Quality Check

Reviews and Awards for Open Educational Practices

Duisburg/Essen (GER), October 2011 - The Open Educational Quality Initiative (OPAL) has introduced two tools for the quality assessment of Open Educational Resources (OER) - the OPAL Awards and the OPAL Register.

The OPAL Awards for quality and innovation through open educational practices recognize outstanding achievements in OER policy, promotion and use that have resulted in the improvement of quality, and innovation in educational organizations. Submissions are invited in three categories: bodies that influence policy, institutions, and learning contexts.

Winners and highly commended entries will be selected by juries of prominent experts and will be announced at Online Educa Berlin, Germany, 30 November - 02 December 2011. Award winners will receive a plaque and a contribution of EUR 300 to make a short film that will be shown at the awards ceremony and may be used for self-promotion.

Award winners and highly commended submissions will receive significant international exposure through the OPAL Initiative website and publications, and through the networks of each of the consortium members. They will also receive a unique logo and animated graphic for self-promotion.

The deadline for submission of entries to the OPAL Awards is midnight CET on 23 October 2011.

As a tool for continuous assessment and quality check, the OPAL Register allows organizations and institutions to self-assess their use of open educational practices for review by international experts. This opportunity, coordinated by UNESCO and the European Foundation for Quality in ELearning (EFQUEL), is a product of the Open Educational Quality (OPAL) Initiative.

Organizations and institutions are invited to undertake the OEP Self-assessment of their degree of uptake of open educational practices. Based on the OPAL Initiative's OEP Guidelines, areas covered include levels of open policies, strategy and vision for openness, steps taken towards the promotion and implementation of OEP, use of open educational resources, and the existence of open learning environments.

The benefits of the assessment include

  • an independent review by a team of international experts;
  • delivery of a confidential learning report showing improvement potential;
  • the opportunity to share best practices for increased recognition;
  • consideration for the OPAL Awards, to be coordinated by ICDE, which will be presented at the 2011 Online Educa Berlin Conference in December, 2011; and
  • inclusion in the publication of results of the OPAL Initiative

The OPAL Initiative is a partnership among ICDE, UNESCO, EFQUEL, and a number of key European institutions and is partly funded by the European Commission Education and Training Lifelong Learning Programme. It is led by the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany.