Research · Editorial

ENCORE+ conference showcases innovation in education and business

The EU-funded ENCORE+ project conference took place during 30 November - 5 December, providing an opportunity for researchers to share findings, evidence and impact related to the use of open educational resources in education and business.

Funded by Erasmus+, the ENCORE+ project, full title: European network for catalysing open resources in education, has involved a consortium of European partners who have supported the uptake of Open Educational Resources (OER) by growing awareness and developing implementation strategies for OER.

Access the resources from the ENCORE project here.

During the project The Open University’s Institute of Educational Technology have led the innovation strand of the project, highlighting and amplifying examples of innovative practice and researching new business models which incorporate aspects such as open licences or open educational practices.

Expertise from IET has also assisted to support the modernisation and digitalisation of educational delivery during the project, bridging non-formal and formal education through recognition of open learning.

Driving The Open University’s engagement on the project, Dr Rob Farrow, Senior Research Fellow in IET, has led the innovation and best practice work packages, aligning projects deliverables to the theme of Innovation and Business Models. During the project, Dr Farrow has produced a Showcase report including 40 case studies which demonstrate successful use of OERs in educational organisations and business, a tool which can support organisations to measure their application of OER, and a whitepaper on the innovative use of OERs in Europe.

Commenting on the findings of the ENCORE+ project, Dr Farrow said:

"Use of open educational resources is often associated with innovative practice, but there’s relatively little research into the relationship between the two. Through ENCORE+ we have identified concrete examples of what people do with OER and provided a conceptual framework for illuminating this."

The ENCORE conference featured eight sessions over four days, encompassing all the themes that project has explored.  The conference was an opportunity to discuss the results, outputs and lessons from the network reflect on the future of the network.  Conference sessions:  Session 1: Networking for OER: 3 Years of ENCORE+ Thursday 30 November, 10:00 – 12:00 CET  Session 2: Open to Open? Enabling Open and Multistakeholder Collaboration Thursday 30 November, 13:00 – 15:00 CET  Session 3: OER Technology Friday 1 December, 10:00 – 11:30 CET  Session 4: Policy & Practice Friday 1 December, 12:30 – 14:00 CET  Session 5: Quality Monday 4 December, 10:00 – 11:30 CET  Session 6: OER Innovation & Business Models Monday 4 December, 12:30 – 14:00 CET  Session 7: Catalysing OER: Policies & Recommendations Tuesday 5 December, 10:00 – 12:00 CET  Session 8: Beyond ENCORE+: OER, AI & the Future Tuesday 5 December, 13:00 – 15:00
During the ENCORE conference, researchers based in partner universities and organisations across Europe, presented findings, outputs and thought leadership across themes which have been investigated during the three years of the project. The four themes are: Innovation and Business Models, Quality, Technology, and Policy.

IET’s Dr Farrow presented at the conference, leading 'Session 2: Open to Open? Enabling Open and Multistakeholder Collaboration' and 'Session 6: OER Innovation & Business Models'.

Continued engagement with OER for best practice

The ENCORE project concludes in December 2023, while the resources developed will remain available for use on the project website alongside conference recordings. 

To further progress the use and application of OERs across Europe, a Sustainability Community of Practice has been established which will remain public and open after the end of the project, for educators, businesses and students to learn, adapt and sustain best practice in OER.  

Access the resources from the ENCORE project here.