Although open educational resources (OER) are high on the agenda of social and inclusion policies and supported by many stakeholders of the educational sphere, their use in higher education (HE) and adult education (AE) has not yet reached the critical threshold which is posing an obstacle to a seamless provision of high quality learning resources and practices for citizens’ lifelong learning efforts. This has to do with the fact that the current focus in OER is mainly put on building more access to digital content. There is little consideration of whether this will support educational practices, promote quality and innovation in teaching and learning. The OPAL Initiative therefore extends the focus beyond ‘access’ to ‘innovative open educational practices’ (OEP).
The project builds on a philosophy of studying, defining and establishing a multiperspective and multistakeholder quality environment taking into account stakeholders’ different viewpoints. OER have a number of characteristics which in themselves promote quality – the resources are used by different stakeholders in different contexts which together can work towards defining high quality resources – according to the philosophy: “what you give, you receive back improved”. The Open Educational Quality Initiative will provide recommendations to the whole life cycle of resources, from creating resources over using, storing and retrieving them right through to usage scenarios in educational experiences.