Are the Nordic countries forerunners in Open Education? What is the state of the art, barriers
and opportunities of Open Education in the Nordic countries? What are necessary actions on
policy, institutional and individual levels? These are the main questions of this paper.
Open Educational Resources are discussed widely on a global, European and even Nordic
level. UNESCO, which has coined the term Open Educational Resources (OER) some 10 years
ago, published in June 2012 a global agenda for OER, the Paris Declaration (adopted by OER
World Congress). The Declaration shows the importance of Open Educational Resources and
gives recommendations to governments and institutions around the globe. The European
Union has started a large-scale initiative on “Opening Up Education”
The concept of OER seems promising, potentially leading to educational collaborations,
having potential for stimulating innovation in education, reducing cost of education, and
broadening access to education for all. However, the awareness on the opportunities of using
OERs is still low in the Nordic countries. In contrast to Open Access (for publications) or
Open Source (for software development), OER are not yet broadly known and accepted /
adopted. It is highly necessary to combine the initiatives and ideas of open approaches. This is
the case at a user level as well as on policy level (see also Clements & Pawlowski, 2012).
Therefore, it is important to promote OER to governments at all levels as well as to
The Nordic countries seem to be a good ground for openness and sharing: the Nordic
countries share many values related to education and technology development; the political
and governmental institutions are quite similar – there is also a tradition for exchange of
knowledge and solutions between the countries.
In this paper, we briefly give an introduction to OER and reflect on the state if the art of Open
Education in the Nordic countries. In expert workshops by the Nordic Open Education
Alliance, barriers and possible interventions to overcome them were explored. Based on these,
we formulate recommendations as well as propose implementation actions. This study is
based on a position paper from the Nordic Open Education Alliance
Oslo: European Distance and E-Learning Network , 2013.
open educational resources, OER, university, education, e-learning, educational technology
European Distance and E-Learning Network 2013 Annual Conference Oslo, 12-15 June, 2013