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May of the European Union
The situation of open educational practices in Europe is an interesting mixture of national and regional initiatives, along with collaborations and projects working across many countries of Europe or simply within the European Union. POERUP and eMundus are two projects; there are many more such initiatives. This paper represents a fresh look at European open educational initiatives, policies, partnerships, projects, and collaborative activities, as well as inclusion of initiatives and policy issues of individual European countries.

For ease of reference, in many cases information is included in the form of a list with an added hyperlink, to lead to much more information.

Country/region ID card


State of the art of Open Education

Open education policy developments (identified by POERUP)

OER Initiatives

According to the POERUP interim report on each country, plus recent additions including one regional OER initiative in England (on the following country reports, scroll down to the section: ‘OER Initiatives’)

MOOCs (originating in Europe)

Virtual mobility developments

  • Erasmus+ - European Union programme for education, training, youth, and sport
  • VMPass project – implementing recognition of virtual mobility and OER learning through a learning passport

Legal frameworks and regulations

Barriers and success factors for the adoption of open practices of academic cooperation

UK: Quality assurance is regulated by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education as higher education depends on public funding. A barrier is that the QAA may hesitate to approve credits earned in universities outside the UK, for accreditation at UK universities because UK public funds pay for UK accreditation and cannot vouch for credits from non-UK institutions. A success factor is that UK universities have been participating in Erasmus programme for a long time, so probably the case can be made to acknowledge credit from other universities into UK universities under other cases in addition to Erasmus.

Main open education actors and networks in the region

  • MENON Network – European research and innovation network
  • OER Universitas (includes European and outside-Europe universities)
  • Open Education Consortium (includes European and outside-Europe universities)
  • WikiEducator



  • National Distance Education University [8]

Role of international networks and initiatives in the country/region

Examples of open education-enhanced Higher Education collaboration

Policy issues (RPL, credit transfer, recognition and quality assurance)

UK: Credit transfer: Each programme in each university has discretion to accept credits earned elsewhere, as credited to its own course. Mozilla OpenBadges is an example of an attempt to create a general and recognizable online accreditation which can be awarded for learning done online through a variety of providers.

Language and cultural issues (incl. discipline issues)

  • Avicenna Virtual Campus – Science and Technology e-learning knowledge network – example of disciplines getting together across institutions even without common language OER repositories by disciplines with associated communities, such as HumBox– humanities repository, and iSpot – identify wildlife online
  • XarxaMOOC [9] Introduction course for language specialization in Catalan-speaking universities. The Xarxa Vives d’Universitats is made of 21 universities of Spain, France, Italia and Andorra where the Catalan language has most infuence.

Virtual mobility dimension

VMPass project – working to create a learning passport to enable virtual mobility UK: Grade Point Average pilot and national discussion: This Higher Education Academy initiative includes 20 UK universities which are piloting grade point averages rather than the current degree classification scheme, for the purpose of increasing international comparability of degree results.

Technology issues (access, cost ...)

MOOC platforms (section 2.c above) represent attempts to offer a smooth learning environment to many people online. Their technological achievements and enhancements include machine-marked assessments. OpenLearn, the Open University UK’s original open-learning platform, which is both open access and open source.

Pedagogy issue (educational models behind, ways of sharing content, assessment methods ...)

Organisational issues (staff development, reward mechanisms ...)

  • UK – Higher Education Academy

Sustainability issues (business models)