WP 4: Comparing and assessing national policies and governmental roles


Lead: TU Delft
Participating: OCW Consortium, UPM, UB, KU Leuven


OpenCourseWare (OCW) provides a gateway to lifelong learning and virtual student mobility.  Given that OCW is available to anyone with an internet connection, access barriers are extremely low.  Lifelong learners and students are able to access courses and educational materials produced by universities throughout Europe.  This open exchange of knowledge can allow learners to benefit from educational content that might not be available at their local institution, and specialized content that they might not otherwise be exposed to. OCW provides a platform for anyone to gain access to higher education.

OpenCourseWare provides not only access to content, but also insight into pedagogical approaches and cultural interpretations of content.   The benefit of such insight can stimulate appreciation and understanding across Europe’s varied cultural and linguistic landscapes.  OCW provides a channel for universities to share expertise, and to build upon knowledge from other institutions.  As such, it provides a base for developing and strengthening partnerships among universities.

In order for OCW to be integrated into educational practice sufficient to make these impacts possible, policies must be in place that encourage its production and use.  Development of these policies at the national and institutional levels can build upon existing polices of open sharing, open access, lifelong learning and student mobility.  We propose, therefore, to address this issue in two steps:

  1. Comparing and assessing policies and governmental roles.  We will survey current national policies on open access, lifelong learning and access to virtual knowledge.  We will prepare a summary of policies that are relevant to the production and use of OCW for student mobility and lifelong learning.  We will conduct a survey of a representative sample of universities and pan-European university-level organizations (such as the European Consortium for Accreditation) to examine similar policies.  We will develop case studies of best practices to be disseminated.
  2. Support for open educational resources policy development.We will develop materials specifically for policy makers at the institutional and governmental levels outlining the benefits and impacts of OER for student virtual mobility and lifelong learning.  We will have a forum for policy discussion at meetings and symposia related to this project, as well as developing a virtual network of policy makers across Europe.


  1. Policy Survey
    WG 4 will produce a report and accompanying graphics to outline and explain the results of the policy surveys.  These reports will be made available under a Creative Commons 3.0 Attribution license on the project website and through partner websites.  These reports and supporting materials will summarize the survey findings and any correlations found between policy and actions within the scope of this project.
  2. Case Study Library
    Accompanying the above mentioned reports, WG 4 will maintain a case study library on the project website to describe best practices in policy development that support open access and sharing for lifelong learning and virtual student mobility.  These case studies will serve as examples of approaches to using this new technology and platform to advance the objectives of the Life Long Learning program.
  3. Support Network and Experts’ Forum
    We will develop and support a network of support for policy makers.  This will include the case studies and best practices outlined above, as well as the development of specific materials to support policies of openness at the institutional and governmental levels.  We will facilitate an experts’ forum on the website to allow open exchange of ideas and suggestions, and the further sharing of best practices and success stories.
  4. Presentation during existing OER/OCW conferences and OCWC annual conference
    WG 4 will present the results of the surveys along with suggestions for policy development at conferences and meetings
  5. Workshops
    Finally, WG 4 will organize dedicated workshops for HEI Administrators proposed by consortium partners.


EU Lifelong Learning Programme
with the support of the Lifelong Learning Programme of the European Union


Creative Commons License OpenCourseWare Europe website by OpenCourseWare Europe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.