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. 

Oudere man met jongere man kijkend naar interactief scherm

Step 4. Building an organisation around the collection of open educational resources

It is useful to set up a workflow when you want to build a collection of learning materials with your community, and you want to share and reuse them openly. In this step, you will set up that workflow.

How do you ensure that the results of your community will be enduring? It starts with collecting and/or developing learning materials. Encourage the use of other people's materials and ensure that the collection remains up to date.

Run through the following steps to create an organisation that works together to develop a collection of open educational resources:

1. Starting point

Clearly define the starting point for your community: what will your deliverables be, in what form and what type of materials? 

Specify what the deliverables of the community will be. Some examples:

  • Collection based on learning outcomes 
    • In BN2020, the National Committee on Nursing Education Programmes worked as a team to establish a new education profile for the Bachelor of Nursing 2020, setting out the learning outcomes. Based on this, they were able to determine the structure and content of the collection of open educational resources. Read more about this example in the Good Practices of Professional Community SAMEN hbo-verpleegkunde (nursing)
  • Open textbook
  • Common taxonomy or subject vocabulary
    • A subject vocabulary is a schematic classification of the subject area. This creates a common language and structure that can be used as a starting point for the collection. You can develop your own subject vocabulary using the Professional Vocabulary Roadmap for OER (in Dutch).
Vakvocabulaire voorbeeld

Example from a subject vocabulary

Start by working together to define a structure. Questions to answer:

  • What structure will you use for the open textbook?
  • What layout/structure will you give to the collection?
  • Will you be working with a structure or just with labels to categorise the educational resources?

Also consider what type of resources the community will be working with. Do this for both the implementation form and the purpose. 

  • Implementation form:
    • Individual resources: Presentations, articles, videos, online lectures, 3D objects, VR simulations, instructions, tutorials, exam question, etc. 
    • Combined materials: Modules, courses, teaching units, lessons, MOOCs, etc. 
  • Objective:
    • Inspiration, knowledge, assessment...

2. Create or review resources 

Investigate what resources are already available in the community, and beyond. Based on this, consult with your community to decide where the emphasis should be. If you will be: 

  • collecting existing educational resources, reviewing them and sharing them openly?
  • developing new resources and sharing them as a collection?
  • using and expanding existing collections? 

Agree on the requirements that the community believes the learning materials should meet. Consider using a model for quality assurance for this. This can be done by checking individual resources and comparing them with the quality model. This can be done by the lecturer, but you can also appoint an inspector to take on this responsibility from lecturers. This lightens the burden on lecturers.

When including learning materials in the collection, think carefully about their suitability for reuse by others. The format is certainly relevant (e.g. is it easy to adapt?), but what's also important is to make the branding appealing and avoid using jargon. The Introduction to open educational resources includes a number of tips about reusing learning resources.


Organise meetings where teachers work together to create and assess educational resources. 

'One day a week, we came together to write. The writing progressed considerably more quickly than when we tried to write on our own.'
Kees van Gestel, Professor of Ecotoxicology of Soil Ecosystems, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

3. Choose a repository 

Think carefully about where you are going to store the learning materials. There are several technical solutions available:

  • A public repository
    Anyone can log in here and add their resources. One example of this is Wikiwijs. Note that this is aimed at primary and secondary education. 
  • An institutional repository
    As a community, you could use the repository of one of the institutions participating in your community. Usually, it is only possible to upload resources from your own institution. So in this case, it would be necessary for the institution to allow resources to be added.
  • Multiple institutional repositories
    Each staff member can upload resources in their own institution's repository. These repositories can then be connected to the national search portal: edusources as long they use the right standards. In this way, the entire collection can be found from the portal. 
  • Procuring a shared repository
    You can come together as a community to procure a shared repository. Edusources has special licences that are suitable for this purpose. Using this repository as a community does cost money.

Whichever solution you choose, the condition is that resources must be shared openly. This means that the repository must be open and searchable. Consult with library specialists about your choice of repository. There are pros and cons to every kind of repository, so think carefully about what will work for your community. 

4. Setting up a repository

Once you have chosen a solution for storing resources, it is important that the rmaterials are stored in a uniform way. This is necessary to ensure that materials are findable. Before you can do this, you will have to agree arrangements about the metadata fields that have to be filled in for the open educational resources in the repository. It is important that everyone uses the same terms in all metadata fields. A subject vocabulary is a shared language within a field of study or learning, based on coherent professional skills or specialist terms. These are lists or hierarchical structures of concepts. A subject vocabulary adds structure to the collection. The subject vocabulary helps to classify resources that are stored in the repository, but it also helps when searching to find the resources you are looking for. The Professional Vocabulary Roadmap (in Dutch) can help your community develop a subject vocabulary and work together to draw up guidelines.

Reach an agreement on who will store the open educational resources. Entering the metadata is a content-specific job that is best done by the resource creator or lecturer. But to unburden lecturers, you could also enlist the help of a librarian or community member. 

5. Seek and you will find

Think about where users can find the entire collection of open educational resources. For example, you could create a collection on your community's own page. These pages will also be available in the national search portal, edusources

6. Set up the entire workflow

Prepare a clear description of the workflow so that everyone in the community can see what will happen to a particular learning material. The Professional Community SAMEN hbo-verpleegkunde (nursing) prepared a flowchart describing the delivery of open educational resources. This ensures that the quality of the materials is maintained. 

The HBO-I professional community (IT education at Universities of applied sciences) has developed a procedure for lecturers wishing to create an open building block. They have included a description of this method in 9 steps in Wikiwijs: How to create an HBO-IT-OIO building block (in Dutch).


Workflow HBO-I bouwstenen

Workflow HBO-I bouwstenen