The UNESCO OER Recommendation: Some Observations From the ICDE OER Advocacy Committee




open educational resources, UNESCO OER recommendation, OER advocacy, distance education


In this article, ambassadors of the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE) Open Educational Resources (OER) Advocacy Committee (OERAC) provide a snapshot of regional and global Open Educational Resources (OER) initiatives. This committee has been active since 2017 with membership renewed biannually. The ambassadors work to further OER awareness and understanding, to increase global recognition of OER, and provide policy support for the acceptance and application of OER. This overview highlights national and regional initiatives associated with the UNESCO OER recommendation and the five action areas that include: building capacity and leveraging OER; developing supporting policies; ensuring equity and effectiveness; encouraging sustainable OER model development; and, promoting and facilitating international collaboration. In addition, monitoring and evaluation of the action areas are suggested to be prioritized. This overview is not exhaustive, and much work remains to implement the OER Recommendation at scale, maximize its implementation, connect these recommendations to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), along with the futures of education with a new social contract for education, individuals, and the planet.

Author Biographies

Ebba Ossiannilsson, ICDE, Swedish Association for Open, Flexible and Distance Education

Professor Dr. Ebba Ossiannilsson, Sweden, is an independent international consultant, expert, influencer, researcher, and quality auditor in the field of open, flexible online and distance education. Her focus areas are quality, innovation, leadership, personalized learning, well-being, the "new normal" in the context of SDG4, the futures of education, and the new social contract. Ossiannilsson collaborates with key international organizations in this field, including the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE), the European Commission, the Joint Research Center, UNESCO OER Dynamic Coalition, OECD, ITCILO, ISO, OE4BW, and ICoBC. She is chair of the ICDE OER Advocacy Committee. She is Vice President of the Swedish Association for Open, Flexible, and Distance Education.

Ossiannilsson has won several international awards, championships, and ambassadorships, most recently Open Education Global's Open Leadership Excellence Award in 2022, and she is a frequent keynote speaker. She serves on the editorial boards of several professional journals and is a guest editor of several special issues. She has published more than 200 articles.

Rosa Leonor Ulloa Cazarez, Virtual University, Universidad de Guadalajara, Mexico

Rosa Leonor Ulloa Cazarez is Researcher Professor at the Universidad de Guadalajara (Guadalajara, Mexico) and Humboldt International University. She works with graduate and post-graduate students developing software and innovation methodologies; she also researches online higher education phenomena, developing and assessing learning analytics tools. Her focus is to identify student performance indicators and predictors.

Cristine Martins Gomes de Gusmão, Federal University of Pernambuco, Brazil

Cristine Gusmão is an Associate Professor at the Department of Biomedical Engineering - Federal University of Pernambuco. She coordinates training projects for health professionals with technological mediation for Open, Flexible and Distance Education. Develops undergraduate and graduate activities related to meeting the targets of the SDGs - 2030 Agenda. Research focus: impacts of professional training programs, Open Educational Resources Models, technological mediation for education.

Xiangyang Zhang, Jiangsu Open University/ Director of Research Institute for Open Education, Suqian University, China

Xiangyang Zhang, Emeritus Professor, works as Director of EFL Unit of Open Learning School Jiangsu Open University, and also acts as Director of Research Institute for Open Education, Suqian University. He has been the ICDE Ambassador for OER Advocacy and a member of the OER Advocacy Committee, International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE) since 2017. His expertise includes: Open Pedagogy, Online Course Design, Culture for Teaching and Learning and Educational Linguistics.

Constance Blomgren, Athabasca University, Canada

Constance Blomgren is an Associate Professor at Athabasca University with the Master of Education in Open, Digital, and Distance Education and doctoral program. She teaches and researches about Open Educational Resources and open pedagogy for all levels of education. She is the ICDE Ambassador (Canada) with the ICDE OER Advocacy Committee and a director for Open Education Global. She has been an associate editor since 2018 with the International Review of Open and Distributed Learning journal.

Trish Chaplin-Cheyne, Director of Learning and Teaching Development, Otago Polytechnic | Te Pūkenga, New Zealand

Trish is the Director of Learning and Teaching Development, where she is responsible for the learning and teaching development service teams. These teams are tasked with ensuring that Otago Polytechnic programmes and courses are designed to best practice standards, that our academic staff have the full range of knowledge and skills needed to facilitate learner success, and that learners enjoy an outstanding experience with Otago Polytechnic. She is the ICDE Ambassador (Oceania) for OER and a member of the ICDE OER Advocacy Committee (OERAC). Trish joined Otago Polytechnic in 2015, as a Learning Facilitator involved in the Designing for Learner Success initiative. Her areas of particular interest are curriculum and assessment design.

Daniel Burgos, Research Institute for Innovation & Technology in Education (UNIR iTED), Universidad Internacional de La Rioja (UNIR), Spain

Daniel Burgos is a Full Professor of Technologies for Education & Communication, and Vice-rector for International Research, at Universidad Internacional de La Rioja (UNIR); Director of the Research Institute for Innovation & Technology in Education (UNIR iTED) and UNESCO Chair on eLearning. Full Professor at An-Najah National University (Palestine), Adjunct Professor at Universidad Nacional de Colombia (UNAL, Colombia), Extraordinary Professor at North-West University (South-Africa), and a Visiting Professor at Coventry University (United Kingdom) and at the National Engineering Research Center for Cyberlearning Intelligent Technology (China). Over 300 publications and 70 research projects, worldwide. Consultant for United Nations (UNECE), ICESCO, European Commission & Parliament, and Russian Academy of Science. He holds 12 doctorates, including Education and Computer Science.


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How to Cite

Ossiannilsson, E., Leonor Ulloa Cazarez, R., Martins Gomes de Gusmão, C., Zhang, X., Blomgren, C., Chaplin-Cheyne, T., & Burgos, D. (2023). The UNESCO OER Recommendation: Some Observations From the ICDE OER Advocacy Committee. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 24(2), 229–240.



Notes From the Field