In the past weeks, UNESCO has been busy with several activities to support education in the current COVID-19 crisis, with a specific focus on OER and OEP (Open Educational Practices). They have collected everything on a website. This website is regularly updated. Some resources on this website I find worthwhile.

  • Overview of national platforms and tools. Contains among many other things links to available (national) repositories of OER and national and local support sites. (*)
  • Overview of distance learning solutions to facilitate student learning and provide social care and interaction during periods of school closure.
  • Webinars on the educational dimensions of the COVID-19 pandemic. Those webinars provide a venue for stakeholders working in education to share practices, ideas and resources about country responses to school closures and other challenges stemming from the global health crisis.

(*) In the overview, The Netherlands is missing. Some sources I would recommend to add to this overview:

Also, more information about the Global Education Coalition can be found. From their press release:

Multilateral partners, including the International Labor Organization, the UN High Commission for Refugees, The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Health Organization, the World Bank, the World Food Programme and the International Telecommunication Union, as well as the Global Partnership for Education, Education Cannot Wait, the OIF (Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie) the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and the Asian Development Bank have joined the Coalition, stressing the need for swift and coordinated support to countries in order to mitigate the adverse impacts of school closures, in particular for the most disadvantaged.

The private sector, including, Microsoft, GSMA, Weidong, Google, Facebook, Zoom, KPMG and Coursera have also joined the Coalition, contributing resources and their expertise around technology, notably connectivity, and capacity strengthening. Companies using learner and educational data have committed to uphold ethical standards.

Philanthropic and non-profit organizations, including Khan Academy, Dubai Cares, Profuturo and Sesame Street are also part of the Coalition, mobilizing their resources and services to support schools, teachers, parents and learners during this time of unparalleled educational disruption.

Media outlets are also invited to join the Coalition, as has done the BBC World Service as part of its commitment to supporting young people in lockdown across the globe. The BBC will be producing advice, stories, and media education materials to help isolated young people understand how the Coronavirus may affect them.

Their aim is:

Specifically, the Coalition aims to:

  • Help countries in mobilizing resources and implementing innovative and context-appropriate solutions to provide education remotely, leveraging hi-tech, low-tech and no-tech approaches
  • Seek equitable solutions and universal access
  • Ensure coordinated responses and avoid overlapping efforts
  • Facilitate the return of students to school when they reopen to avoid an upsurge in dropout rates

The involvement of the big (Ed)Tech companies in this coalition has raised some concerns (page 25-26). In his blog, Ben Janssen elaborates on this.

The UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education (UNESCO IITE) and UNESCO International Research and Training Centre for Rural Education (UNESCO INRULED) have published a reportGuidance on Open Educational Practices during School Closures: Utilizing OER under COVID-19 Pandemic in line with UNESCO OER Recommendation. From the preface:

This publication is motivated and inspired by UNESCO OER Recommendations and the innovative experiences worldwide. It aims to show the implications of using Open Educational Practices (OEP) and Open Educational Resources (OER) on learning outcomes. Particularly, it describes, through illustrative examples, innovative approaches to using OEP and OER worldwide during COVID-19 outbreak.

The report can be used as a source of inspiration of how OER and OEP can create online and blended learning experiences. It provides an introduction in both elements, using the Recommendation on OER as structuring framework.


A Global Outlook to the Interruption of Education due to COVID-19 Pandemic

Last week the article A Global Outlook to the Interruption of Education due to COVID-19 Pandemic: Navigating in a Time of Uncertainty and Crisis was published in the Asian Journal of Distance Education. The article was an initiative of Aras Bozkurt from Anadolu University, Turkey. In this article, for 31 countries (see picture hereunder) the way the corona crisis is handled, the consequences for education, the lessons learned sofar and suggestions for improvement in the future are described.

Comparing the cases, the abstract mentions the similar findings that can be destilled from the cases (emphasis added by me):

Uncertain times require prompt reflexes to survive and this study is a collaborative reflex to better understand uncertainty and navigate through it. The Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic hit hard and interrupted many dimensions of our lives, particularly education. As a response to interruption of education due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this study is a collaborative reaction that narrates the overall view, reflections from the K12 and higher educational landscape, lessons learned and suggestions from a total of 31 countries across the world with a representation of 62.7% of the whole world population. In addition to the value of each case by country, the synthesis of this research suggests that the current practices can be defined as emergency remote education and this practice is different from planned practices such as distance education, online learning or other derivations. Above all, this study points out how social injustice, inequity and the digital divide have been exacerbated during the pandemic and need unique and targeted measures if they are to be addressed. While there are support communities and mechanisms, parents are overburdened between regular daily/professional duties and emerging educational roles, and all parties are experiencing trauma, psychological pressure and anxiety to various degrees, which necessitates a pedagogy of care, affection and empathy. In terms of educational processes, the interruption of education signifies the importance of openness in education and highlights issues that should be taken into consideration such as using alternative assessment and evaluation methods as well as concerns about surveillance, ethics, and data privacy resulting from nearly exclusive dependency on online solutions.

Ben Janssen and me were asked (via Bea de los Arcos) to write the case for The Netherlands. We delivered the first version on May 3 and a version with the comments of the reviewer reworked on May 23. Here is our contribution (p. 79-82).

Reflections from the educational landscape
First experiences
Lessons learned
Suggestions for the future


According to World Population Review (2020), The Netherlands have a population of 17M inhabitants. In the academic year 2018-2019, the number of students were: in primary education 1.45M, in secondary education 970K, in vocational education 500K, and in higher education 650K. According to Eurostat, 98% of the households in the Netherlands in 2019 have broadband access to the internet.

The first official case of Covid-19 contamination was on February 27, 2020. After initially being referred to as a ‘minor flu with few consequences’ the number of infections increased exponentially in the first two weeks of March. This forced the Dutch government on March 12, 2020 to announce several measures, amongst which: people were called upon to work from home as much as possible or to spread their working hours. Their rationale was to strive for a minimum number of patients on intensive care units, to have this capacity manageable.

All higher education institution locations were closed. Schools in primary, secondary and vocational education and childcare remained open, since social consequences of the closure of these schools would be considerable and closure would do little to limit the spread. However, there was strong opposition from teachers and institutions. Therefore on March 15, 2020 Dutch government decided to close down all schools. Only children of parents in what were called ‘crucial professions’, such as those in health care, police, public transport and fire brigades, were allowed to attend Kindergarten and primary education schools.

In the beginning of April Dutch government decided that both national assessments for the final year of primary schools and national exams for the final year of secondary schools were cancelled. Instead, the advice of teachers in primary school had to be decisive for admission of learners to the level of secondary education (either pre-vocational secondary education or general secondary education). For those leaving secondary education, the diploma would be based on the results of the local school exams (in a normal situation these would decide the final grades for 50%).

The number of infections continued to increase and there was a threat of a shortage of intensive care units in hospitals. Stricter measures were called upon by the government. On March 23, 2020 a so called ‘intelligent lockdown’ was decided. Almost all professions with human contact were prohibited, except for (para)medical professions. The lockdown allowed people to do their daily shopping, have a stroll (but preferably close to home), keeping a 1.5 meter distance, and only when you had no signs of a cold or (worse) had a fever. Gatherings in public space of more than 2 people were forbidden. Households were only allowed to receive visitors with a maximum of three people, with a minimum distance of 1.5 meters. All educational institutions, from Kindergarten to university remained closed.

Except for a few occasions, there was great understanding for these measures by Dutch people and they were followed rather strictly. All measures of the intelligent lockdown taken together have led to a steady decline of the contaminations and, as a result, less pressure on the intensive care capacity.

On April 21, 2020 Dutch government announced to partly reopen schools in primary education starting May 11, 2020. Pupils were allowed to go to school for half of their teaching time, but in smaller groups. The other half of the time they were expected to receive emergency remote education. Kindergarten and schools for primary special education reopened fully from that date. Institutions for secondary education and higher education were to partly reopen in the beginning of June. Most institutions will then give priority to learners taking (practical) assessments, in order to prevent as much as possible any impending study delay.

Reflections from the educational landscape

Within a week after the closure on March 15, 2020 most educational institutions had pivoted their education to emergency remote education (in a mixture of synchronous and asynchronous delivery modes). For many teachers, from primary to higher education, it was their first encounter with providing education online. They quickly experienced that different time and group arrangements were needed compared to face-to-face education, e.g. by noticing that attention of learners declined quickly during lecturing without interaction.

As a result, teachers and institutions began to make grateful use of the support sites of national educational ICT- organizations and mutual help on a fairly large scale. In a very short period of time, these websites popped up to guide teachers in remote teaching with tips, tricks and overviews of safe tooling. Both individual institutions and the two Dutch public organizations for Education & ICT, SURF (for higher education) and Kennisnet (for the other sectors) were active in this area.

SURF regularly organized webinars on specific topics, e.g. online proctoring, using OER or alternative methods for assessment. In primary education, several schools arranged for weekly physical lesson packages to be worked through at home, preferably supervised by the parents. Teachers were available online for a daily group instruction and for feedback during the day, providing some structure for the pupils (and their parents).

Dutch Open University (OUNL) developed a website containing guidelines, manuals, tips, and directions for developing, setting up, and supervising online education. Insights and experiences of the OUNL with online education and digital didactics have been brought together and made accessible to everyone involved in the switch to providing education online.

In Kindergarten and primary schools teachers sought virtual contact with their pupils as much as possible on a daily basis. Parents started massively teaching their children at home using commercial online programs like Squla, Basispoort and Junior Einstein.

Because more and more institutions for higher education were counting with a scenario where also the first semester of the academic year 2020-2021 will be online, there was a growing interest of teachers in a more thorough approach, including redesign of (parts of) their lectures to realize a better quality online education and learning. Judging by the questions for more information that reached one of the authors, many teachers have become interested in available Open Educational Resources (OER) as addition to or replacement for the learning materials they were using in their regular teaching.

First experiences

Items in the daily news created a picture of acceptance that there is no other way, but also a growing desire to return to a normal face-to-face situation. A first study in primary and secondary education by Bol (2020) indicates that differences in parental support are driven by the ability to help: parents with a higher education background feel much better able to help their children with schoolwork than low-educated parents. Also, children from privileged backgrounds have more resources (e.g. their own computer) to study at home. Parents also indicate that schools offer more far-reaching education to children in general secondary education than to children in pre-vocational secondary education. There are also clear signs of gender gap: parents feel much better able to support their daughters than their sons.

The national Education Inspectorate (Inspectie van het onderwijs, 2020a) published a monitor for all educational sectors, based on interviews with staff and management of a sample of institutions. From this monitor and a letter to the Parliament from the PO-Raad (the sectoral organisation for primary education), the following issues where staff, teachers, learners and parents in primary and secondary education are struggling with were mentioned:

  • feelings of uncertainty about danger of contamination for or by young children, with the schools in primary education reopening;
  • concerns about pupils falling behind and how to solve that without putting too much pressure on teachers who already did a tremendous job the first months of the Covid-19 crisis (so preferably no shorter summer holidays). More specifically a lack of sufficient digital equipment for learners at home and inability to get into contact with hundreds of learners in less privileged families are mentioned;
  • need for extra attention for children who need specialized (primary) education who often cannot comprehend what is happening.

Several higher education institutions were confronted with concerns from student organizations about privacy and violations of GDPR using online proctoring surveillance in exams. These concerns have even led to questions in Parliament (Tweede Kamer der Staten-Generaal, 2020). In (Inspectie van het onderwijs, 2020a) other issues with regard to vocational and higher education experience are: the inability to continue internships for students, concerns about students in a challenging environment (part-time students or international students), workload for teachers, social isolation among students and the financial consequences for the institution (e.g. because of less enrollments from international students).

Many students in vocational and higher education experienced stress due to the crisis. Anxiety about a delay of their study and financial issues (e.g. because they have lost their job due to the economic depression caused by the pandemic) were among the causes. A survey study from the Dutch Student Union (Crabbendam & Goes, 2020) into experiences with emergency remote education had as main findings:

  • 66% of the students were worried about the consequences of the crisis;
  • 48% of the students in universities of applied sciences and 27% of students at research universities expected study delays (e.g. because practical exams cannot be taken);
  • 42% of the students in universities of applied sciences and 31% of students at research universities experienced the quality of distance teaching as being low. The numbers for those experiencing the quality as high were 23% and 25%.

These findings were based on responses from 427 students of which 53% were from a university of applied sciences and 46% from research universities.

Some groups of students and teachers were directly involved in fighting the pandemic. Nursing students and teachers provided much needed hands-on support in hospitals and houses for caring elderly and vulnerable people. Within a month time a group of students and professors at Delft University of Technology had developed a safe and relatively easy producible ventilator that can be used when a shortage occurs due to the coronavirus pandemic, sharing their documentation open source. 

Lessons learned

There are several lessons learned. Because it was the only option available, the pivot to emergency remote education was accomplished fast and received broad acceptance from both teachers and learners, despite the concerns mentioned earlier. For most teachers – the ‘early’ and ‘late majority’ in terms of Rogers’ theory of diffusion of innovation (Rogers, 2003) – this has been the first comprehensive introduction and experience with online education. E.g. reuse of freely accessible resources (with or without rights of adaptation under conditions prescribed by the open license) has undoubtedly grown considerably because teachers and students will experience the rapid availability of these resources as an added value in the current context.

In (Crabbendam & Goes, 2020), students rate the following aspects as characteristic for good online education: easily accessible teachers, having available the appropriate means and the ability to organise the day yourself. As aspects leading to mediocre online education the following were mentioned: bad internet connections, difficulties in creating an effective study environment at home, missing the social environment with fellow students, insufficient communication from the institution about the situation, online education does not always help to comprehend the content and does not offer sufficient different ways to take education. Students with disabilities experience even more difficulties:54% experienced obstacles against 27% in a normal situation. This group of students therefore needs extra attention in online education.

The 2020 annual report of the Education Inspectorate (Inspectie van het onderwijs, 2020b) outlines the long-term developments and results of education as a whole. Only the foreword refers to the plausible risk that the global pandemic will have far-reaching consequences for education. The report did not yet address this risk, nor did the Ministry’s previous annual reports and multi-year policy plans. Forecasts for the future consisted mainly of extrapolations or trends observed. What this crisis has made clear is that policy will also have to take into account non-linearities because the future is not a simple, not even a sophisticated extrapolation of past trends. Highly improbable events take place. Asymmetric outcomes or Black Swans as Taleb (2008) has baptized them: “I will never get to know the unknown, since, by definition, it is unknown. However, I can always guess how it might affect me, and I should base my decisions around that” (p. 210). 

Suggestions for the future

  1. From the study of (Crabbendam & Goes, 2020), the following suggestions were mentioned for teachers and institutions for higher education:
    • Educational institutions should communicate as clearly as possible about students’ study progress. There must be timely communication about graduation, internships and moving on to subsequent education;
    • Students’ experiences differ. Lecturers and institutions must be more responsive to students’ individual situations;
    • Students with a disability need personal contact just at this moment.
  1. Pandemics and their impact on different education systems must become part of strategic education planning. National education systems need to prepare for the potential long-term consequences, but also to seize the opportunities to change and reposition education and training with a view to sustainable development.
  2. Internationally, countries need to learn from this situation and prepare contingency plans to meet the challenges of the next pandemic. This publication is a good contribution to that end. Partnership and networking will be the key to sharing and learning from each other. UNESCO has an important role to play in this.
  3. How can we ensure that these experiences sustain in a post-corona era and lead to an optimal blend of online and face-to-face education? The key to this lies in determining what added value teachers and learners in a more normalized situation will experience (Schuwer & Janssen, 2018). That added value may then well be different than currently is experienced.
  4. Redesign of education will be necessary, where learning goals, educational activities and assessment are constructively aligned (Biggs, 1996). A promising angle may be a shift to alternative forms of assessment, to avoid dependency on surveillance software.
  5. Also important are concerns about the costs that will be associated with a transition to online distance education, even if only partially. The experience gained by open universities worldwide clearly points in the direction of greater upfront investment, in the creation of materials and courses suitable for distance learning, but also in terms of the professionalization of instructors in the field of digital didactics. One can expect a larger demand for institutional support, so institutions can prepare for this. This may ask for a change in policies to secure this enhanced support. And this in turn will have consequences for the current business and funding models of publicly funded education in the Netherlands.


Biggs, J. (1996). Enhancing teaching through constructive alignment. Higher Education, 32(3), 347-364. https://doi.org/10.1007/bf00138871

Bol, T. (2020). Inequality in homeschooling during the corona crisis in The Netherlands. First results from the LISS panel. https://doi.org/10.31235/osf.io/hf32q

Crabbendam, J. & Goes, D. (2020). Distance education. A study into the experiences of students with distance education in response to the corona crisis (Onderwijs op afstand. Een onderzoek naar de ervaringen van studenten met afstandsonderwijs naar aanleiding van de coronacrisis). LSvB, Utrecht. https://lsvb.nl/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Rapport-afstandsonderwijs-1-1.pdf

Inspectie van het onderwijs (2020a). Covid-19 monitor. https://www.onderwijsinspectie.nl/onderwerpen/afstandsonderwijs-tijdens-covid-19

Inspectie van het onderwijs (2020b). De Staat van het Onderwijs 2020. https://www.onderwijsinspectie.nl/documenten/rapporten/2020/04/22/staat-van-het-onderwijs-2020

Rogers, E. M. (2003). Diffusion of innovations (5th ed.). Simon & Schuster.

Schuwer, R., & Janssen, B. (2018). Adoption of sharing and reuse of open resources by educators in higher education institutions in The Netherlands: A qualitative research of practices, motives, and conditions. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 19(3). https://doi.org/10.19173/irrodl.v19i3.3390

Taleb, N.N. (2008). The Black Swan, the impact of the highly improbable. Penguin, London.

Tweede Kamer der Staten-Generaal (2020). Onderwijs en corona (2020A01750). https://www.tweedekamer.nl/debat_en_vergadering/commissievergaderingen/details?id=2020A01750

World Population Review (2020). Total Population by Country 2020. https://worldpopulationreview.com/countries/

Learn about COVID-19

Open resources are very useful in the pivot to online education as has happened the past few weeks, due to the corona crisis. Many overviews of open resources aimed at supporting teachers and staff in this endeavour have been published and are still being published and updated. See my previous blogpost (in Dutch)  for some examples in the Netherlands.

But open resources are also useful for learning about the corona virus and the COVID-19 disease it causes. Several of these resources have been published the past few weeks. Here an overview of resources I found.

OpenWHO is the new interactive, web-based, knowledge-transfer platform of the World Health Organization, offering online courses to improve the response to health emergencies.

The open courses about COVID-19 are collected on one page. These are mostly real-time training courses about prevention, offered in several languages. The overview is regularly updated with new courses.
The website

Courses about COVID-19
Class Central maintains an overview of MOOCs about COVID-19, offered by several institutions around the world (e.g. Johns Hopkins University, University of Toronto, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine)The overview on Class Central
Science Matters: Let's Talk About COVID-19 of the Imperial College London is "about the theory behind the analyses of COVID-19 and its spread, while learning how to interpret new information using core principles of public health, epidemiology, medicine, health economics, and social science." The course is regularly updated with new insights. (3 study hours estimated)Course on the Coursera platform
Fighting COVID-19 with Epidemiology: A Johns Hopkins Teach-Out is "for anyone who has been curious about how we identify and measure outbreaks like the COVID-19 epidemic and wants to understand the epidemiology of these infections." (4 study hours estimated)Course on the Coursera platform
Coronavirus - What you need to know, offered by Alison, "focuses on the history, transmission, symptoms, possible treatment and potential prevention of the novel coronavirus." (1-2 hours estimated)Course on the Alison platform
The Dutch OER platform Wikiwijs has several resources available for primary, secondary, vocational and higher education. Most of the resources are in Dutch.Primary education
Secondary education
Vocational education
Higher education
SPARC Europe maintains an overview with several open initiatives to fight the virus, for research and to inform the community. This overview contains several valuable resources for teachers who want to create their own OER about this topic (e.g. datasets and data tools to fight Corona).Overview of SPARC Europe

Disclaimer: for sure, I can and will not guarantee the completeness of this overview.


Open in post-corona

CC0 Matthew Affflecat. https://pixabay.com/nl/illustrations/corona-virus-coronavirus-virus-4932576/
Gedwongen door de coronavirus pandemie is de afgelopen weken wereldwijd door velen keihard gewerkt om het mogelijk te maken onderwijs op afstand online aan te bieden. Websites met tips over tools, didactiek, ondersteuning voor ouders en good practices schoten als paddestoelen uit de grond, zowel op instellingsniveau als landelijk en mondiaal. In Nederland startte SURF een Vraagbaak online onderwijs en Kennisnet de website Les op afstand voor PO, VO en MBO en publiceerde UNESCO een website met tien tips voor leren op afstand. Open Educational Resources (OER) en (Massive) Open Online Courses ((M)OOC’s) worden als vrij toegankelijk beschikbaar digitaal leermateriaal ingezet, naast commercieel digitaal leermateriaal dat door diverse uitgevers gedurende deze crisis vrij toegankelijk wordt gemaakt. Zelf kreeg ik diverse vragen over vindplaatsen voor OER (waarbij ik als antwoord verwees naar de toolkit op mijn website) en (M)OOC’s (waarbij voor mij de portal Class Central met stip op 1 staat als startpunt voor zoeken). Een idee om colleges, zelf thuis opgenomen met een webcam, vrij toegankelijk beschikbaar te stellen leidde tot de website Quarantaine colleges. Op het moment van schrijven van deze post stonden 16 videos van colleges online, in tijd variërend van 7 minuten tot bijna 1,5 uur.

Maar er komen ook diverse pijnpunten naar boven:

  • een dreigende vergroting van de tweedeling in de maatschappij tussen leerlingen en studenten die in een thuissituatie goed ondersteund kunnen worden (voldoende IT-apparatuur beschikbaar en een omgeving die het leerproces kan ondersteunen) en degenen waar dat minder goed geregeld is;
  • docenten die een (didactische) aanpak van een face-2-face situatie 1-op-1 vertalen naar een online situatie (colleges, zelfde soort summatieve toetsing, verwachtingen van zelfde soort gedrag bij studenten online als die ze bij face-2-face onderwijs vertonen);
  • praktijkonderwijs is lastig om volledig online te geven;
  • De snelheid waarmee adoptie van de tools plaatsvindt en waarmee online brengen van digitale bronnen gebeurt gaat soms ten koste van aandacht privacy (AVG en de noodzaak voor verwerkersovereenkomsten met leveranciers van de tools) en auteursrechten die op bronnen kunnen rusten.

Daarnaast spelen ook gevoelens van angst voor de ziekte zelf en de onzekerheid over hoelang dit gaat duren en welke consequenties dit mogelijk economisch kan hebben een rol. Gevoelens die ongetwijfeld hun weerslag hebben op de onderwijs- en leerprocessen en de mentale weerbaarheid van docenten en studenten.

Mag hier desondanks gesproken worden over een adoptie van open online onderwijs en OER? Daar heb ik twijfels over. Inderdaad, voor velen zal deze gedwongen transitie naar volledig online de eerste ervaringen zijn met deze vorm van onderwijs en met OER. Dit zal met name gelden voor wat Rogers (2003) aanduidt als de Early en Late majority van docenten. Er is simpelweg geen alternatief beschikbaar, dus iedereen zal moeten roeien met de riemen die het heeft. Hergebruik van vrij toegankelijke bronnen (al dan niet met rechten van aanpassing onder voorwaarden die door de open licentie worden voorgeschreven) zal ongetwijfeld een grote groei kennen. Docenten en studenten zullen met name de snelle beschikbaarheid van deze bronnen als toegevoegde waarde in de huidige context ervaren.

Blijvende adoptie

Hoe kunnen we ervoor zorgen dat deze ervaringen in een post-corona tijdperk beklijven en leiden tot een blijvende vergroting van adoptie van OER? De sleutel hiervoor ligt in het bepalen van welke toegevoegde waarde docenten in een meer genormaliseerde situatie zullen ervaren bij een dergelijke adoptie. Uit diverse onderzoeken (waaronder mijn eigen onderzoek in (Schuwer & Janssen, 2018)) is al bekend dat, naast snelle beschikbaarheid, toegevoegde waarde op diverse vlakken wordt ervaren:

  • Institutionele voordelen (zoals marketing en exposure door open publiceren van bronnen, het bereiken van nieuwe doelgroepen (bijvoorbeeld professionals in de beroepsbevolking));
  • Financiële voordelen (bronnen die duur zijn om te maken (bv. MOOC’s) worden hergebruikt);
  • Educatieve voordelen (zoals het vermogen om blended learning beter te ondersteunen (met flipped classroom  als meest genoemde vorm), efficiëntie in het creëren van leermateriaal door hergebruik van bestaande bronnen, beter kunnen omgaan met diversiteit, het verbeteren van de kwaliteit van het leermateriaal (bijvoorbeeld door peer feedback op gedeelde materialen of in vakcommunities gezamenlijk ontwikkelen van materialen), en ultimo daardoor verbeteren van de kwaliteit van het onderwijs);
  • Persoonlijke voordelen (zoals erkenning, idealistische motieven en tegenwicht voor commerciële uitgevers).

Uit diezelfde onderzoeken wordt ook duidelijk dat er een infrastructuur (zowel technisch als organisatorisch) nodig is om de drempels voor adoptie van OER zo laag mogelijk te maken:

  • Een technische infrastructuur moet ervoor zorgen dat open bronnen eenvoudig te delen en te vinden zijn, dat bronnen in een format beschikbaar zijn die aanpassing mogelijk maken (door bijvoorbeeld niet alleen een bron te publiceren in een format dat voor gebruik handig is, maar ook in een format dat aanpassing mogelijk maakt). Op diverse plekken wordt al eraan gewerkt om die infrastructuur te realiseren (bijvoorbeeld in de zone Naar digitale (open) leermaterialen in het Versnellingsplan Onderwijsinnovatie met ICT).
  • Een organisatorische infrastructuur moet ervoor zorgen dat voor docenten (de decisive change agents in deze adoptie) optimale ondersteuning (ICT, onderwijskundig en auteursrechtelijk) en een veilige experimenteeromgeving beschikbaar is. Een dergelijke infrastructuur kan worden geborgd door een instellingsbeleid op dit punt. De UNESCO publicatie Guidelines on the Development of Open Educational Resources Policies levert handvatten om een dergelijk beleid te formuleren.

Deze periode maakt ook duidelijk dat toegang tot voldoende geëquipeerde ICT voor een grote groep lerenden in Nederland niet voldoende gerealiseerd is. Wellicht is dat minder een probleem in een genormaliseerde situatie, maar deze beperktere toegang, veelal vanwege financiële motieven, strekt zich ook uit naar toegang tot leermaterialen. De financiële voordelen van gebruik van open leermaterialen worden daarmee niet alleen ervaren door de instelling die ze adopteren, maar ook door de lerenden.

Docenten ervaren in deze periode ook aan den lijve dat online afstandsonderwijs een andere tak van sport is dan face-2-face. Het vereist een ander ontwerp en andere didactische werkvormen dan in een face-2-face situatie mogelijk is. Het is daarom niet verwonderlijk dat veel van de hulpbronnen die nu snel online zijn gebracht handvatten geven om hierin eerste stappen te zetten. Daar waar in deze periode ruimte is om deze ervaringen goed te ondersteunen en uit te bouwen door docenten duidelijk te maken dat een aantal voordelen van deze veranderingen ook in een genormaliseerde situatie kunnen gelden, zal dat ongetwijfeld bijdragen aan blijvende adoptie. Die ruimte moet er niet alleen in tijd zijn, maar ook mentaal. Die mentale ruimte kan door de eerder genoemde angst en onzekerheid die deze periode met zich meebrengt beperkt zijn, maar het is de moeite waard alert te zijn op deze kansen. Adoptie van OER, of breder, adoptie van opener vormen van onderwijs maakt bijvoorbeeld vormen van onderwijs beter mogelijk met kenmerken als student agency en alternatieve vormen van toetsing (non-disposable assignment). Deze vormen staan bekend onder de parapluterm Open Pedagogy. De SURF Special Interest Groep Open Education heeft hier eind vorig jaar een publicatie over uitgebracht met meer informatie.

Welke ervaringen die nu worden opgedaan met gebruik van OER zullen beklijven? Zullen docenten blijvend hun colleges opnemen met hun eigen webcam en die opnamen delen en welke toegevoegde waarde wordt daarvan dan ervaren? Zullen de ervaringen juist leiden tot een grotere aversie tegen online onderwijs of tot meer bewustzijn dat de mix van online en face-2-face door inzet van OER voordelen kan bieden waar men zich tot nu toe nooit bewust van was? Zal dit alles leiden tot een grotere vraag naar ondersteuning en zijn instellingen daarop voorbereid? Kunnen we studenten een grotere rol geven in de adoptie van OER, bijvoorbeeld door zicht te krijgen op de bronnen die zij verzamelen? Zoeken docenten elkaar nu ook virtueel op en kan dat een kiem zijn voor een vakcommunity waarin maken, delen en hergebruiken van OER een rol heeft? De tijd zal het leren, maar door nu alert te zijn op kansen en daarnaar te handelen kan op een opener toekomst worden voorgesorteerd.


Rogers, E. M. (2003). Diffusion of innovations (5th ed.). New York, NY: Free Press

Schuwer, R., & Janssen, B. (2018). Adoption of Sharing and Reuse of Open Resources by Educators in Higher Education Institutions in the Netherlands: A Qualitative Research of Practices, Motives, and Conditions. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning19(3). https://doi.org/10.19173/irrodl.v19i3.3390