Annual Report 2021/Story: Highlighting Open Educational Resources in Sweden

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In this Story we are focusing on how the field of Open Educational Resources can be expanded in Sweden. Through a network, a conference and a response to a governmental report, we aim to reach decision makers in academia and cultural heritage, as well as on the governmental level.

Open Educational Resources, OER, has been almost invisible in Swedish society over the years. This is something Wikimedia Sverige wanted to change, hence starting the network Mötesplats OER (“Meeting point OER”). We have gathered participants from the education and GLAM sectors respectively, and are a core team of 5-6 people who coordinate the network activities.

During the fall of 2021, we organized a conference under the same name as the network, Meeting point OER. The date was set to the two year anniversary of the adoption of the UNESCO OER Recommendation: 25 November. We invited decision makers and experts on several levels to discuss the strategic implementation of OER in Sweden, an area lacking in almost every aspect. The knowledge on what OER is, how it works and its potential impact on society (including reaching the Sustainable Development Goals), is low. There are some positive examples but these are mainly initiatives by individuals rather than by organizations, and the legislative work is still in an early phase. Conference speakers included the secretary general of the Swedish UNESCO Council, the general director of the UNESCO OER Dynamic Coalition and the secretary general of the International Council for Open and Distance Education, as well as other representatives from the education, GLAM, government and free knowledge sectors in Sweden and Europe. Around 40 people participated as organizers, speakers and participants.

At the end of the year, Wikimedia Sverige was asked to file a response to a Swedish Government Official Report on teaching materials. These kinds of reports are written at the request of the Government to investigate a specific given topic. Respondents working in the field of what is reported on are asked to comment on the reports and state whether they agree or disagree with the content in the report, and suggest changes to the proposals in the report. Wikimedia Sverige was asked by the government to be one of the respondents to this report.

The report on teaching materials had a heavy focus on the status of physical books in the role of teaching and education, which contradicts the current statement from the government to be a leading digital country. Furthermore, the report did not address OER at all. In our response we saw a chance to educate the government, as well as all other respondents, about OER in general and the UNESCO OER Recommendation specifically. We wrote about how OER can be an integral part of the education system in Sweden. The Mötesplats OER network helped in the process of writing the response.