What Nordic/Baltic countries talk about when they talk about OER #nordlet #ukoer

Very very very rough notes from opening #nordlet session – will tidy up later. These notes can be considered available under a CC-BY license. The UK entry is basically covered by the last blog post. #nordlet attendees, please comment and correct, I’ll keep this post as up-to-date as I can.

Overall note from these presentations:

(i) emphasis on education as whole sector, not just HE/schools

(ii) clear link (almost conflation) between online material use and OER. “OER” is used as a much wider term than the UK would recognise.

 Additional detail is available on the Nordlet Summit Wiki http://tinyurl.com/summitwiki


NDLA – http://ndla.no/en/node/42 national digital learning arena – co-owned by 18 out of 19 county councils in Norway. Not Oslo. Learning resources for upper secondary education, teachers working as local editors (35+ subjects) . Increasing traffic numbers. Based on open source platform, developing, buying and distributing learning resources (via CC license). Costs 44EUR/student (20% of total learning resources budget)

Key results: (European Public Service Award – NDLA was a finalist).

74% of all teachers know NDLA – 50% use in their teaching 43% on a weekly basis – valued for quality. High level of private and public collaboration – 70% of funding is spent with publishers, has “redefined educational materials market“.

http://www.matematikk.org  – All universities, trying to popularise mathematics. Aimed at primary and secondary level (pupils, teachers learners). 300 000 unique users. 7m page views/month. “Christmas Calendar” is popular c.2500 teachers use it with 18000+ pupils. (issues with tracking use)

Solid backing from funders. Business models/funding models need to be clear.

Involvement of practitioners is essential – this unleashes educator enthusiasm and skills. (people that enjoy what they are doing produce amazing stuff)

Legal/Technical – licensing, metadata, open formats are key.

Keeping momentum is important. Important to learn from past experience. Pay attention to quality and continuous improvement.


http://iite.unesco.org/publications/3214687/ – part of a UNESCO series of case studies summarising best practices of OER in non-English speaking countries. State participation is very important.

http://portalas.emokykla.lt – secondary education portal, provides information and services at compulsory level. Learning Objects with proper LOM – supplied by teachers and other members of the community. Again state participation helped. Portal allows for rating and commented (registered users only)

http://www.lvb.lthttp://www.elaba.lt  searching all academic libraries e-catalogues, plus scientific papers, theses.

Key questions – getting community involvement, moving from “projects” to cultural change, integrating OER into mainstream practice. Interest in sharing examples of OER, making case for the reliability of OER.


HE history network – http://agricola.utu.fi – 10 universities began to share course designs and materials, has now spread to the whole area of history teaching at all educational levels.

Open universities (eg https://www.avoin.jyu.fi/en)

Educational leadership https://www.jyu.fi/edu/laitokset/rehtori/en – up to doctoral level, delivered internationally (Chile, Japan…)

Virtual high-schools – all courses and exams online.

Problems with online resources – how will the teacher implement objects in their personal curriculum – concerns of plagiarism (but why is this not expected?). Need to start telling stories courses, background materials – and work via students expectations.

All material that you need for teaching is already online (in Finnish, probably other languages too) students can access this material, but they need to be guided in the choice and order of material. But teachers cannot possibly be familiar with all available materials, so rely on the advice and documentation of peers. Good case for preserving pedagogical context alongside materials.

Hence narrative database “Teacher’s Card” learning recipies – http://www.peda.net/openkorti

Big push for Creative Commons – moving from information age to social age (sharing). The creator gets to limit how much she will share – CC is an easy way of doing this.


National education portal: http://koolielu.ee – small country so easy to involve a critical mass – 1/3 of all teachers in Estonia are portal members, less are active contributors.

And LeMill  http://lemill.net/   (between several  universities including one in Estonia and one in Finland) repository plus web tools, communities – 800 active Estonian users. (Most active use is in Georgia… but this was unexpected and unplanned for) Teacher competitions for OER creation in collaborative small groups. All resources are web-based, can be edited in a web browser.

Open content is a small part of openness – very inspired by MOOCs (Downes, Siemens). Programmes to promote OER have become MOOCs. They never become massive (stick around 30-40 participants), anyone can join but limits have been added for each iteration. These have also moved to HE level – Estonian involvement in Wikiversity http://beta.wikiversity.org  .

Tool to support MOOCs http://www.edufeedr.net (blog platform, quasi-LMS)

Technical issues – platforms are not just repositories, are for content and community. However, many just use these as repositories. MOOCs have added to the value of the community aspects.

Thinking about learning analytics – feel it is important to build these tools into platforms, not there yet.

Internationalisation – can resources and platforms be designed to be translatable. Eg built in translation ability for science simulations at the university of Colorado. http://phet.colorado.edu

Licensing – LeMill made the decision to use only CC-BY-SA, so very easy to remix and is compatible with Wikipedia. Leaving choice to teachers would lead to incompatibility, but noted concerns about losing content. Universities can use CC-BY-NC-SA or CC-BY-SA.


Some developments but very scattered (there was a small programme organised by the Royal Library for HE), enthusiast driven, low management awareness, No university culture of sharing – much scepticism within teachers unions too. Only 1 university has an OER strategy.

More sharing in schools, but nothing strategic (though one teacher-startup private company based around sharing now has 200,000+ Nordic/Baltic members.) Publishers are curious and are looking for new business models know very little about OER.

In Puenteduras model Sweden is at the Augmentation/Enhancement level.


Favourite resources: google search and wikipedia! Also youtube has a lot of interesting material. Example of ECDL course in Riga – 10 years old but still heavily used. And CSDD driver license training test (theoretical part).

OER in Latvian web http://www.lis.lv/mspamati (1997!)

ESF project “Natural Science and Mathematics” www.dzm.lv

Teachers portal: www.skolotajs.lv

Library portal: www.biblioteka.lv eg basic computer skills for children

Classroom management systems for observing school and pupil performance (2 competing packages)

OER portals at Latvia U, Riga Technical U. Also scientific papers, proceedings, dissertations, repositories.

Main success factors cited as: initiative and creativity, collaboration and teamwork, (complete) courses aimed at self-learning not teacher reuse, proper financial support for projects.

Main challenges: professionalism of OER creators – quality issues. Need for “unbiased and correct” content, needs peer review. Effort needs to be co-ordinated. Some schools have very outdated computers, problems with rich multimedia. Also trust and copyright issues.

Issues with Nordic-Baltic collaborations: differences in languages and culture, are there pedagogic differences too? Can we share scenarios/experiences.

Why are teachers not using OER in courses? difficult to match to precise educator needs. Preference for full learning objects (+ context) or full courses. Need to keep hold of idea of student & teacher creative input to learning – how can we preserve diversity in teaching?

Issues with content and platforms/formats/technologies becoming updated. Interested in a common single OER platform which would be reliably updated and maintained.

There is a trend towards global convergence of culture online, but a difference may appear within national language communities. Visual materials can be helpful – also improvements in translation (eg stuff like http://www.universalsubtitles.org/en-gb/ alongside automatic tools?) and a simple need for us to learn more languages.

Need to raise IPR issues – country/jurisdiction differences – could CC be a start to solving this?

Policy – move to eLearning and eTools has largely happened, but policy needs to evolve to support interest in openness, collaboration.





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