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.

A Strategic Reflection on Digitalisation in Higher Education – Webinar Recordings

Over the past fortnight the NIDL team was pleased to contribute to two webinars offering strategic reflections on the increasing digitalisation of Higher Education. This two-part webinar series was part of the Digi-HE project being led by the European Universities Association (EUA). The project aims to promote critical self-reflection in supporting institutions to develop their capacity and strategic approaches to digitally enhanced models of teaching and learning.

In the next phase of this project, a number of Thematic Peer Groups (TPGs) will get underway shortly involving around 30 different higher education institutions across Europe. We were delighted to have some many institution al applicants for this phase of the project. The TPGs will enable participants at each institution to engage in regular lively discussions and share their experiences relevant to the chosen theme related to digitalisation in the context of teaching and learning. The selected themes include:

  • Curriculum and Assessment
  • Strategy and Organisational Culture
  • Strategic and International Partnerships

We look forward to meeting up with a diverse group of participants in this next phase of the project. However, before then the following recordings kindly made available by EUA may be of interest to those who were unable to join our recent webinar series.

In reverse order, the second webinar which took place on Friday 5th February (recording above) discussed the findings of our report which presents the results of a survey of digital learning and teaching in European higher education institutions.

One of the key takeaways from the survey in terms of supporting teaching with new digital technologies is the value of an environment that fosters rich professional conversations with and between colleagues.

The first webinar back on January 26th (recording below) explored the question, what does digital education look like from an institution-wide perspective when successfully implemented in a mature way? This webinar coincided with the launch of another Digi-HE project report focusing on the development of a high performance digital education ecosystem. The report provides advice and guidance for higher education institutions wishing to undertake self-assessment of digital learning and teaching using selected instruments reviewed as part of this study.

if you have any questions about the Digital-HE project or anything arising from the two webinars, then please do not hesitate to contact us. The project team meets regularly and we would be happy to provide further advice concerning the range of self-assessment tools reviewed for fostering a culture of strategic reflection and quality enhancement.