Category Archives: article

Looking back and looking forward

This is the final post on the OEPS blog before it transitions to an archive.  As such I’d like to use it to reflect on the big themes that the project set out to address.

I joined the project following more than a decade of work in the Scottish widening participation scene and recent experience of exploring the use of open educational resources with organisations that support non-traditional students attempting to gain access to further and higher education.

OEPS was distinctive in foregrounding social justice and widening participation but I think I underestimated the challenge that this presented.  The Open Education movement grew out of a belief that educational material should be a public good.  And this belief has informed developments over nearly two decades.  However, at the start of the project it was clear that there were very few points of contact between the Learning Technology and Widening Participation communities in Scotland.  Although the latter community was beginning to grapple with issues of digital participation, knowledge of the affordances of open education or indeed of the existence of OER was very limited.

So for the project bringing people together from a range of different backgrounds was critical and we prioritised this in organising events and in targeting possible partners.  We’ve written more about this elsewhere and the final project report provides a useful summary of this engagement.

Final report

As we developed a network of partners it rapidly became clear that, while the language of open education and the technicalities of open licensing were not well known, a broad range of organisations and individuals were grappling with the social consequences of digital technology. In the OEPS final report we note that

‘… in the last ten years there has been a historic shift in the way that society uses digital technology.  Ownership of smart digital devices has grown rapidly. An OFCOM report[1] published in 2015 found that 66% of UK adults owned a Smartphone, up from 39% just three years before.  This has had an impact on culture, communication and self-directed learning.  However, the links between digital engagement and the digital literacies required for learning are not straightforward.   In 2009 the JISC report on Learning Literacies in a Digital Age[2] noted that learners in general are ‘poor at deploying their digital skills in support of learning’.  This remains the case for young people entering higher education direct from school and evidence collected during the OEPS project suggest that this is also the case for non-traditional students.’ 

It’s widely accepted that good practice in supporting students from a widening participation and student retention perspective should be part of the mainstream rather than an add on.  Taken as whole I would argue that the experience of the OEPS project suggests that this is also true of good Open Educational Practice.

At the outset we were concerned by the skewed demographics of participation in Open Education, which suggested that historic inequity was being reproduced or even accentuated.  Looking at open education through a widening participation lens, and working closely with non-traditional learners and with the organisations that support them, helped us develop valuable insights into the way that stubborn and persistent barriers to educational participation are expressed in digital environments.  Digital technologies open up new possibilities  and new barriers for students.  In developing exemplar open courses with a range of partners the OEPS project provides evidence that these barriers can be overcome.  Much more work is needed in this field but critical to success and at the core of good practice are a number of simple issues:

  • Developing practice that puts student experience and student context at the centre.
  • Understanding the challenges that non-traditional students face.
  • Making the maximum use of co-design – involving practitioners and students in the process of making or remixing course material, study approaches and assessment.
  • Maximising opportunities for social interaction and peer support in course design. Material delivered online can be used in a whole range of online and face-to-face blends.
  • Holding firm to a belief that technology can support education but that it’s a means to an end and not an end in itself.

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Image by Shamina Remesh. Becoming lost in a digital world CC BY-SA 2.0 

Taking all this on board in a consistent way would be a big step forward.  Although not the whole story since, as Maha Bali outlined in her presentation at the final OEPS event, open is always mediated by power and privilege.   I would argue that in the digital world that potential students inhabit addressing these issues is a necessity and not a choice if we are to meet the ambitious widening participation targets set by the Scottish Government.  But if we can get it right the advantages will accrue to all our students.

Pete Cannell

OEPS Co-Director

 

[1] http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/market-data-research/market-data/communications-market-reports/cmr15/ accessed 29 March 2016

[2] Learning Literacies in a Digital Age, Beetham et al, 2009 https://www.webarchive.org.uk/wayback/archive/20140614200958/http://www.jisc.ac.uk/publications/briefingpapers/2009/learningliteraciesbp.aspx#downloads

Equality and diversity and open education

Guest blog by David Bass, Scotland Programme Manager, Equality Challenge Unit

 

I recently had the pleasure of attending the OEPS conference and participating in an insightful conversation on inclusive and democratic learning. Pete Cannell (full disclosure – we’ve worked with Pete and OEPS on our own open resource) talked about the centrality of open approaches to the future of widening access, and Maha Bali invited us to question who benefited from open arrangements, and whether access to open resources equalled increased participation.

What struck me were the similarities with our conversations at ECU on equality in colleges and Higher Education Institutions. I think applying this same framework or critique of open access to our work on equality (an ‘open lens’ if you will) leads to valuable insights and learning. It’s also likely that open resources themselves could be important tools in mainstreaming and effectively involving more people in equality initiatives and activities.

The current model of education, as with equality and diversity, is centralised. For instance, colleges and Higher Education Institutions just published 2017 mainstreaming reports (required reports on how equality is embedded in the functions on an institution and published every 4 years under the Scottish specific duties of the Equality Act). In the reports, a lot of the activity focused on raising awareness and engagement in equality and diversity took the form of large scale training for staff and students.

And so the questions that OEPS were asking themselves about their attempts to encourage and increase participation seemed valuable in an equality context as well. How accessible and democratic is our work on equality? We may be reaching a wider pool of people, but are we changing minds, removing barriers and truly increasing participation in this work?

Let’s take unconscious bias training as an example. I feel like as a sector we’ve talked a lot about unconscious bias, and we know it’s one of the more well-documented social psychology findings (For instance, have a look at the UC San Francisco review of unconscious bias). However, training on unconscious bias can be frustratingly ineffective, and we are still learning how to engage people, how to change behaviour, and how to teach each other what initiatives have been effective in different contexts and why. Open resources then, as far as they can enable local ownership and development, could be a possible tool for getting more people involved in ways relevant to their local context, and perhaps, for actually changing people’s behaviours in relation to unconscious bias. Interestingly, these seem like the same factors that lead to more effective training outcomes (read Harvard Business Review’s recent take on making unconscious bias training more effective).

This logic could be applied just as well to intersectionality or equality impact assessments, or to supporting more engagement in equality areas that have historically been on the periphery of institutional activity (have a look at Strathclyde University’s online course on understanding violence against women).

The promise of open education then, is more about an approach, and an attitude towards learning than it is about technology. Open resources could be a way of developing shared ownership and engaging the different communities in our universities and colleges about what equality and diversity means for them, and about how we make all forms of education truly open and inclusive.

 

This guest post from David Bass is published as one of many celebrating Open Education linked to the OEPS final event, The Promise of Open Education. Join the conversation with the hashtag #BeOpen or view the conference proceedings

Farewell then, OEPS. What comes next?

Guest blog by John Casey, Senior Learning Technologist, City of Glasgow College. Originally published on 6th September on his blog Geronimo’s Cadillac.  

 

OEPS, (Open Educational Practices Scotland) is coming to an end, it was a 3 year project funded by the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) and operated by the Open University in Scotland – see . It was a refreshing departure from the norm of ed-tech projects in that set out to work with ‘not the usual suspects’, i.e. not the ed-tech scene, much to the ire of some faces in that scene. Instead it concentrated on working with community and third sector groups. I attended some of the meetings and found them useful and encouraging. The SFC is to be commended on funding the initiative and should engage in a longer term, more sustained funding and intervention activities in the area of open education. For reasons why, read on.

The OEPS project did not really impact much on the FE scene, which was a shame as further education has a lot to gain from open educational methods. I was discussing this with the OEPs team at one meeting and one of the useful metaphors that we came up was the notion of our educational institutions being ‘digital gated communities’. With FE being the most locked down and isolated, especially after the recent ‘reforms’ that have cut funding and left largely traditional approaches to vocational in place with the odd gesture to using technology. It’s much the same in HE (except with more money), with a democratic deficit in accountability in how these publicly funded institutions work. Open education could, and should, challenge their existing pedagogical, epistemological and economic models – might as well be ambitious! It could be used as an ‘educational design laboratory’ for Scottish education to experiment in. Without such civic and democratic initiatives from outside our educational systems will never change and improve. Indeed, if we look at history we can see that it was such actions that moved education forwards in the 19th and 20th century. Without such initiatives, we are in danger of falling prey to the perfidious discourse that permeates much of the ed-tech scene – presented as a kind of super shiny Ted Talk on a loop – which seems to fill a local and national policy vacuum and paves the way for privatisation. Here is a link to an excellent takedown of these ideas.

 

This guest post from John Casey is published as one of many celebrating Open Education in the run up to the OEPS final event, The Promise of Open Education at Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh on Monday 11th September. Sign up for the event or join the conversation before, during and after the event with the hashtag#BeOpen’. 

 

Open 5 X 5: Five open permissions meet five reasons for being an open educator

Guest post by David Porter, CEO, eCampusOntario.ca. 

This blog is a remix of a remix. A good thing in my view.

Since 2013, I’ve built upon a presentation that Clint Lalonde of BCcampus created and titled Beyond Free. The original was licensed CC BY-SA, and I’ve since added to it and updated and localized its message to suit different audiences. It remains a winner that consistently inspires instructors to rethink their practices and take a leap into the open realm.

The great thing about Clint’s original presentation was that it stated five great reasons to use OER, beyond the simple, “because it’s free” mantra. What he did in Beyond Free was to build upon the five freedoms (permissions) expressed by David Wiley in his now famous baseline definition of open content. Clint added context to those theoretical freedoms in a way that demonstrated real practice and conveyed a message of possibility to even the most reluctant open educator. The five reasons to move beyond free remain a great explanation for the open education community, and the original presentation remains a reusable and remixable template for anyone to use. Thanks, Clint.

I’m going to reprise those five great reasons in a shortened prose format. The graphic presentation version has many benefits and far more illustrations than appear here. Here are five benefits (reasons) to use open resources and open practices.

 

Benefit #1: Full legal control to customize, localize, personalize, update, translate, remix…

There is no better way make resources your own than to develop them yourself. But a close second is to exercise the provisions of Creative Commons licenses by clicking on the license logo and reading the plain language provisions of the human readable deed. No letters to authors needed, just acknowledgement of the creator with a straightforward citation. A simple, practical, generous starting point to customize an existing learning resource.

 

Benefit #2: Access to customized resources improves learning

Studies, journal articles, and research papers are pointing out what might seem obvious: when you have access to free and open learning resources at the start of your course or program, you’ll likely be successful in your studies. No financial pressures, no workarounds. You are able to concentrate on your course and give it your full effort from day one. More detailed studies are beginning to investigate the effects of localized and customized resources versus the generic textbook approaches aimed at a broadly defined population of learners. I expect localized versions of case studies, illustrations that reflect your culture, and images that engage students because they are relevant to their experience will all contribute to better open resources.

 

Benefit #3: Open provides opportunities for co-creation and more authentic resources

Terry Greene at Fleming College in Peterborough, Ontario has been engaged in a co-creation project with peers over the past year, soliciting exemplars and advice from seasoned veteran educators to provide a sourcebook for new faculty and instructors who will need support and guidance as they take on their teaching responsibilities.

The Open Faculty Patchbook: Patching Pedagogy Together, for Each Other is a contribution space by faculty for faculty, and carries on open invitation to educators to contribute their authentic experiences and advice for a new generation of higher education instructors. A printed copy of the current “patchbook” was given to new faculty at their orientation session in August 2017. It is a work in progress. Help build it.

 

Benefit #4: Collegial collaboration helps build the commons

My colleagues at BCcampus are pioneers in the use of “sprints” and professional networking among institutions to quickly and purposefully build team capacity and open resources for learners through collegial collaboration. They’ve done it all:

 

Benefit #5: Demonstrate the service mission of higher education institutions

Research, teaching and service are three key principles that guide higher education institutions. Many institutions have experimented with freely available courses in the form of MOOCs. But few have actually done so with freely available open resources and a mechanism for gaining credit through a challenge exam or prior learning assessment and recognition.

OERu.org is a consortium of 30+ higher education institutions from around the globe who have come together to prototype alternative pathways to recognized credentials for learners. The OERU.org partners are working together to provide courses from their own institution as contributions to a first-year program of study that will invite learners to participate in university level courses and also apply for assessment leading to credit towards a certificate, diploma or degree.

Every piece of content, software, and infrastructure supporting the OERu is open source or openly licensed. OERu.org is a demonstration of openness in support of the service mission of its institutional partners. OERu partners walk the open talk.

In Conclusion

Open education is more than freely available, openly licensed content resources. It is also about people, like-minded educators who see the benefits of rethinking the status-quo, and who are willing to see what will happen when we bring teaching and learning into the open.

 

David Porter, CEO

eCampusOntario.ca

davidp@ecampusontario.ca

 

This guest post from David Porter is published as one of many celebrating Open Education in the run up to the OEPS final event, The Promise of Open Education at Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh on Monday 11th SeptemberSign up for the event or join the conversation before, during and after the event with the hashtag#BeOpen’. 

#BeOpen – the value of sharing knowledge through social media

Guest post by Sue Beckingham, National Teaching Fellow and Senior Lecturer (Business Information Systems and Technology) at Sheffield Hallam University. 

I’d like to share with you how I went about developing a valued learning network through the sharing of knowledge using social media. The first thing to mention is that it took time and patience. As I learned to navigate different social spaces and developed connections with other educators, I did a lot of listening. Some may refer to this as lurking; however I’m not a fan of the term and prefer to describe this learning activity as positive silent engagement. We learn by listening and online it’s no different.

My online informal learning space began with Twitter. I developed my network by looking at who other educators followed and began to add them to my own personal learning network. I noted how helpful individual’s bios were; indicating what individual’s interests were, often including links to other profiles, for example LinkedIn, blogs and websites. Over time as my own network grew, I was blown away with the many informal learning opportunities at my fingertips; shared by the educators I was connecting with. Peers spread across the globe, were sharing articles, books, presentations, reflective blog posts, educational videos and podcasts. I was learning from educators spanning many disciplines. I also realised that Twitter and other social media spaces each have powerful search engines and alongside Google present exciting results when looking for topics of interest.

I started to share others work whenever I read something interesting that I thought would also be of interest to those within my own network. Responding to tweets indicated that I’d read them. Such interactions might start with a like and then progress to a comment or question. Letting people know you have an interest in their work can make their day! It also leads to further conversations.

As my confidence developed I began to share my own work. From the start I wanted to make this accessible to others and gave my presentations a Creative Commons licence when I uploaded them to SlideShare. These were then shared via my LinkedIn profile, Twitter and Google+. Peers started to take an interest in these and as a result I was able to get valuable feedback which helped me to further develop my thinking. I made a concerted effort to add my publications and projects to my LinkedIn profile, ResearchGate, Academia.edu, and my own university’s research archive repository SHURA. Within these spaces you have the option to upload files, making your work more accessible to a wider community.

Coming back to Twitter as an open sharing space for sharing knowledge, I’d recognised the value of tweetchats which were being used in the US by educators as a forum for discussions. In 2014 with my friend Chrissi Nerantzi we started a pilot tweet chat called #LTHEchat Learning and Teaching in Higher Education Chat. It soon became popular and continues to take place every Wednesday at 8pm (with the exception of short breaks over the summer, Christmas and Easter). Each week we discuss a different topic relating to learning and teaching suggested by a guest, who also composes six questions. This is a fun and engaging way to share knowledge relating to the topic. You can follow @LTHEchat for updates on forthcoming chats.

When attending conferences and events, check out the hashtag that is being used. Start making connections on Twitter and LinkedIn with the people you meet in person. It’s a great way to extend your network and gain access to more openly shared knowledge. I hope this encourages you to find new ways to share your knowledge and to #BeOpen through social media.

 

This guest post from Sue Beckingham is published as one of many celebrating Open Education in the run up to the OEPS final event, The Promise of Open Education at Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh on Monday 11th September. Sign up for the event or join the conversation before, during and after the event with the hashtag#BeOpen’. 

 

 

 

 

OEPS shortlisted for Global Game Changers Award

The Opening Educational Practices in Scotland (OEPS) project has been shortlisted for a Global Game Changers Award in the category of ‘Collaboration for change’. This category recognises

‘a new or completed project developed through a Triple Helix approach. Where a university or college has joined forces with representatives from industry and government on an initiative that offers a solution to a societal problem at a local, national or international level.’

The award nomination is for OEPS partnership with Dyslexia Scotland and Education Scotland developing a suite of courses on dyslexia and inclusive practice.

The first online course, ‘Introduction to Dyslexia and Inclusive Practice’, was co-designed and developed in March 2017 and can be undertaken at a learners own pace in around 3 hours of study. To date 801 people have enrolled, with 149 badges earned for the first module so far.

Aimed at practitioners and educators the free online course enables participants to understand and identify dyslexia and requires no financial outlay for employers or users. The course has been developed specifically with the Scottish context in mind as explained in this case study from Frances Ranaldi, Development Officer at Education Scotland.

The badged course uses a reflective log to help learners develop their understanding of dyslexia and inclusive practice, covering topics such as current legislation and how to support those with dyslexia.

Dr. Pete Cannell, Director of OEPS said ‘We are delighted to be shortlisted for the Global Game Changers Award for our collaborative work with Dyslexia Scotland and Education Scotland in creating and developing this suite of open educational courses. Any resource is only as good as those who know about it so hopefully the #GlobalGameChangers awards will raise awareness and encourage more participants to develop their skills, with an end goal of providing even better support for learners with dyslexia.’

Two further open courses (Supporting Dyslexia and Inclusive Practice and Dyslexia: Identification and Support) which build on the skills acquired in the Introduction to Dyslexia and inclusive practice coursewill be available in September 2017 and January 2018, respectively. The courses form part of the Dyslexia Scotland / Addressing Dyslexia Toolkit collection of courses, which are linked to the OEPS Collection of free resources on open educational practices in Scotland.

 

Both Frances Ranaldi and Pete Cannell will talk more about this partnership at our free conference ‘The Promise of Open Education‘ – come along to hear more about this innovative collaboration or join the conversation online before, during and after the free conference with hashtag #BeOpen.

Let’s stop reinventing the wheel and #BeOpen to sharing our work

Guest blog by Linda Lapere, Lecturer in Education at the University of Dundee.

As someone who has worked in education for 19 years I am familiar with many different forms of online learning and web-based materials but had never heard of Open Education. When I saw the hashtag #OpenEd I was keen to find out more.Linda Lapere #BeOpen

In education, we are traditionally extraordinarily good at reinventing the wheel which thankfully, is slightly reducing in the digital age we are now living thanks to a multitude of educational websites. However, many of these operate as businesses, charging educators either for downloading their resources or accessing their website. I see Open Education as a means of embracing equality in education. Firstly, we are all professionals and can surely evaluate the usefulness and quality of resources independently as not everything which is online will necessarily be correct or appropriate for your learners. Secondly, not all educators can afford the subscriptions some websites are charging (some are more than your average gym membership) so again this levels out the playing field. I always find it interesting that education is one of the few professions where teachers spend their own money on resources – do doctors buy their patients drugs? Thought not.

Open Education means that all educators have access to free resources which can be edited and reused as you see fit. This can save us all time both in researching concepts and what the current research is saying as well as the time it takes to create these resources. Often laptops and pcs provided by educational establishments have restricted access to either certain websites or software sometimes making it difficult to create the kind of resource which would benefit your learners. It also requires a certain amount of skill to produce some of these resources such as video editing, enhancing graphics or creating interactive presentations and unfortunately we do not always have these precise skills.  However, if this kind of material, particularly videos or interactive resources are already available through Open Education it can only benefit those in education.

I feel the challenges with Open Education are encouraging this sense of community amongst those in education, both current teachers and our students as well as the huge range of possibilities for its use. Let’s stop reinventing the wheel and sharing our free expertise instead to help others in the profession!

 

This guest post from Linda Lapere is published as one of many celebrating Open Education in the run up to the OEPS final event, The Promise of Open Education at Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh on Monday 11th September. Sign up for the event 

How I became involved in Open Education, or how I was doing it all along and didn’t know……

Guest blog by Marion Kelt , librarian at Glasgow Caledonian University.

Like most things in Marion world, my involvement in Open Education kind of grew on me like a fungus! It turned out that I had been developing, building and sharing resources for years, without realising that this was Open Education in practice!

It all started when I was working as a Subject Librarian and I was fairly new to the wonderful world of web page building. I found myself all alone one Summer with 500 nurses to train in CINAHL searching! I didn’t have time to get a video together, and resources like Camtasia were not commonly available. For ages we had been using the usual worksheets with screenshots for small scale practical training. This was fine but I needed something to take care of the (I nearly said Dothraki hordes) larger groups of students.

So, I had an idea. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could somehow use the worksheets as the basis for an online training session. I started to play around on my PC, and before I knew it, I had a split screen tutorial using frames. It was pretty primitive compared with what we can produce now, but I was very proud of it! Funnily enough, at the same time, the inHale project came up with the “guide at the side” set of tutorials! I found myself at eLit presenting my system at the same time as them! Small world…..

Anyway, roll forward a few years and we were still using what we now called the 24-7 database tutor as a backup for our practical sessions. We found that our students preferred the human touch, but were happy to have the online resource as a fall back option.

I started becoming aware of the world of OERs, which were then called RLOs (Reusable learning objects). However, even though I had built one, I somehow didn’t make the connection. I somehow thought that RLOs had to be on a larger scale and part of a formal project, it took me a while to understand that our wee online tutor was actually one of these mysterious objects! In the words of the immortal Homer Simpson, D’oh!

So, I was happily playing away with my tutorials, updating them and adapting them for use with a few different databases, when we got a new Librarian. Debbi Boden brought with her a resource called SMILE. This was an information literacy and communication skills training course. Guess who got the project to adapt it for use at GCU! I used a variety of OERs to add to the content and folded in our group of database tutorials.

As part of that project, I fell in with the copILot group, which aimed to promote the use of OERs in information Literacy training. This was a lot of fun and we ran several training courses round the UK – one of our key aims was to take training out from London, so we held events in Cardiff, Guildford and Glasgow. This group ended up being subsumed into the larger Information Literacy Group of CILIP.

I was still updating and adding to SMILE when we decided to share it, the Dreamweaver files are available on edShare at http://edshare.gcu.ac.uk/id/document/6056 but we have since updated it and made it mobile friendly, you can see it as part of our main library web site at http://www.gcu.ac.uk/library/smile/

SMILE had a “big brother” package known as PILOT which was aimed at postgraduates and post-doctoral researchers, so I got another project to update these files and tailor them to GCU use. We originally made this available as Dreamweaver files (available at http://edshare.gcu.ac.uk/id/document/6059) or you can view the newest, mobile friendly version on our website at http://www.gcu.ac.uk/library/pilot/

Along with the development work on these OERs, I got interested in how institutions were going about sharing and licensing them. When I talked to our staff, they said that they were not sure where they stood with regard to official policy, as this seemed to vary by school or department. It became clear that we needed an institutional policy. The need for this was underscored by our edShare@GCU project. This aimed to implement a new multimedia educational resource repository to take over from the hardware and software developed as part of the Spoken Word Project. This involved scoping requirements and an audit of the files already developed and used at GCU. The policy and multimedia repository were developed in tandem, and we now have the GCU institutional OER policy (free to download and repurpose from http://edshare.gcu.ac.uk/id/document/11345 ) and a fully functional edShare system https://edshare.gcu.ac.uk/ which is in turn indexed by Google.

We were so proud of this project, that we attended meetings and talked about it quite a bit! Toby Hanning and I have appeared in some OEPS case studies and have presented at a variety of conferences. However, there has been no time to sit back and relax! Now the real work of training and advocacy has begun in earnest. We have added impetus due to our various remote campuses and the need to develop and deliver high quality multimedia teaching resources.

Along with providing our users with the means to store and share resources, we also need to back this up with clear advice on copyright (not everyone’s favourite topic!) and Creative Commons licensing. This got us thinking further about a way to provide online copyright guidance. We got together a working group and have produced a prototype version of the GCU copyright advisor. You can try it out yourself here http://edshare.gcu.ac.uk/2707/2/index.html This is not a finished version, as we still have snagging to do, but we have had to put it on the back burner while we implemented a new library system over the Summer!

We have also shared our “working out” with flowcharts and scripts available here http://edshare.gcu.ac.uk/id/eprint/2706 . Not content with that we created a short movie about the project which you can view at https://edshare.gcu.ac.uk/cgi/embed_player?docid=20349

So, it turns out that OERs are a bit of an octopus thing, tentacles spread everywhere, and once you start seeing connections and possibilities, you can get quite carried away with it all! That is what has happened to me, I have evolved from a Subject Librarian to my new (ish) post as Open Access and Research Librarian. I am now officially tasked with promoting OERs across GCU (and beyond!)

I have many presentations and articles on our OER projects at GCU. Listing them out here may not make thrilling reading, but you can find them all listed under my name on edShare. Enjoy!

 

This guest post from Marian Kelt is published as one of many celebrating Open Education in the run up to the OEPS final event, The Promise of Open Education at Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh on Monday 11th September. Sign up for the event or join the conversation before, during and after the event with the hashtag#BeOpen’.

 

Pic attribution: ‘Brigham Young University faculty survey seeks to advance open education through academic libraries‘ by OpenSource.Com, CC BY SA 2.0

#101 Open stories – Sheila’s story

Guest blog by Sheila MacNeill, Senior Lecturer (Digital Learning), Glasgow Caledonian University. Originally published on 29th March on her blog HowSheilaseesIT.

‘I’ve been thinking about my OER story or stories. Where to begin? I wish I had the time and the ability to weave a tale worthy of Scheherazade. One full of poetry, wishes, fantastic voyages and the odd djinn.  One that would keep Vice Chancellors awake till just after the midnight hour (aka TEF/REF/NSS results publications).  One that would entice them to fully embrace open education. However,  if I want to get something done this week  all I can do is share my experiences and some reflections my open journey so far.

My involvement in the open education world has been quite long and varied.  It started during my time at Cetis. We were supporting open standards and open source, had been part of the whole learning object thang,  so OERs and wider open educational practice were a natural addition to our remit. I was involved in our first OER briefing paper, was one of the first OLNet fellows back in 2009 when I went to Mexico to the OCWC conference to find out more about that community.  I probably should do a time line of open stuff I’ve been involved in . . .

I think my open story is very much an evolving, personal one.  Open practice has become an increasingly important part of my working life. I’ve never been “hard core” open, in the sense that it’s never taken up 100% of my time. Even back when I worked with Cetis I wasn’t involved directly in the support of the Jisc/HE OER programmes, I was of course influenced by them and did try to filter the open element to other Jisc programmes I was involved in at the time.

Sharing has always been at the heart of my professional practice. When we were made to blog at Cetis it actually opened a whole new level of professional interaction and personal reflection for me.  At the time I didn’t really consider this as open practice, but now I really do.  Openly sharing and reflecting has connected me to so many colleagues across the globe.  That has been equally rewarding and enriching. It has lead to conversations and sharing of practice and ideas.  This open story of mine probably hasn’t  changed that much in the last two years.

I think that my experiences of open learning has been, to use a phrase I don’t really like, “game changing” for me. Back in 2011/12 in the heady days of MOOCs I probably signed up for a few too many of them but I really wanted to understand this aspect of open from a learners point of view. I still am a recovering Mooc-aholic. I still slip off the wagon now and again, but it’s not the same as it was back in the old days . . .

My experience as an open learner really helped me to focus and reflect on my own approaches to learning, my own practice in terms of my approaches to learning design, to learner engagement, to peer support, to assessment. In fact all the things I do now as part of my job.  It also introduced me to another set of fantastically diverse, open learners and educators. People like Penny who is one of the organisers of the 101 stories project.

Open-ness is now a habit for me. It’s part of my practice, but it has natural (and at time imposed) peaks and troughs. Not everything can or should be open. I often find it a struggle to keep open on my agenda. I’m still working out my own praxis with open-ness.  I’m doing this through the work of many open education researchers, people like Catherine Cronin whose work provokes and inspires me, and leads me to many others who are working in this field.

Open education isn’t a fairy tale, but it does confront some vary salient, moral and ethical issues around education.  Including but not limited to: who can access education and publicly funded resources/data/research findings.  What rights do staff have over materials they produce whilst working for institutions?  Open-ness doesn’t automatically lead to a happy ending.  It has many twists and turns, just like the stories of the Arabian Nights. It might be a bit like The Force in Star Wars, surrounding us and binding us. . . but that’s a story for another day.

Today as the UK takes a leap into the unknown and to closing of borders and creation of barriers, we need open stories more than ever. We need these stories to permeate, to keep open on the wider political agenda. To keep people talking about open, in the open.’

 

This guest post is published as the first of many celebrating Open Education in the run up to the OEPS final event, The Promise of Open Education at Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh on Monday 11th September. Sign up for the event or join the conversation before, during and after the event with the hashtag#BeOpen’.

 

This post was originally published as part of the #101 open stories series. It was published on HowSheilaseesIT under Creative Commons License . It is republished under the same CC BY NC SA licence.

Developing business models for open, online education

In the latest addition to the OEPS collection of reports and briefings we reflect on the ways that institutions are engaging with open education.   The report considers emerging models under six broad and often interconnected categories:

  • Institutional Profile
  • Public Good
  • Knowledge Exchange
  • Curriculum Development
  • Educational Transitions and Widening Participation
  • Professional Development and Communities of Practice

The report discusses the opportunities and challenges for institutions and concludes that ‘genuinely sustainable business models will depend on combining policy and practice across a range of different areas of application.’

You can download the report here. It will be added to the OEPS Legacy Collection.

Workshop Gamestorming with Sunni Brown on June 6th 2013 in Amsterdam organized by Business Models Inc.

Workshop Gamestorming by Sebastiaan ter Burg licensed as CC BY 2.0