Developing a Culture of Change: Medida-Prix 2008 in the Context of the Open Educational Resources Movement


Open Educational Resources - Setting the Scene With the shift to the digital, remarkable opportunities for new forms of learning have emerged. High quality learning materials, until recently safely locked up behind passwords and regarded as the “crown juwels” for educational institutions are shared and can be accessed for free. Since the launch of the MIT OpenCourseWare Project, the Open Educational Resources (OER) movement has continuously gained significance. In 2007 several reports were published which investigated the impact, addressed the drivers and barriers as well as revealed potential implications for the OER movement. Awareness raising activities are given within almost all single initiatives, not to mention the significant PR effects the launches of the first open courseware projects had for the single organisations on the one hand and for the dissemination of the OER idea on the other hand. Several initiatives also especially focus on the issue of building awareness for the OER idea and its goals by giving support to initiatives to spread the idea, by teaching educators, by launching websites addressing the topic or by stimulating dialogue between commercial and non commercial stakeholders. The UNESCO Forum on the impact of OpenCourseWare for Higher Education or the newly launched Cape Town Open Education Declaration for example focus on building networks and fostering the movement. Broadening conversation was also indentified as one major step towards promoting open education at the 2007 iSummit. Community building efforts therefore have to be undertaken in order to address students, teachers, professors, self-learners, policy makers at organisational, national and international levels. Medida-Prix The MEDIDA-PRIX 2008 (“Mediendidaktischer Hochschulpreis”) is an initiative that intends to function as a change agent for this complex transformation process. Beginning in the year 2000, the Society for Media in Science (GMW) announces annually a highly endowed contest with an award sum of Euro 100’000. Participation is limited to Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The award sum is funded by ministries of the countries mentioned and is earmarked for continuing project development. Initiatives that function as triggers and are examples for sustainable development in higher education are honored. The goal is to support didactically driven activities and to make known to the community outstanding contributions of embedding digital media in academic teaching. In contrast to other competitions, the MEDIA-PRIX is not primarily focused on technology or design, but instead addresses the didactic innovations of contributions. The contest fosters the dissemination of knowledge and approaches among academic institutions in German speaking countries. In the latest call for bids (2008), the MEDIDA-PRIX will continue its role as a change agent by an intensified promotion of OER-initiatives. Though very important, not only the provision of information and good practice about production models, business models, models for quality assurance, or on dealing with intellectual property rights and quality assurance are essential in this context. As the discussion moves further in painting a picture of OER which not only focuses on the resources or contents, a broader view in considering the educational contexts emerges. Adaptability and reuse are the key essentials in making use of the huge potential ascribed to the OER movement as an enabler of the transformation and improvement of education into the direction of enhanced, collaborative and user centred approaches to learning. Besides the humanistic goal of regarding knowledge as a common good, OER are therefore regarded to essentially contribute to didactic innovation in academia. As a result, the MEDIDA-Prix will solidify a sustained utilization of digital media in academia and will sensitize the community to the idea of the OER movement. Since 2000 more than 1100 projects participated in the contest for the MEDIDA-PRIX. Starting 2008 with new criteria relating to OER the award should function as an additional mediator for a cultural change in the higher educational systems of Austria, Germany and Switzerland.

In: A. Tait & A. Szücs (Eds.), New Learning Cultures - How dow we learn? Where do we learn? Proceedings of EDEN 2008 Annual Conference. Budapest: EDEN