Today saw the publication of an important and very timely resource for open educators and policy makers: Open Education Policies: Guidelines for Co-Creation by Javiera Atenas, Leo Havemann, Jan Neumann and Cristina Stefanelli. The aim of the guidelines is to:
“support institutions and governments in the development of open education policies promoting the adoption of open educational practices and resources, and the fostering of collaborations amongst social-educational actors which favour the democratisation of knowledge access and production.”
In order to ensure policies have public value, the authors call for a “transversal and democratic approach to policymaking” and identify co-creation as a critical factor in policy effectiveness, in that it helps to ensure that policy makers and communities develop a sense of shared ownership, responsibility and purpose.
One of the things I particularly appreciate about this work is that the authors very much practiced what they preach as the guidelines were co created with input from a diverse group of policy experts. My small contribution to these guidelines centred on the relationship between normative (mandatory) policy and informative (permissive) policies, both of which I believe are necessary:
“Campbell (2020b) notes that while organisations in receipt of public funding to create resources should be mandated to make these freely and openly available to the public, institutional OE policies focusing on the educational practices of staff and students should be primarily permissive rather than mandatory, thereby empowering those engaged in learning and teaching to come to their own decisions about whether and how to engage with OEP.”
My thinking in this area is very much influenced by Catherine Cronin who also contributed to the guidelines. One of the points that Catherine and I both fed in is that:
“OE aims to increase educational access and effectiveness, as well as equity, through fostering participation and knowledge co-creation, including by marginalised and traditionally under-represented groups.”
Centering the experiences and requirements of marginalised and under represented groups is just one of the reasons why it’s so important that open education policies are founded on co-creation. and the guidelines clearly articulate a step by step cycle to enable this process; from agenda setting, through development, formulation, implementation, evaluation and revision.
The authors conclude by stating that.
“Co-creation of policies to support and foster inclusive, democratic approaches in education must follow an inclusive and participatory process.
And by co-creating these guidelines, the authors have done exactly that.
Open Education Policies: Guidelines for Co-Creation is published by the Open Education Policy Lab and the Open Education Policy Hub and can be downloaded under CC BY-NC-4.0 licence from Zenodo.