EU’s JRC Report for Opening Up Education


The report introduces a rationale for open education.

The OpenEdu framework for higher education institutions presents 10 dimensions for opening up education. Each dimension interrelates with all the others and allows for different degrees of openness. It is a holistic view of open education which includes different areas where universities can be more open. Institutional stakeholders, 43 open education experts from Europe and abroad, and university managers from 19 European Member States have been involved in different phases of both the development and evaluation of the framework.

The 10 dimensions of the framework are divided into two categories: core dimensions and transversal dimensions. There are 6 core dimensions (access, content, pedagogy, recognition, collaboration and research) and 4 transversal dimensions (strategy, technology, quality and leadership). All dimensions are interrelated; the core dimensions are not more important than the transversal ones. Core dimensions represent the ‘what’ of open education and transversal dimensions indicate `how’ to achieve it.

The report was based on several studies conducted since 2013  such as OpenCases, OpenCred, OpenSurvey and MOOCknowledge. The research shows that although opening up education is a policy priority in Europe, many higher education institutions in Member States do not have a strategic plan for opening up their practices. The reasons are:

  • there is no consensus on what opening up education means and hence little common ground on which to build collaboration;
  • opening up education is often seen as only offering OER and MOOCs, or opening up research data – it therefore becomes a specific and isolated practice which does not always form part of an institution’s overall educational strategy aligned with its mission; and
  • there is general agreement on the positive value of open education but little clarity on its scope and possible practices, or the subsequent benefits to those involved.

The OpenEdu Project has produced the following recommendations for HE institutions:

  • Having a holistic strategy for opening up education that encompasses the 10 dimensions of the OpenEdu framework
  • Making the open education strategy part of the overall institutional strategy
  • Promoting intra, inter and cross-border institutional collaborations and partnerships in order to achieve open education goals
  • Exploring new practices and welcoming changes
  • Revising their practices at all levels: mission statement and vision, current organisational management structures and day-to-day policies, and the institution’s role in the community and globally.

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