OERcamps – Opening up conferencing! Mainstreaming open education through barcamps
Open Education Awards for Excellence 2020
The OERcamp was awarded the Open Innovation Award in 2020 by the Board of Directors and Awards Committee of the Open Education Global.
“The Open Innovation Award for Excellence is presented to an outstanding innovation that brings a new approach to open education. Ideas or solutions that present innovative applications of OER to create new opportunities or address existing challenges in open education. This award is selected by the OE Awards Committee to recognize truly exceptional work in Open Education. We applaud your dedication to openness, access, high quality and innovation, shown by your work and vision.”
OERcamps mentioned in Horizon Report
The work of OERcamps has been acknowledged by 2020 EDUCAUSE Horizon Report | Teaching and Learning Edition, p. 27:
“To encourage and support such initiatives, countries such as Germany have developed the #OERcamp, which serves as an incubator through informal meetups across the country.”
OERcamps as described in a UNESCO Report
A review of OER-related activities in Germany on behalf of UNESCO (Orr, Neumann, Muuß-Merholz 2017, 8) stated:
“Since OER activities are mostly driven bottom-up, there has been a need for sharing questions, experiences and materials between players, who have been isolated in their own institutions. These players found opportunities for sharing in cross-sector events and communities. Especially the barcamp/unconference format turned out to fit tremendously well developing a strong German OER community.”
Some numbers and figures on the OERcamps
- 480 Sessions and 300 Workshops
- more than 3200 Participants
- 77 finalized results
- 10 Webtalk series on OER over 20 weeks, which were converted into online courses
- approx. 52,000 page impressions with an average duration of 4 minutes per page (i.e. 208,000 „learning minutes“, or 3466,6 „learning hours“)
About the OERcamps
The OERcamps in Germany started in 2012 and have since taken place 9 times in several cities across the country, each gathering between 80 and 300 participants from all sectors and all fields of education.
OERcamps open up new and contemporary formats for learning based on openness, sharing, personal meaning, participation and equality. They are the appropriate format of education for a time in which we are depending on not only transferring fixed knowledge but also co-creating new knowledge. OERcamps are about sharing, discussing, negotiating solutions for a world in change.
OERcamps are also the source of collective development and use of OER. Sessions are documented using collaborative text documents, blogging, podcasts etc. which are mostly shared under a CC BY licence. Hundreds of documents have been created since the beginning and innumerable OER activities were born, initiated, promoted, catalysed and pursued.
OERcamps provide a radical “Open to all” approach by lowering the barriers to attend by removing participation fees and any formal requirements, fostering cross sectoral collaboration, encouraging volunteering and peer to peer support for participants. They provide a base and a hub for the flourishing German OER community.
At the heart of the OERcamps lies the “unconference” format of BarCamps which used to be annual events from 2012 to 2016. In the last years they have grown to more than 10 events per year, several formats, a book and a collection of CC BY licensed materials created by a community of practitioners. Most recently, a series of webtalks, instructional videos and a virtual SummOERschool were created to support educators in times of Covid-19.
OERcamps from 2017 until January 2021 were funded by the German Ministry of Education and Research, grant number 01PO18025.
This text by Jöran Muuß-Merholz is licenced under a CC BY 4.0.