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The Porous University: 8 & 9 May 2017

 

The University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) and OEPS are proud to present “The Porous University – A critical exploration of openness, space and place in Higher Education” on 8 and 9 May 2017.

This free, two day symposium will take place at the Inverness campus, UHI and we will be seeking proposals for participation in early Spring.

 

The idea for this symposium arose out of a series of conversations and reflections on the nature of openness within Higher Education. It started with the observation that openness is increasingly seen as a technical question, whose solution lies in employing the low transaction costs associated with digital technologies with open licences to open up academic content to new groups of learners. Where critical voices have engaged this partial reading they have often rightly critiqued the degree to which this is truly open, for example, drawing on older traditions of open to question the freedoms free content allows for those already distanced from education.

However, other questions also arise, what does it mean beyond releasing content? What is the role of open academics in dealing with problems “in the world”, how should staff and students become learners within community contexts, developing and negotiating curriculum based on those contexts? What would it mean for openness as a way to allow new voices into the academy, to acknowledge knowing and ways of knowing outside the academy, and where can and should our open spaces – both digital and physical – intersect?  If we are to advocate allowing learners experience and organisations to inform the academy how open should academics be to the influence of private capital? These are the kinds of questions we want to explore in this symposium.” [REF]

Booking information will also be available shortly. In the meantime, if you require further information or want to get involved, please contact Ronald Macintyre (ronald.macintyre@open.ac.uk) or Keith Smyth (keith.smyth@uhi.ac.uk)”

 

Image credits: Porous diagram (via OEPS blog), all other images: Moo! and Toward Loch Ness, Inverness licensed CC-BY 2.0 Beck Pitt 

 

This page was last updated on 1 March 2017. 

‘The Porous University’

“The Porous University – A critical exploration of openness, space and place in Higher Education

Time and venue: Two day symposium in late April/early May 2017 (dates tbc), Inverness Campus, University of the Highlands and Islands

Contacts: Ronald Macintyre (Open Educational Practices Scotland, Open University) and Keith Smyth (UHI)

The idea for this symposium arose out of a series of conversations and reflections on the nature of openness within Higher Education. It started with the observation that openness is increasingly seen as a technical question, whose solution lies in employing the low transaction costs associated with digital technologies with open licences to open up academic content to new groups of learners. Where critical voices have engaged this partial reading they have often rightly critiqued the degree to which this is truly open, for example, drawing on older traditions of open to question the freedoms free content allows for those already distanced from education. However, other questions also arise, what does it mean beyond releasing content? What is the role of open academics in dealing with problems “in the world”, how should staff and students become learners within community contexts, developing and negotiating curriculum based on those contexts? What would it mean for openness as a way to allow new voices into the academy, to acknowledge knowing and ways of knowing outside the academy, and where can and should our open spaces – both digital and physical – intersect?  If we are to advocate allowing learners experience and organisations to inform the academy how open should academics be to the influence of private capital? These are the kinds of questions we want to explore in this symposium.

Further details and a call for contributions and participation is forthcoming in December 2016. Attendance at this event is free.

For further information or to express an interest in becoming involved please contact Ronald Macintyre (ronald.macintyre@open.ac.uk) or Keith Smyth (keith.smyth@uhi.ac.uk)”

porous

Programme for Symposium

OEPS logoUHI LOGO OUTLINED

 

 

 

The Porous University – A critical exploration of openness, space and place in Higher Education

An Lòchran, Inverness Campus

 

The programme of activities for The Porous University Symposium is outlined below. See ‘Additional info’ for details of sessions which can be viewed online – this includes sessions to be broadcast live via Twitter, and also a parallel session which will run as a webinar on Day 2.

The hashtag for the event is #porousuni

You can download a pdf copy of the programme.

For further information visit the University of the Highlands and Islands event webpage.

 

Day 1 – Monday 8th May

Time and venue Session Additional info
 

11.00 onwards

The Street, Level 1

 

Registration

 

12.00

The Street, Level 1

 

Lunch

 

12.45

Lecture Room

 

Welcome and overview

 

To be broadcast live via Periscope on Twitter. See #porousuni hashtag stream at time of session starting.

 

13.00 – 14.00

Lecture Room

 

Opening provocations

 

The university beyond it’s walls (Frank Rennie)

 

Inquiry as openness: Re-imagining the university, its commitments and responsibilities (Emanuele Bardone and Maarja Taaler)

 

What we say and what we do (Gina Wall)

 

To be broadcast live via Periscope on Twitter. See #porousuni hashtag stream at time of session starting.

 

14.05 – 15.20

 

Parallel sessions of provocations

 

Lecture room

 

Stream 1

 

Opening up the university: Being and becoming critically academically literate? (Gordon Asher)

 

“Der Fachidiot”: The paratechnic in the monotechnic (Neil Mullholland)

 

Learning Lab

 

Stream 2

 

Boundaries, transduction and viability: A systems-theoretical call-to-arms for universities (Mark Johnson)

 

Taking care of business part 2: Redesigning Higher Education (John Casey and Wolfgang Greller)

 

15.25 – 15.55

 

 

Preparation time for outcomes of parallel session

 

Coffee available

 

 

16.00 – 17.00

 

Lecture Room

 

Coming together

 

 

 

17.00 – 17.15

Lecture Room

 

Concluding day one

 

 

 

 

Day 2 – Tuesday 9th May

Time and venue Session Additional info
 

09.00 – 09.30

The Street

 

 

Coffee

 

09.00 – 09.30

 

 

 

Virtually Connecting session for online participants

 

To be run online in conjunction with the Virtually Connecting group. Further information to become available at the above link.

 

09.30 – 09.50

Lecture Room

 

Welcome and reflection on day one

 

To be broadcast live via Periscope on Twitter. See #porousuni hashtag stream at time of session starting.

 

09.50 – 10.50

Lecture Room

 

Opening provocations

 

What does open mean beyond releasing content? (Sheila MacNeill)

 

The Producer as Student; valuing knowledge in the wild (Alex Dunedin)

 

Against the fetishisation of the Porous University (Richard Hall)

 

 

To be broadcast live via Periscope on Twitter. See #porousuni hashtag stream at time of session starting.

 

11.00 – 12.15

 

Parallel sessions of provocations (coffee available)

 

Lecture room

 

Stream 1

 

Is there a disconnect between pedagogy, practice, student needs and student experience? (Pete Cannell)

 

Flipping the Art School: Propositions for an expanded studio – A mindful contribution to the education debate (Jake Jackson)

 

Learning Lab

 

Stream 2

 

Open doesn’t work (Derek Jones)

 

“How Porous does a university have to be before it stops being a university?” (Bill Johnston)

 

Room 1-039

 

Stream 3

 

What if…openness flowed both ways? (Ronald Macintyre)

 

The curriculum as a co-operative space (Keith Smyth)

 

Webinar session for online participants

 

Please join via the LTA Connect Webinar Room using either Chrome or Firefox as your browser. Please test your connection in advance and see the Blackboard Collaborate Ultra help pages if you need further technical guidance.

 

12.15 – 12.45

 

 

Preparation time for outcomes of parallel session

 

 

 

12.45 – 13.15

The Street

 

Lunch

 

13.15 – 14.15

Lecture Room

 

Coming together

To be broadcast live via Periscope on Twitter. See #porousuni hashtag stream at time of session starting.

 

 

14.15 – 14.45

Lecture room

 

Next steps and close

 

 

 

 

Reflections on OE Global and OER17 – part 2

by Anna Page (OEPS project)

Josie Fraser and Alek Tarkowski welcome us to OER17 'The Politics of Open'

Josie Fraser and Alek Tarkowski welcome us to OER17 ‘The Politics of Open’

After spending time at OE Global in Cape Town, 4 weeks later I was attended the first day of OER17 in London, chaired by Josie Fraser and Alek Tarkowski, where I was fortunate to hear two great keynote speakers challenge our perceptions about open education.  Maha Bali encouraged us to think about how OER might be viewed in situations where intellectual property of material is less relevant to teachers because of their country curriculum situation or where academic freedoms, taken for granted in many Western democracies, are not available to certain groups of society, particularly women. Or where access to the internet was limited or restricted, depending on ability to pay (access to the internet is never free).  She pointed out the inequalities of treatment of internet users with some being more vulnerable to harassment, trolling or surveillance than others. In addition the interpretation of accessibility of materials came under scrutiny.  Maha Bali asked the question about whether openly licenced works follow the letter but not the spirit of openness.  She asked us to think about which of two options was more openly accessible:  the use of complex academic language in an openly licenced article or material written in accessible language but carrying a more restrictive Creative Commons licence, such as no derivatives.  She challenged us to think about the model of western funding for third world projects which did not explore the needs of the beneficiaries and impose solutions which subsequently don’t work or influence those seeking funding to conform to western ideas of what should work, without due regard for the cultural and contextual needs of their communities.

Maha Bali

Maha Bali

Maha opened up her keynote to get live open educational practice stories from the audience, which meant the development of her keynote was not ‘complete’ until she was delivering it as she responded to each story and led into the next prepared idea seamlessly, therefore breaking the accepted view of a lecture being about delivering ideas in one direction of transmission rather than exchange, a demonstration of ‘open educational practice’ in action.  She also explored the birth of ideas and intentions (comparing them to seeds) and how they might be nurtured first in private (hidden deep inside) then emerge into the public when they were ready to be shared (make explicit) where nurturing would need to continue by all involved to reap the rewards.

Later, in the second keynote, Diana Arce got us to think about the use of art as a tool for involving people in political activism.  She took us through a thought-provoking and lively journey of how art in public spaces is used and interpreted taking into account who commissions it and the location in which it is placed.  She showed how audience involvement in its creation was essential to empower people to understand, think and grow, offering them an alternative narrative via open spaces to share art and dialogue.  The essential message was “don’t tell people what to think”, use art to help their ideas and contributions emerge.  Open projects could use artists as strategists for development of open resources, going to where people are in order to engage them in the act of creation and knowledge building.

Diana Arce

Diana Arce

After the first keynote at OER17, I attended a panel discussion called Perspectives on Open Education in a World of Brexit & Trump (#trexit), with panellists Maha Bali, Lorna Campbell (from Open Scotland), James Luke and Martin Weller.  In addition to the four panellists, there were video recordings from 4 others who contributed real life examples of how these votes which have changed the global political landscape are affecting their academic practice, which the panel then discussed and opened to the floor for comments and questions.  It was sobering to see how the laptop ban on flights from certain countries to the US and UK is seriously affecting the progress of a PhD student and had also negatively affected keynote presenter Maha who had travelled from Egypt without her laptop or presentation on a memory stick (she had put it into cloud storage online before travelling).  The theme of the conference was very evident in this discussion, and it was clear that ‘Open is always political’.

The parallel sessions in the afternoon offered plenty of choice and inevitable clashes – my OEPS presentation was on at the same time as the OEPS presentation given by Ronald Macintyre.  Mine was the third in a group of 3, the first of which was about Academic confidence building with student use of Wikipedia, as they learn to collate Wikipedia subject pages (enhancing their digital literacy) and the second was an introduction to the MOIN project which is just starting to explore the challenges of cross-sectoral use of OER in Germany, where significant barriers still exist.  These include legal barriers (licencing) and the lack of knowledge about where to find OER, training and digital literacy, all issues we grapple with on this project.  It seemed fitting to follow this with the OEPS presentation about the evolution and further development of the OpenLearn Create platform for hosting open courses and the open educational practices modelled by the OEPS approach to course building in partnership.  Several questions and a lively discussion followed the three presentations, including questions to me about whether OpenLearn Create would get inundated by courses which might not follow good practice or break the terms of use of the site.  My response was that since the redesign in January we have had one spam course so far which has been taken down and that the Terms of use need to be more explicit in site usage and on data protection, so there is further work to do.  However so far the site has not been flooded with lots of new courses built by third parties on their own, most people seem to be quite tentative in getting started without contacting us first.

Beck Pitt presenting for OEPS at OER17

Beck Pitt presenting for OEPS at OER17

I also enjoyed the subsequent parallel session which included the OEPS presentation Exploring International Open Educational Practices presented by Beck Pitt, Bea De Los Arcos, and Michelle Reed in which they explored various definitions of OEP, some of the case studies and the emerging framework of open practice based on the research to date.  This was followed by Catherine Cronin and Laura Czerniewicz’s Critical pragmatism and critical advocacy: Addressing the challenges of openness which explored how purist definitions of open can be a limitation to open practice, with pragmatism helping to address the challenges.  Then Michelle Harrison and Irwin Devries presented Advocating for Open: the role of learning support professionals in changing practice, which reminded us that external online support networks are often the only source of support the lone open educational practitioner might have if their institution doesn’t have a policy or support mechanism for OER, and this has not changed much in the past two years, according to their research.

From my perspective, the key messages which crossed both conferences showed that the awareness of OER, what it is, how it can be used, reused, and created is still in its infancy in many educational organisations, let alone in the third sector and there is much to do to make it and the practices which enable it to become more mainstream.  A rallying cry at OE Global was for OER advocates to be more vigorous in actively marketing OER and OEP.  This would help to balance the professional HE marketing of their online lectures/open textbooks/MOOCs which often drowns out really good community produced OER which may have better pedagogical value than a series of online video lectures not viewed in their original context.  The thorny question of how to measure the impact of OER was also voiced at both conferences, though to a certain extent good practice surrounding this question is explored in Becoming an open educator.

In addition, a strong message was that OER will not be adopted by learners and teachers if it is imposed, only if it is created collaboratively, The OEPS experience of collaborative open course production in partnership is one example of how this can work to the benefit of learners.  Widening participation continues to be a strong theme of the OEPS project and will be discussed at the forthcoming Porous University seminar in May 2017.  In both the OE Global and OER17 presentations I shared the questions we consider when we reflect on partnerships using open education: “if partners are looking to OER development as a way to fill structural holes in individual learning journeys, what are the implications for formal learning providers with a focus on widening participation?  Does this mean that formal providers would have less of a role in widening participation if external organisations fill these holes or, more constructively, can formal providers see this as an opportunity to work more closely with external organisations to enhance their formal curriculum? By using OER created as a bridge to formal learning, learners can be provided with qualifications which directly relate to their career and lifelong learning opportunities?” (OEPS presentation extended narrative for OE Global 2017).

In a world of #trexit and austerity budgets which are reducing public services including education, it is all the more vital for HE, FE and third sector organisations to work in collaboration to ensure that a good education is open to as many people as possible.

Image credits: Josie Fraser and Alek Tarkowski welcome us to OER17, Beck Pitt presenting for OEPS at OER by Anna Page and licensed CC BY 2.0.  Maha Bali and Diana Arce images by Josie Fraser for OER17.

Open Education Week 2017

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Open Education Week 2017 runs from 27th-31st March and is a celebration of the global open education movement. Featuring inspiring initiatives, organisations and people around the world that further open education, OE week offers a myriad of activities, webinars and information to help you connect with and find out more about the impact and benefits of openness in education.

As it happens, the OEPS steering group meeting will take place on 28th March, mid-way through Open Education Week. The OEPS steering group includes five higher education institutions dedicated to furthering open education in Scotland. To celebrate and showcase their work, and that of other organisations they partner with, we thought it would be interesting to highlight some of the exciting open education activities happening across the Group.

University of Edinburgh

 

University of Glasgow

 

University of Highlands and Islands

 

University of Strathclyde

 

Open University in Scotland / Open University

 

Opening Educational Practices in Scotland

 

Want to get involved? You can browse the wide range of activities that individuals and organisations are hosting around the globe on the Open Education Week website, and don’t forget if you do participate, host your own event, want to share a resource or idea and join in the conversation use the hashtag #openeducationwk. If you tweet any of our activities or resources, please include @OEPScotland and let us know what you think!