Open Educational Practices in Australia: A First-phase National Audit of Higher Education


  • Adrian Stagg University of Southern Queensland, Australia
  • Linh Nguyen University of Southern Queensland
  • Carina Bossu University of Tasmania
  • Helen Partridge University of Southern Queensland
  • Johanna Funk Charles Darwin University
  • Kate Judith University of Southern Queensland



open educational practice, open educational resources, Australian Higher Education, Higher Education policy


For fifteen years, Australian Higher Education has engaged with the openness agenda primarily through the lens of open-access research. Open educational practice (OEP), by contrast, has not been explicitly supported by federal government initiatives, funding, or policy. This has led to an environment that is disconnected, with isolated examples of good practice that have not been transferred beyond local contexts.

This paper represents first-phase research in identifying the current state of OEP in Australian Higher Education. A structured desktop audit of all Australian universities was conducted, based on a range of indicators and criteria established by a review of the literature. The audit collected evidence of engagement with OEP using publicly accessible information via institutional websites. The criteria investigated were strategies and policies, open educational resources (OER), infrastructure tools/platforms, professional development and support, collaboration/partnerships, and funding.

Initial findings suggest that the experience of OEP across the sector is diverse, but the underlying infrastructure to support the creation, (re)use, and dissemination of resources is present. Many Australian universities have experimented with, and continue to refine, massive open online course (MOOC) offerings, and there is increasing evidence that institutions now employ specialist positions to support OEP, and MOOCs. Professional development and staff initiatives require further work to build staff capacity sector-wide.

This paper provides a contemporary view of sector-wide OEP engagement in Australia—a macro-view that is not well-represented in open research to date. It identifies core areas of capacity that could be further leveraged by a national OEP initiative or by national policy on OEP.

Author Biographies

Adrian Stagg, University of Southern Queensland, Australia

Adrian Stagg is currently the Manager (Open Educational Practice) for the University of Southern Queensland. His career has included over 14 years in both public and academic libraries, as well as positions as a Learning Technologist and eLearning Designer.  Adrian holds a Master of Applied Science (Library and Information Management). His interest in Open Educational Practice (OEP) has prompted the commencement of a PhD at the University of Tasmania focusing on the practitioner experience in the reuse of Open Educational Resources (OER). 

Linh Nguyen, University of Southern Queensland

Dr Linh Cuong Nguyen is an Associate Lecturer in the School of Information Systems, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Australia, where he received his PhD in 2014. Dr Nguyen’s research interests focus on emerging technologies, information, and education. His current interest is Open Educational Practice, humanoid robots and information literacy, and the impact of social media on connected learning.

Carina Bossu, University of Tasmania

Carina Bossu is a Lecturer (Learning and Teaching) with the Tasmanian Institute of Learning and Teaching at the University of Tasmania. Her current work and research are primarily focused on Open Educational Resources (OER) and Open Educational Practices (OEP) in higher education, more specifically issues related to learning, teaching and professional development. Previously, Carina was a Research Fellow with the Distance Education HUB (DEHub) at the University of New England.

Helen Partridge, University of Southern Queensland

Kate Judith lectures in Academic Communications at the Open Access College at the University of Southern Queensland. She has been engaging with open educational practices both as a practitioner creating and reusing OER, and as a researcher with an interest in the practical applications of open access within established higher education courses.

Johanna Funk, Charles Darwin University

Johanna Funk is a researcher and PhD candidate with Northern Institute at CDU. She works in the remote and regional workforce development research theme, refining applications of open practices in Indigenous training,  governance, community development and bio security management. 

Kate Judith, University of Southern Queensland

Dr Helen Partridge is Professor and Pro Vice Chancellor (Scholarly Information and Learning Services) at the University of Southern Queensland. Dr Partridge’s focuses on the interplay between information technology and learning.  She has received a number of teaching and learning awards including a Teaching Fellowship in 2008 from the Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC). In 2011 she was commissioned by the ALTC to produce a Best Practice Report on Blended Learning to guide Australian higher education. Dr Partridge has been a visiting Fellow at the Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford (2011) and the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University (2014). 



How to Cite

Stagg, A., Nguyen, L., Bossu, C., Partridge, H., Funk, J., & Judith, K. (2018). Open Educational Practices in Australia: A First-phase National Audit of Higher Education. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 19(3).



Research Articles