Search Results for porous university

After the Porous University

The Porous University set out to reconceptualise university. Does it need to have boundaries, could those boundaries be porous or even non-existent? What would this look like? Why might this be desirable? Over two day these and many other questions were considered. There are many tweets, Periscopes and other social media from the event on #porousuni sharing emerging ideas.

After the event the discussion and thinking continued across many of the participants’ blogs including:

In addition to the The-Porous-University-Symposium—Provocations, for us some further provocations came to mind:

  • If the promises implicit in OER’s 5Rs are to be realised there needs to be a major shift of focus from technical standards for interoperability to simple practical methods of obtaining content  for use, development of simple tools for remixing and support for sound pedagogical frameworks.
  • Generally speaking HE is failing staff and students by not thinking through the digital literacy skills that are needed in a world or ubiquitous smart devices and openly licensed content.//
  • Open approaches could transform curriculum development but only if there is a rethinking of what kinds of academic labour is valued and what kinds of systems underpin collaboration and sharing.
  • There is a disconnect between the academy and the informal learning sector that requires new models of partnership and engagement.

 

What do you think?

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

What does open mean beyond releasing content? #porousuni

Guest blog by Sheila MacNeill, Senior Lecturer (Digital Learning), Glasgow Caledonian University. Originally published on 5th May on her blog HowSheilaseesIT.

I’m really looking forward to the Porous University Symposium being held at UHI, Inverness next week.  The event is fundamentally an opportunity to create some space to create/extend conversations around open-ness.   There are no formal presentations or papers instead:

the symposium will be structured around a number of short provocations that address specific questions or issues, followed by break-out discussion and opportunities to further explore and synthesise the thinking that emerges.

In the spirit of open-ness here is my provocation. It’s much more about stimulating and continuing an already rich dialogue. Please feel free to add any of your thoughts in the comments and will incorporate them into the discussion, or tweet using #porousuni.

What does open mean beyond releasing content?

This blog post from Alan Levine gives a helpful definition of the differences between porosity and permeability.

when you say porosity it really means just the volumetric measure of open space. If you want a metaphor, maybe this is measure of “openness” in terms of 5Rs.

But when you say permeability you are talking about the ease of moving something through that space, and while the amount of space is a factor, others influence whether that can happen. Specifically that could mean if the spaces are well interconnected, like pathways, like networks? Maybe that is practice or pedagogy?

So in terms of the porous university maybe we need to be focusing on the permeability of people (staff, students, the wider community) and the ways we navigate through university spaces, both physical and digital.

So what does open porosity actually look like in practice? Is it about formal (licensed) open content and infrastructures or is it human processes, practice and connections?

During April there has been quite a wide-ranging debate on the definition of open pedagogy facilitated through the Year of Open. Should it be defined and aligned only to the 5Rs of retain, reuse, revise, remix, redistribute? Does using the term pedagogy actual create more exclusion? Is open practice far more permeable, inclusive and powerful?

In these challenging times open has to mean more than content it has to be building and sustaining open networks and connections. However, is an obsession with licensed content, our academic discourse(s), our research outputs actually narrowing the opportunities for open education outwith the academy?

Recommended viewing/reading.

 

This post was originally published as one of a number of provocations at the Porous University event OEPS co-hosted with the Learning and Teaching Academy, University of Highlands and Islands.

It was published on HowSheilaseesIT under Creative Commons License . It is republished under the same CC BY NC SA licence.

 

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!

 

Previous events

Previous events hosted by OEPS are noted below. The materials from the events are openly licensed so please reuse, revise, remix and redistribute them (they are accessed via the links below). Please share back to @OEPScotland how you’ve reused them.

OEPS forums – 4 events bringing together open education practitioners and those interested in open education to discuss key issues in open educational practice in a face-to-face environment

Thinking about open workshops –  half-day workshop exploring what openness and open educational practices are.

Developing open practice workshops – full-day workshop introducing the concept of learning design and the learning journey, supporting participants to think how to use open educational resources in their own context.

Learning for sustainability workshop (co-hosted with the Learning for Sustainability Scotland) – full-day workshop exploring the role of free open online learning material in supporting the work of Learning for Sustainability (LfS) practitioners in Scotland

Union Learning Representatives workshop (developed in partnership with Scottish Union Learning) – full-day workshop introducing Union Learning Representatives in Scotland to how they can use open resources as part of their remit to support the engagement of their workplace colleagues with informal and formal learning opportunities

‘The Porous University’ symposium (co-hosted with the University of the Highlands and Islands) – 2 day conference providing a critical exploration of openness, space and place in Higher Education.

 

 

Open doesn’t work.

So, that’s the attention-grabbing headline out of the way…

But the evidence is in the numbers. Despite some incredible Open Educational Resources being available, they are simply not used as much as they should; The Open University has enviable retention rates, but only when considered as *distance* education retention rates, far lower than proximate universities; open online courses, the dream of so many liberal practitioners, have some of the poorest retention and success rates of any type of learning and teaching. Ever.

Just making stuff ‘open’ does not work.

It’s not a new argument – being open ensures that only those who are aware, able and capable can actually make use of it. When it is merely open, it is the culmination of a neoliberal wet dream, ensuring a greater filter is placed on social mobility than if explicit characteristics were the determinant. Ironically, the open movement has become a coopted centrepiece of the neoliberal movement – it is possible to claim we are open whilst actively ensuring only some get through.

Conversely, an educational elite utilises ‘open’ to claim scaled benefits through student-centred learning, usually through demonstration and single inspirational examples. It often relies on a techno-progress paradigm of ‘always open’ digital engagement – everyone contributes and is happy to do so leading to amazing things. The technology-as-progress-narrative is heavily utilised and pessimistic voices are not allowed. Normal, ordinary and non-aspirational are not represented here. Again, the open movement is coopted in the construction of this dream.

This provocation claims that the word ‘open’ is the underlying problem – open, on its own, is not enough and never has been.

If open worked, people would be using libraries regularly and successfully.

If open worked, people would be using open courses regularly and successfully.

If open worked, we wouldn’t even be having this ‘conversation’.

And that’s because there is no such thing as ‘open’ in itself. It’s a descriptor and qualifier – a word that describes and changes things it’s attached to. To see that in action go back to the original ideas behind the OU again:

“…to provide education of University and professional standards for its students and to promote the educational well-being of the community generally.”

That was the blank cheque. The vague dream – nothing more. The hard reality required decades of work to ensure both the academic quality as well as the scalability to do what administrators in universities keep forgetting is needed – engage in a form of teaching that allows, promotes and develops learning through personal development.

The model the OU evolved used open as a qualifier – not as a dream or ethical stance. It was a practical, teacher-y thing to do and became known as Supported Open Learning.

In other words, it was realised very early on that open is not enough. You can’t just open doors and say “here’s a bunch of stuff, I’ll be back to subject you to a terrific examination later in your life!”. In fact, simply being open and doing nothing as you allow students fail is arguably worse than being closed (I won’t cite the literature on this because it will make you cry).

Open has to be supported properly because there is not one type of student when you serve a general population. Outside a normal self-selecting university population fraction, a huge range of learning and teaching is required – this is the population for whom normative education is more likely to be less effective.

And that’s before we consider supported open pastoral care, general learning development, additional educational needs, outlying academic communities…

Open education isn’t something that exists in and of itself (except to further the ideologies outlined above).

So I agree with, and give the last word to, @sheilmcn on this: open is something you do.

 

Guest blog by Derek Jones, Lecturer in Design, The Open University.

This post was originally published as one of a number of provocations at the Porous University event OEPS co-hosted with the Learning and Teaching Academy, University of Highlands and Islands.

Events

The OEPS project has now finished. This site remains as a legacy of the project’s journey. All the courses, resources and materials from the project are available for free, under CC license, at http://www.open.edu/openlearncreate/OEPS – please take a look, use them and develop them further.

The project hosts a variety of events including OEPS forums and workshops, as well as attending, presenting and exhibiting at a range of conferences and other events.

A copy of all conference slides can be found on our slideshare page. Photographs from our events can be found on our Flickr page and event reports are found on our blog.

Beck Pitt presenting for OEPS

Beck Pitt presenting for OEPS

 

Previous events

OEPS forums

Workshops

Conferences including the Porous University and the Promise of Open Education