educational Resources (OERs). While current evidence suggests there are pockets of engagement with OER in European academic and business contexts, there is no fully integrated European OER university-business ecosystem able to identify, catalyse and share best practices. 

Photo by Artem Beliaikin on Unsplash

The ENCORE+ project seeks to address this gap. The scope of the initiative also includes promoting Open Educational Policies (OEPs1) and Open Educational Practices (OEPs2) through business and academia by sharpening value propositions and implementation strategies for OER use in higher education and the world of work. 

During the next 3-years, the initiative aims to use its funding (€993K) to create four strong European networks which will consolidate a new vision and understanding of how OER and OEPs can foster innovation in higher education and business.

ENCORE+ aims to bring about an overarching consensus through sharing expertise across business and higher education; and will sustain community ‘Circles’ that will apply, validate and disseminate outcomes. The goal is to build a stronger foundation for a European OER Ecosystem which can best support:

  • Innovation and inclusion in education and training;
  • Improve digital skills; 
  • Improve employability; and 
  • Share the benefits of open online learning with as many Europeans as possible.

Some of the project outputs and deliverables include:

  • Developing a validated, shared vision and roadmap for OER in Europe;
  • Providing a sustainable European collaboration model which responds to authentic needs;
  • Working with diverse stakeholders to create and pilot the ENCORE+ OER Quality Framework;
  • Establishing European OER Strategy Guidelines for higher education and businesses,
  • Establishing a well-connected European OER Ecosystem of technologies and communities.

The project team has committed itself to a really innovative and collaborative approach to sharing knowledge and practice about open education, which was evident in our recent series of kick off meetings. DCU is leading a work package related policy and strategy and the Padlet image above from our recent envisioning and information sharing workshop offers some initial thoughts. 

Project Partners:

  • International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE), Norway (Project Coordinator)
  • Baden-Wuerttemberg Cooperative State University (DHWB), Germany
  • Dublin City University (DCU), Ireland
  • International University of La Rioja (UNIR), Spain
  • Joubel AS (JOUBEL), Norway
  • Knowledge 4 All Foundation Ltd (K4A), United Kingdom
  • Instructure Global Ltd. (CANVAS), United Kingdom
  • The Open University (OUUK), United Kingdom

If you would like to hear more about this exciting and ambitious project, then members of the ENCORE+ project team will be contributing to a panel discussion as part of EDEN’s Webinar Series during Open Education Week. You can register for this webinar scheduled for Tuesday, 2nd March 2021, 16:30 (CET) through the EDEN website.

Students Supporting Students as they Learn to get a Digital Edge

In response to popular demand, the latest iteration of A Digital Edge: Essentials for the Online Learner starts on Monday 22nd February. Importantly, given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the challenges facing college and university students around the world, this free 2-week course on the FutureLearn platform aims to support people to learn how to be effective online learners.

A distinctive feature of the course is the co-facilitation and active contribution from a team of DCU Student Ambassadors who will share their tips, advice and first-hand experiences of how to be effective online learners.

Already over 6,500 learners from across the globe have participated in the course, which is anchored in the wider context of the LifeComp Framework where participants explore (i) Ways of Thinking, (ii) Ways of Working, (iii) “Tools for Working” and (iv) “Tools for Thriving” in the digital world.

The first week focses on starting with the right mindset and laying down foundational principles for being an effective learner online. Some of the questions we ask participants to reflect on include:

  • How do you manage your own thinking?
  • How can you grow your mindset for learning?
  • What are you hoping to achieve from your studies?

In previous iterations, people have told us how helpful they found it to know that many other people are having similar challenges and the value of hearing tips and suggestions from other students. As Jessica said,

“It’s somewhat reassuring to see other people are feeling anxious – glad I’m not the only one!  It’s daunting as I’ve been out of education for over a decade, but seeing how much support and guidance there is available really helps! Excited to start on the road to finally getting my degree in my 30s.”

In Week 2, the focus shifts to some more practical aspects of using digital technologies for learning and then concludes by asking participants to think more carefully about their digital identities and how they wish to engage in online settings. If you’re not sure whether the course is for you, then see what other people say as there are over 120 reviews on the landing page with lots of positive comments. As one learner writes,

The course has really helped ease my worries about online learning. It has helped me think about the ways in which I learn and how I can adapt them to become a successful online learner.

While the course is ideally timed for people about to start the new academic year in the Southern Hemisphere, it offers something for even seasoned online learners who might think they already know everything they need to based on their “Corona-coaster” experience over the past year. We encourage all participants to sharpen the EDGE –  Explore, Develop, Gather, and Embrace – of their online learning experience as they navigate their way through the course alongside fellow learners, our Student Ambassadors and NIDL team of experienced educators. 

`You can register here for the course and we look forward to welcoming the class of February 2021 online from Monday…