Category Archives: Progress
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.’
Workshop Gamestorming by Sebastiaan ter Burg licensed as CC BY 2.0
As the OEPS project draws to a close, there is much to celebrate. We are pleased to share the growing collection of open courses, resources, case studies and open practice guidance which the project has helped produce and showcase the online platform, OpenLearn Create, which the project has helped further develop for hosting open materials and practices and where the OEPS collection is hosted.
In the OEPS collection:
Resources for OEP includes case studies on how other people and institutions have used open educational resources and practices; guidance on ways of finding, using, creating and sharing high quality open educational resources (OER) and how to use open educational practices and research on open education. These are worth exploring to find something which might be similar to your own experience and give you encouragement to continue investigating the fascinating world of open learning and what it enables for so many people.
The OEPS team have written two courses about open educational practices, Becoming an open educator and Supporting Collective learning in workplace and community settings and have also been involved in co-authoring a course about creating courses – How to make an open online course.
OEPS also worked with the Scottish Association of Marine Science (SAMS) to create a short course called My seaweed looks weird for post graduate learners about seaweed aquaculture to explore best practice in seaweed cultivation.
We have produced two short resources introducing secondary school children to using the Open Science Lab tools to enhance their learning of Analysing pesticides or testing for genetic variations using quantitative PCR analysis (polymerase chain reaction). Early in the OEPS project these were piloted with two schools in Scotland and have been revised slightly as a result of the pilot.
Courses developed with OEPS or inspired by it:
Early in the project The Open University in Scotland produced 3 badged open courses for carers which carry the OEPS badge design – see the OU in Scotland collection for Caring Counts: a self-reflection and planning course for carers, Caring Counts in the Workplace and Reflecting on Transitions.
We are working with Parkinson’s UK on their collection of courses and Dyslexia Scotland and Addressing Dyslexia Toolkit on a collection of courses. So far Understanding Parkinson’s and Introduction to Dyslexia and Inclusive Practice have been published and each organisation has worked with OEPS to develop more courses which are coming soon.
More recently we’re pleased to see that the OEPS project has encouraged independent course creation – see the free resource for teachers Grow your own loaf created by the Royal Highland Education Trust, inspired by the OEPS project and hosted online as the result of the availability of the free open platform which the OEPS project has helped improve.
Using the OEPS collection
We hope that you will find the OEPS collection useful, not only as a legacy of the project but also as a place to find and share information on open educational practice. The collection can be updated so please contact the OLC team if you would like to contribute to it.
‘The promise of open education’ conference is the final event of the OEPS project. It will take place on Monday 11th September in Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh. Further details about the event will be made available soon, however please save the date in your diaries.
I attended the mini conference ‘Open Badges: what, why and how’ at the University of Dundee on 19th June. Dundee is working with the Universities of Abertay and Aberdeen, under the aegis of the QAA Scotland Transitions Enhancement Theme, to explore the use of Open Badges. The focus of the project is on transitions from university to employment and the use of badges to recognise employability skills through extra- and co-curricular activity. The University of Abertay already has some really interesting experience of using this approach with their LLB students. The conference also included presentations from Grainne Hamilton on her work at Digital Me and Doug Belshaw who looked at the future of Open Badges in a talk titled ‘Open Badges in Higher Education: 2.0 infinity and beyond!’.
Still on the theme of transitions the Open University’s suite of Badged Open Courses (BOCS) on OpenLearn. There are now seventeen available. The majority are concerned with supporting transitions from informal to formal learning. However, the latest addition to the collection is ‘Succeeding in postgraduate study’ aimed at supporting the transition from undergraduate to postgraduate study. Whilst this free, openly licensed course was written by the OU, it will be of interest to colleagues across Scottish higher education and applicable to any student making the transition to postgraduate study in Scotland. The selection of Badged Open Courses on OpenLearn Create also continues to grow, including the OEPS collection.
We’ve published a number of interesting case studies and best practice examples over the past 6 weeks. To help keep you up-to-date, here’s a quick round up of the latest posts. Explore these and other case studies on oeps.ac.uk.
- Collaborating to build “a city of information literacy, a city of Wikipedia” features Ewan McAndrew, Wikimedian in Residence at The University of Edinburgh. If you’re interested in finding out more about how Wikipedia ensures entries contain “fact checked information”, ideas for using Wikipedia in your teaching or are curious about what an edit-a-thon is you’ve come to the right place!
- Find out more about how the Social Innovation Academy led by Edinburgh’s People Know How use OER to enable community focused training in partnership with a range of organisations. How did the scheme benefit participants and what’s next for this exciting collaboration?
- Read more about how students are using Wikibooks to co-create open textbooks and critically engage with their own use of social media platforms as part of The University of Stirling’s Digital Media and Culture module led by lecturer Greg Singh in Using OER to Test Assumptions… If you’re thinking of using open knowledge platforms in your teaching, don’t miss reading Greg’s advice!
Have you got an idea for a case study or open educational practice you want to feature? Get in touch! We’d love to hear from you. Tweet @BeckPitt and @OEPScotland or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Group brainstorm photo (People Know How: Used with Permission); Greg Singh (used with permission) and Edinburgh Gothic – Wikipedia editathon for Robert Lewis Stevenson Day 09.jpg by Mihaela Bodlovic (http://www.aliceboreasphotography.com) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
In September 2016 we published a post on the openly licensed, online course ‘Foundations for Self Directed Support in Scotland’. The course was commissioned by the Scottish Government and developed by the Open University in Scotland together with the Open University’s Faculty of Health and Social Care.
The evaluation report produced by the development team describes how engagement with the course was fostered through the use of workplace and community ambassadors. The course has been successful in attracting a large number of users. Moreover there is evidence from the evaluation that where learners were able to engage in peer interaction in the workplace levels of retention and achievement were high and had an impact on wider workplace culture.
The course team has now published an annexe to the evaluation report that provides templates for the face-to-face workshops that were used to encourage successful participation. The report and its annexe provide a valuable insight into the value of combining well designed open online courses with supportive and contextualised practice. The annexe includes the full set of six workshop designs as a single pdf document and also as a Word file that is openly licensed and can be disaggregated, edited and reversioned.
As you might be aware, OEPS have conducted a large number of workshops on different facets of open practice with organisations and institutions across Scotland over the past two years. Perhaps the team has visited where you’re based or you caught taster sessions of workshops at an OEPS Forum?
As part of the OEPS commitment to openness, we’re proud to announce that the first set of reusable workshop content is now available. This content relates to the Thinking about Open workshops that myself and Bea developed and facilitated. The workshop content is CC BY licensed and we invite you to reuse it in any way you see fit! You could facilitate a similar workshop, reuse any of the activities and content or simply review it for ideas. The choice is yours!
So what is Thinking about Open?
Thinking About Open is a half-day workshop exploring what openness and open educational practices are. The workshop aims to help instigate discussion at your organisation on how openness could make a difference to your own practices whilst acting as a springboard for further discussion on the practicalities of open practice. The workshop utilises a range of case studies and examples of openness to help facilitate discussion.
This workshop is aimed at anyone with an interest in finding out more about openness and how it can make a difference to their own practice. [REF]
Various iterations of the workshop were delivered at 7 different college and higher education institutions across Scotland, as well as as taster sessions at various OEPS forums, over the past 18 months. We received positive feedback about the workshop from participants, for example:
“The ‘Thinking about Open’ session Beck and Bea facilitated for a range of UHI colleagues was both timely and excellent. It broadened and deepened the range of ways in which we could consider and approach open educational practice, and how an open ethos could be reflected in individual and collective practice within our own institutional context. We have already begun to further explore issues and ideas introduced during the workshop, and to identity practical and strategic next steps that we can take.”
Professor Keith Smyth, University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI), Inverness (November 2016)
Thank you so much to everyone who hosted and participated in a workshop!
The CC BY licensed workshop pack is comprised of four parts:
- Instructions (a guide on how to facilitate the workshop, with activities and suggestions)
- Slide deck
- “What is Open” case studies (Activity)
- Challenges most frequently faced when using OER (Activity)
This month is a busy time for the project with ten workshops scheduled between now and the end of September. The majority are learning design events. Two of the design workshops involve the Equality Challenge Unit and a consortium of universities and colleges. The aim is to produce an open course for teachers that supports efforts to increase the number of young women choosing to specialise in STEM subjects. Later in the month we will meet with staff from The University of Strathclyde to work on the first stage of planning a open CPD course for pharmacists. On the theme of teacher CPD we are also facilitating a first stage design workshop for a project aimed at producing a Scots Language course.
However, the design workshops are not simply aimed at OER production. We will also be using participatory design methods to help Unite the Union and the Poverty Alliance think through student centred approaches to the curation of free online resources. In addition we are meeting with members of the Learning for Sustainability network to think through the links between open practice and the specific needs of educators in this inter-disciplinary area with a view to designing a workshop or workshops for a wider audience.
Towards the end of the month we will be running our ‘Thinking about Open’ workshop for the University of the Highlands and Islands in Inverness and the College Development Network in Stirling.