Roadmap: build a professional community around open education resources

If you create, share and reuse open educational resources, it is absolutely essential to collaborate with other lecturers. Collaboration becomes easier in an active professional community. Use this roadmap to help you build a community around open educational resources. 

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Professional Communities in practice

How do professional communities work in practice? Read examples of successful professional communities here.

In the Netherlands, professional communities have been gaining experience for some time in building high-quality open collections of educational resources together. Every year, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science makes funds available for an incentive scheme that gives collaborating teachers the opportunity to work on a culture change and a collection of OERs.Het van alle projecten. Have a look at the projects from this scheme, in which organising a subject community is always a part: Projects sharing and reusing learning resources.


What do we know from research about the role of professional communities in creating and sharing learning resources? When does it work and when does it not? Karel Kreijns, professor of Technology-Enhanced Collaborative Learning, and Peter Sloep, professor emeritus of Technology-Enhanced Learning, explain this in the article Vakcommunity’s, experts have their say.

Case studies

In compiling this step-by-step plan, we spoke extensively with members of four professional communities about their experiences. In four articles, they provide insight into how they have organised their community around sharing and reusing learning resources and how they got and keep members active.

Professional Community for Environmental Toxicology

logo environmental toxicology

Teachers of environmental toxicology and professionals from the Ecotoxicology community have collaborated on an open textbook with about 100 modules. With this, they have managed to renew and streamline environmental toxicology education.

Read the practical example from the Professional Community for Environmental Toxicology in which Kees van Gestel, Professor of Ecotoxicology of Soil Ecosystems at VU University Amsterdam, gives tips.

Community 4TU.Ethics

logo 4TU Ethics and Technology

In the 4TU.Ethics community, lecturers in ethics education in engineering colleges work together on open case-based exercises with the main aim of providing learning materials in a systematic way so that they can be easily reused.

Read the 4TU.Ethics case study in which Tijn Borghuis, managing director 4TU.Ethics, gives tips from the community.

Professional Community SAMEN hbo-verpleegkunde (nursing)

Logo Landelijk overleg opleidingen verpleegkunde

The Professional Community SAMEN hbo-verpleegkunde (nursing) has been successfully sharing and reusing OERs for several years. With over 700 members, they are also a very large community! They share all their experiences on their own website: One of the success factors of their community is that they appoint a community ambassador for each institution in addition to a content expert.

Read the case study from the Professional Community SAMEN hbo-verpleegkunde (nursing) in which Dorine Koopman, community manager HBO nursing, talks about the community.

Professional Community Collaboration for Maths Teacher Training Programmes

logo wiskunde en didactiek

The Professional Community Collaboration for Maths Teacher Training Programmes aims to improve teaching of subject matter for teacher training in mathematics through the joint development and sharing of teaching materials.

Read the tips of Theo van den Bogaart, teacher trainer for mathematics at Utrecht University of Applied Sciences, in the practical example of the cooperation group of second-degree mathematics teacher training programmes and take a look at