The Scope of Open Educational Practices

A database or repository of open educational resources is not open educational practice (Ehlers 2011). OER have a lifecycle of creation, use, and management. Open educational practices aim to take the focus beyond building further access to OER and consider how in practice, such resources support education and promote quality and innovation in teaching and learning. They focus on reproduction/understanding, connecting information, application, competence and responsibility rather than the availability of good resources.

There is no canonical definition of open educational practice, however various groups and scholars have given their definition or view. One such scholar is Ehlers (2011) who defines OEP "as practices which support the (re)use and production of OER through institutional policies, promote innovative pedagogical models, and respect and empower learners as co-producers on their lifelong learning path". A definition used by others either in its entirety or as basis for further development.

The Open Educational Quality (OPAL) Initiative define Open Educational Practices as "the use of Open Educational Resources to raise the quality of education and training and innovate educational practices on institutional, professional and individual level".

The International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE): "Open Educational Practices are defined as practices which support the production, use and reuse of high quality open educational resources (OER) through institutional policies, which promote innovative pedagogical models, and respect and empower learners as co-producers on their lifelong learning path".

The UK OER support and evaluation team suggest that (compared to ICDE) "a broader definition would encompass all activities that open up access to educational opportunity, in a context where freely available online content and services (whether 'open', 'educational' or not) are taken as the norm".

The Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education (ISKME) defines Open Educational Practices (OEP) as comprising a set of skills in collaboration, curation, curricular design, and leadership around the use of Open Educational Resources. OEP build educator capacity for using OER to improve curriculum, instruction, and pedagogy, and to gain skills in digital resource curation and curriculum creation, and to actively collaborate around and advocate for innovative approaches to open education and OER. ISKME developed the Open Educational Practice Rubric to articulate key learning objectives for integrating OER and open educational practice into teaching and learning improvement and leadership.

The Center for Open Learning and Teaching (University of Mississippi) state that "Open Educational Practices (OEP) are teaching techniques that introduce students to online peer production communities. Such communities (for instance, Wikipedia, YouTube, Open Street Map) host dynamic communities and offer rich learning environments".
The European Foundation for Quality in e-Learning (EFQUEL) write that Open Educational Practices are "the next phase in OER development which will see a shift from a focus on resources to a focus on open educational practices being a combination of open resources use and open learning architectures to transform learning into 21st century learning environments in which universities', adult learners and citizens are provided with opportunities to shape their lifelong learning pathways in an autonomous and self-guided way".

The Cape Town Open Education Declaration (with over 2,500 signatories) reads: "open education is not limited to just open educational resources. It also draws upon open technologies that facilitate collaborative, flexible learning and the open sharing of teaching practices that empower educators to benefit from the best ideas of their colleagues. It may also grow to include new approaches to assessment, accreditation and collaborative learning".

OEP Areas
Best practice case studies identify a number of OEP areas.

Business Model for OEP
Creation of OER
Digital Literacy
Incentives and/or Motivation
IPR Framework for OEP
Mindsets and Attitudes
Open Educational Practices
Quality Concepts
Relevance: How to Convince Others of OEP?
Repurposing OER
Sharing OER
Skills and Knowledge for OEP
Strategy and/or Policy for OEP
Support Mechanisms
Tools for Sharing
Using OER
Vision of OEP

These areas surround the following topics, with other studies identifying categories and elements of Open Educational Practices.

Using OER
Improving Quality
Something Else

open educational resources
open/public pedagogies
open learning
open scholarship
open sharing (of teaching practice)
open technologies

Infrastructure (tools)
Open Design