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OpeningupSlovenia – Nationwide research environment in open education, Slovenia as a model state

OpeningupSlovenia – Nationwide research environment in open education, Slovenia as a model state

Author: Davor Orlic: Chief Operating Officer @ Knowledge 4 All Foundation Ltd. & Project Lead @ OpeningupSlovenia
Date: 30th October 2014
Licence: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

The initiative OpeningupSlovenia[1] was presented in Ljubljana, Slovenia, on the 23rd of April, during the OCWC Global conference 2014[2] with the aim of making Slovenia a model state in the field of accessible and open educational resources. It complements into reality the policies of the European Commission’s ‘Opening Up Education’ communication initiated by Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for DGEAC, who also attended the launch. Slovenia wants to make changes in 7 key areas: to transform existing educational methods into innovative, dynamic and open learning tools, to restore an environment of cooperation between public, private and voluntary sectors of research in order to develop and introduce a more open education, to build legal mechanisms in support of implementing open education, to construct an open platform of information technologies, contents, services, pedagogical concepts and approaches, to restore mechanisms for securing a high level of quality and evaluation of services, to develop digital competencies within the entire educational system, and to carry out concrete, cross-dimensional open education projects.

In recent months OpeningupSlovenia managed to follow its strategy in providing funding for OER related projects, building partnerships and pushing the OER research agenda further into computer science and other national open education domains. On September 30th 2014 the UNESCO Chair on Open Technologies for Open Educational Resources and Open Learning was established in Slovenia. UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, and the Director of the Jožef Stefan Institute[3], Professor Jadran Lenarčič, signed an agreement establishing a UNESCO Chair at the Institute in Ljubljana, Slovenia. The Institute is one of the leading powers behind OpeningupSlovenia. The signing ceremony took place at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, in the presence of the Chairholder, Dr Mitja Jermol and the Permanent Delegate of the Republic of Slovenia to UNESCO, H. E. Ms Veronika Stabej. The Chair will serve to promote an integrated system of research, training, information and documentation on online learning for OER and open learning. It will facilitate collaboration between high-level, internationally-recognized researchers and teaching staff of the Institute and other institutions around the world. The signing ceremony coincided with the UNESCO Chair Workshop[4], at Headquarters, organized with the Jožef Stefan Institute, the Slovenian National Commission for UNESCO and the Permanent Delegation of the Republic of Slovenia to UNESCO. According to the new Chairholder, Dr Mitja Jermol, the Institute has been working on OER since 2001, pushed by the conviction that education needed a new approach: “We started a national initiative to set the country in the direction of open learning, from infrastructure to legislation, in order to make use of technologies for learning,” commenting on OpeningupSlovenia.

The Slovenian Ministry of Education, Science and Sport in synergy issued a Call for proposals for development projects and the establishment of e-services and mobile applications in advanced ICT use in education in between 2014-2015. The Ministry will co-finance projects[5] of up to € 70,000.00 euros with the total indicative amount of funds available for public tender up to € 900,000.00. The newly appointed UNESCO Chair will push to present all projects to win the call at the UNESCO Mobile Learning Week in February 2015[6] and other relevant events.

K4A logoOpeningupSlovenia partner Knowledge 4 All Foundation successfully won a H2020 bit for traMOOC – Translation for Massive Open Online Courses. MOOCs have been growing rapidly in size and impact. Yet the language barrier constitutes a major growth impediment in reaching out to all nations and educating all citizens. TraMOOC will aim at tackling this impediment by developing high-quality translation of all types of text genre included in MOOCs (e.g. assignments, tests, presentations, lecture subtitles, blog text) from English into eleven European and BRIC languages (DE, IT, PT, EL, DU, CS, BG, CR, PL, RU, ZH) that constitute strong use cases, are hard to translate into and have weak MT support, thus complying with the OpeningupSlovenia national education case study objectives. The project results will be showcased and tested on the iversity MOOC platform and on the VideoLectures.NET digital video lecture library.

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[1] OpeningupSlovenia, http://www.ouslovenia.net/
[2] OCWC Global conference 2014, http://conference.oeconsortium.org/2014/
[3] Jožef Stefan Institute, http://www.ijs.si/
[4] UNESCO Chair Workshop, http://www.ouslovenia.net/event/unesco-chair-workshop-on-open-technologies-for-open-educational-resources-and-open-learning/
[5] The Slovenian Ministry of Education, Science and Sport: Call for Proposals, http://www.mizs.gov.si/si/javne_objave_in_razpisi/okroznice/arhiv_okroznic/okroznice_razpisi_in_javna_narocila/javni_razpisi/?tx_t3javnirazpis_pi1%5bshow_single%5d=1367
[6] UNESCO Mobile Learning Week, http://www.unesco.org/new/en/media-services/in-focus-articles/mobile-learning-week-a-revolution-for-inclusive-better-education/