Study on requirements for an OER-promoting IT infrastructure

In the higher education context, open educational infrastructures are of great importance as they enable free access to teaching and learning materials. Although a large number of OER portals and tools have now been established, there are still obstacles to the widespread dissemination of open materials. A key challenge is to better connect existing infrastructures and establish a universally accepted standard vocabulary for teaching and learning materials. KNOER partner organisations, such as the North Rhine-Westphalian OER portal and the Virtual Campus Rhineland-Palatinate (VCRP), together with the HIS Institute for Higher Education Development and the Innovation in Higher Education Foundation, conducted a study to investigate the state of development of open educational infrastructures for higher education institutions. The study by Dr. Klaus Wannemacher included a literature review, an expert workshop and expert interviews to identify requirements for an open education infrastructure from a technical, didactic and organisational perspective.

Link to the study (In German)

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KNOER was at the OER Camp 2022

We were there!

On the first day of the OER Camp 2022 in Hamburg, the cooperation network KNOER, in cooperation with HIS-HE, organised a workshop on the topic of “Requirements for an IT infrastructure conducive to OER”. We collected and discussed ideas, experiences and suggestions with participants from the various educational sectors.


On the second day of the event, the focus was on the exchange of ideas and collaborative work on very different topics in the context of OER in numerous barcamp sessions.

Finally, on the third day of the event, thematic workshops took place on the individual fields of action of the OER strategy of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). The BMBF sees the OER strategy as a “learning strategy”. In the thematic workshops, the OER community had the opportunity to give impulses for the individual fields of action.


[from left to right: Peter Rempis, Martin Lentz, Paulina Rinne, Konrad Faber, Tim Wiegers, Daniel Diekmann]

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eTeach Network Thuringia joins KNOER

The eTeach Network Thuringia participates as the seventh mandated state institution in the Cooperation Network OER (KNOER).

On 23 September 2022, the Cooperation Network OER (KNOER) met to accept another state institution. The Managing Director responsible for Strategic Development, Planning & External Cooperation, Sebastian Metag, introduced the eTeach Network Thuringia to the KNOER members and representatives of the responsible ministries in a short presentation before it was unanimously decided to accept it into KNOER.

The eTeach Network sees itself as a competence network for digital higher education teaching in Thuringia and bundles all activities associated with media-supported teaching and learning in the state’s higher education sector. In addition, it promotes open exchange and the provision of experiences and results. Further information can be found at this link.

The eTeach network actively participates in KNOER with the aim of generating synergies, pooling best practice experiences and exploring cooperation with network partners from which Thuringia’s higher education institutions can benefit. KNOER is looking forward to the contributions of an institution competent in digital university teaching and to the participation of another federal state.

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Cooperation network mentioned in the recommendations of the German Council of Science and Humanities on digitisation in teaching and learning

At the beginning of July 2022, the German Council of Science and Humanities published the comprehensive paper with recommendations on digitisation in teaching and studies. It clearly addresses the great potential of digitisation to improve the quality and flexibility of teaching. The Federal Government and the Länder are called upon to establish a cross-Länder infrastructure with a focus on open educational materials (OER). In this way, teaching and learning materials can be shared and further developed across university and state borders with legal protection. The cooperation network KN-OER, an association of seven federal states with their platforms, is addressed here:

  • Baden-Württemberg: Central Repository for Open Educational Resources (ZOERR)
  • Hamburg: Multimedia Kontor
  • Hesse: HessenHub
  • North Rhine-Westphalia: Open Resources Campus NRW (
  • Rhineland-Palatinate: Virtual Campus (VCRP)
  • Saxony: Education Portal
  • soon also Thuringia: eTeach Network

With OER, teaching and learning materials can be used free of charge, adapted to one’s own needs and disseminated further. Access to education is considerably simplified through OER and lifelong learning is also possible independently of formal education programmes. Free access means that materials can be effectively checked for their quality.

With a special search index for OER, those materials that best fit one’s own requirements can be identified from the abundance of available materials. The state portals are committed to ensuring that materials are not only available in the long term, but that they can also be easily updated. In this way, collections of OER materials can be built up that are particularly relevant for basic subjects.

In order to use the potential of OER more comprehensively than before, work is being done on the interoperability of the platforms. For example, in North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate, work is being done on the technical connection of the state portals and OPENEDU-RLP with the platforms of the universities. This enables teachers to integrate OER from the state portal into their courses in a low-threshold manner.

The development of the cross-Länder OER infrastructure requires not only human but also financial resources, which have so far been distributed very unevenly across the Länder. From the perspective of higher education teaching, a further alignment or harmonisation of conditions is a central educational policy goal. With an infrastructure fund for OER repositories and interfaces, the federal government could support in the sense of the subsidiarity principle. Following on from the BMBF-funded “OER-Info” programme, a nationwide service and information centre could coordinate and make visible the state of knowledge and development on OER in higher education.

Contact person:

PD Dr. Markus Deimann

Office of the State Portal
Location: Ruhr University Bochum
Suttner-Nobel-Allee 4
44803 Bochum

Phone: + 49 (0) 234/32-26143

Dr. Konrad Faber

Virtual Campus Rhineland-Palatinate
Erwin-Schrödinger-Str. Building 57
D-67663 Kaiserslautern

Tel: +49 (0) 631/205-4948

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