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#OEPSForum4 Online Registration is now open!

The online registration for #OEPSforum4 on Wednesday 9 March 2016 at Stirling Court Hotel, Stirling is now open. The event is free of charge and lunch will be provided.

To register for this event and find out more about parallel workshops, please visit our event on EventBrite:

Eventbrite - OEPS Forum 3

#OEPSforum4 Programme

Wednesday 9th March 10:00am – 4:00pm, Stirling Court Hotel, Stirling University


Time Programme
10:00 – 10:30 Registration, Posters and Networking
10:30 – 11:15 Keynote

Keynote contributions from Josie Fraser (Social and Educational Technologist)

11:15 – 11:30 Introduction of our workshop sessions
 11:30 – 12:30 Workshop A (for everyone to participate): Designing a strategic approach to increase the use of OER and OEP in Scotland
12:30 – 13:30 Lunch, Posters and Networking
13:30 – 14:30 Parallel workshops (session 1)
  1B) Using OER – what does good practice look like?
  1C) Changing culture, changing practice
  1D) Open education and digital engagement through a widening participation lens
14:30 – 14:45 Break
 14:45 – 15:45 Parallel workshops (session 2)
  2B) Using OER – what does good practice look like?
  2C) Changing culture, changing practice
  2D) Open education and digital engagement through a widening participation lens
15:45-16:00 Closing Plenary

Everyone takes part in Workshop A: Designing a strategic approach to increase the use of OER and OEP in Scotland

This workshop presents an opportunity to discuss the strategic drivers, barriers and challenges to the use of OER and OEP within the formal and informal learning sectors. It is an opportunity to share experiences of OER and OEP and to consider what more could be done strategically and practically to increase their use. The workshop will contribute to the development of a draft strategic framework for OER and OEP in Scotland.

You will have the option to choose two out of the other three workshops :

Workshop B: Using OER – what does good practice look like?

This will be a participative facilitated session that will provide the opportunity for open education practitioners from the formal and informal sectors to speak about their experiences of using OER and for everyone to ask questions, discuss and analyse the characteristics of good practice.

Workshop C: Changing culture, changing practice

#OEPSForum3 identified that one of the key challenges for OER and OEP is not just about changing practice but is also about changing institutional culture. This workshop will focus on how we can change institutional and organizational culture and will discuss some of the challenges in making use of Open Educational Resources and Open Educational Practices in your context.

Workshop D: Open education and digital engagement through a widening participation lens

Learning takes place in a world that is permeated by digital technology. How well do we support the development of the basic skills that are required for participation in this world? How well do we understand the relationship between the skills for participation and the literacy skills required for effective learning in further and higher education?

OEPS weekly update – 6 March 2015

This is the first of what we plan to be weekly updates on the project’s partnership and outreach activity. Normally we’ll cover the last five days but this time we thought we’d include the previous week too!

In the week beginning 23 February we had a number of discussions about using open educational materials to support democratic participation in Scottish society. We’ll be pursuing these in the coming months. Pete Cannell had an initial meeting with the Poverty Alliance and joined a discussion organised by Scottish Union Learning where we shared ideas about the development of Open Learning Champions with project workers from some of the main unions in Scotland. We also hosted the regular meeting of the OEPS Steering group where we reported on the progress of the project to date, including the plans for the OEPS hub website. A written report will be published on this blog shortly.

Ronald was putting the finishing touches to a report on the work we have been doing with rural schools in the Highlands using OER and OpenScienceLab, in part prompted by the upcoming deadline for OER15 where we are presenting on Wed the 15th of April, and partly so that we can assess what worked within the pilot and look at the next steps.

Ronald was also at the Scottish Union Learn Everyday Skills conference running a workshop to explore how we might encourage digital participation through and for education, it was a very insightful event and we learnt a great deal about how to support Union Learning organisers. It was a rich conversation and you can find more at the twitter hashtag #sules15

This week Pete met with the E-Learning Alliance and Pete and Ronald started discussions on how to produce an OER version of gender equality materials produced by the Teacher Education in Malawi project. Pete’s also developed a draft of a workshop and materials to support the development of Open Learning Champions which we will revise and refine following feedback from all those involved.

Looking ahead we have preparations to make around a series of workshops in Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, where we will be running a series of events in communities throughout the park using an enterprise OER Rural Entrepreneurship Scotland to structure a series of sessions exploring some of the complex problems facing remote and rural communities

Preparations for the OEPS Advisory forum on the 19th March are well in hand and we are looking forward to welcoming everyone who has signed up for this free event. We have space for a few more people to join us, so if you haven’t already booked your place, please register via Eventbrite. You can choose 2 of the 4 afternoon workshops to participate in as well as the project update and the keynote by Professor Laura Czerniewicz in the morning. For more information including workshop descriptions and the programme for the day, please read the Advisory Forum 2 blog post.



Bookings open for the OEPS Advisory Forum 2

Book now for the OEPS advisory forum

Bookings are now open for the second Opening Educational Practices in Scotland Advisory forum on Thursday 19th March 2015 at the Stirling Court Hotel, University of Stirling, FK9 4LA.

Highlights of this free one day face to face event include a keynote by Laura Czerniewicz, an update on OEPS project progress and a series of interactive workshops during the afternoon. The forum will enable you to explore the latest developments in open educational practice and pedagogy, discover how the OEPS project can help your organisation and how you can get involved. It will also help you build your network of open educational practitioners.

Professor Laura Czerniewicz is the founder and Director of the Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching (CILT) at the University of Cape Town and has worked in the field of educational technology at UCT for over a decade. She will be joining us via Video Conference.

Please book your place via the Event link on Eventbrite.

The twitter hashtag for this event is #OEPSforum2

Accommodation: The event is free.  Should you require overnight accommodation, Stirling Court Hotel is offering a reduced rate for Advisory Forum attendants at £59.00 per person per night, based on single occupancy of a double en-suite room with breakfast. To book a room, please call Stirling Court Hotel on 01786 451666 or email and quote reference number 121111.


9:30 am Registration, networking with coffee/tea
10:00 am Welcome and update from the OEPS project team
11:00 am Keynote address and questions: An international perspective on opening educational practices by Professor Laura Czerniewicz
12:15 pm Lunch
1:00 – 2:00 pm Parallel workshops 1:
1a. Exploring Openness
1b. Open, collaborative and sharing practices in Scottish Further Education Colleges
1c. The Scottish Open Education Declaration
1d. Open Education – does it work in practice?
2:00 -2:15 pm Coffee/Tea/changeover between workshops
2:15 – 3:15 pm Parallel workshops 2
2a. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
b, c and d repeated
3:15 pm – 3:30 pm Interactive plenary session

Workshop Descriptions

Parallel workshop 1a: 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm

Exploring openness

(Beck Pitt and Bea de los Arcos, Researchers at The Open University)

Description: Come and try out an OEPS workshop session and explore different ways of being open! Working together to think about what kinds of practices are open we’ll be exploring examples of openness in this interactive session.

Audience: Open to everyone but those who are interested in finding out more about what open educational practices (OEP) and open educational resources (OER) are may benefit from this most.

Parallel workshop 2a: 2:15 pm – 3:15 pm

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

(Beck Pitt and Bea de los Arcos, Researchers at The Open University)

Description: This structured session will be a chance for participants to consider the pros and cons of reuse. We’ll discuss concerns about reusing resources, debate about the challenges to reuse, share successful stories of reuse, but also identify those areas in which support is needed.

Audience: Open to everyone, both experienced in and newcomers to openness.

Parallel workshop 1b and 2b

Open, Collaborative and Sharing practices in Scottish Further Education Colleges

(Joe Wilson (CEO) and Gerry Dougan (eColleges) from the College Development Network)

Description: Joe and Gerry will give a brief outline of current practices and platforms within Scotland’s FE Sector, looking at sector specific barriers to a more open practice. These will inform a discussion on what is needed to enable open practices within the sector and a broader exploration on how to enable open educational practices more generally.

Parallel workshop 1c and 2c

The Scottish Open Education Declaration

(Lorna Campbell, JISC CETIS Assistant Director, University of Bolton)

Description: This workshop provides an opportunity to find out more about the declaration and to consider how it could be useful in your institution or organisation. The latest draft of the declaration developed by the Open Scotland network can be found at

Parallel workshop 1d and 2d

Does ‘open’ really work in practice?

(Amy Woodgate – Project Manager, Online Learning Special Projects and Stuart Nicol – Educational Design and Engagement, University of Edinburgh)

Description: A workshop to highlight the resources required and potential gains from reusing and repurposing open content, drawing on the experiences of the University of Edinburgh and collaboration partners. The session will comprise of presentations, lively discussion and practical workshop elements to identify how OEP could evolve to encourage greater use.

Key questions:

  • What are the benefits of repurposing open content?
  • What are the costs/implications?

OEPS Advisory Forum 2

As part of its mission to facilitate best practice in Scottish open education, Opening Educational Practices Scotland (OEPS) is holding its second Advisory Forum on Thursday 19th March 2015.  The project launch and first forum was held in October 2014, and future forums are planned every 6 months.

The purpose of the Forum is:

  • To explore the latest developments in open educational practice and pedagogy
  • To provide insight into practical ways to get started, deepen or enhance your understanding of OEP
  • To share the project’s progress, plans and findings
  • To explore how OEPS can help you and your organisation – and how to get involved in the project
  • To enable participants to build their own network of open educational practitioners

We do this by:

  • Bringing together leading practitioners
  • Providing workshops on leading edge topics as well as introductory sessions for those new to OEP
  • Encouraging groups from organisations to come to the forum to learn together
  • Building time into the programme for participants to network
  • Facilitating sessions where the project can learn from participants’ knowledge and experience

Further details of the programme and how to register will follow soon, however in the meantime please put the date and venue in your diary:

Thursday 19th March (9:30 am – 3:30 pm) at the Stirling Court Hotel, University of Stirling, Stirling FK9 4LA

The twitter hashtag for this event is #OEPSforum2

Battle for Open book published

by Pete Cannell (OEPS)

Martin Weller spoke on the ‘Battle for the Open’ at the first OEPS Advisory Forum in October (see and His book of the same name has now been published. It’s an open access book available in a number of formats – for details go to

OEPS hub workshop at the advisory forum

by Anna Page, OEPS project team

Andrew with a group discussing OEPS hub user stories

Andrew with a group discussing OEPS hub user stories

We ran a workshop on the OEPS hub at the advisory forum in October 2014 as part of the requirements gathering exercise for project objective C ‘Development of an online hub to encourage and share best practice in open education’. In early project team meetings and a brainstorming session we had come up with some features of the hub and I had worked these into a series of user stories. Andrew Law (Co-director of OEPS) and I decided to use the workshop as an opportunity to get user feedback from potential users on the user personas and stories to help us identify the priorities for development.

We thought that the main user groups will broadly be Practitioners (practitioners/providers/researchers) and Learners (browsers/informal learners/students). Some user stories were relevant to everyone, some more important to practitioners and some for learners. We asked each group to discuss the user stories amongst themselves from the perspective of Learner or Practitioner, make notes and try deciding if they were high, medium or low priority. Each group gave a brief summary of their discussions and asked questions.

I had explained earlier during the OEPS project team panel session that the existing OpenLearn Works platform, which provides a free public space for people to run their own free learning projects, will be further developed to fully support the OEPS hub. Planned features include adding content on good open educational practice including case studies, clearer guidance on creating and uploading OER and improvements which support communities and organisations to make the most of OER (which will include improving the user profile features, better search functionality and a recommender tool). Other important features include making the platform mobile friendly, interoperable with other platforms and technologies and support for alternative formats. The workshop gave a little more detail about these aspirations and naturally triggered plenty of questions.

commenting on the draft user stories for the OEPS hub

commenting on the draft user stories for the OEPS hub

What became clear from the discussions at both workshops was that people needed reassurance that the hub will not be just another repository (which most wouldn’t find, especially if their default search tool was Google) when there are plenty of OER repositories available already. Existing repositories are not necessarily known about by those new to OER and therefore some might be suffering from low usage.  Instead the hub aims to introduce people to the concept of open educational resources, how to use OER in practice and connect users with each other. It also aims to re-aggregate search of existing OER repositories such as JORUM, Re:Source and Solvonauts. This means the hub will need to facilitate the building of strong supportive communities of OER users and provide those communities with sandpit space for them to experiment with OER. People were very concerned that the OEPS hub would not be a silo, instead it needs to be a pool of connectedness and some people saw it as a node rather than a hub. Others cautioned us to ensure that the development of communities supported by the OEPS hub will need to come from grassroots development and growth, because such communities are likely to be much more successful than top down initiated communities. The concept of a sandpit space for practitioners was embraced.

Doug making good points about the OEPS hub

Doug making good points about the OEPS hub

OEPS hub workshop discussion group

OEPS hub workshop discussion group

One group pointed out that we had missed a persona group who have the ability to make considerable contributions to the hub – the learning technologists. This user group may want to contribute tools and code towards the further development of the hub to benefit both learners and practitioners, possibly via a learning technologist community space in the hub.

The recommender tool concept was extended – in one workshop it was pointed out that a star rating wasn’t sufficient for users whose primary goal is to find or recommend good OER – there needs to be a facility for people to feedback on how an OER had been used and what people are doing with it. This wasn’t explicit in the recommender tool user story, though had in fact already been identified as necessary functionality by the IT analyst. Most teachers would evaluate the quality of a resource before using it themselves, so finding a trustable practice-based resource which others had used successfully in their particular context was really important to them, and community building would help inform their choices of OER.

Feeding back views on OEPS hub user stories to Anna

Feeding back views on OEPS hub user stories to Anna

High priorities for the OEPS hub which emerged were:

  • Provide good trustworthy search facilities coupled with a recommender tool which guides user choice of OER they find via the search
  • Host online events to stimulate discussion, using targeted marketing to different community groups so it isn’t just the ‘usual suspects’ involved in discussing OER
  • Publish good case studies of OER and OEP
  • Provide comprehensive user guidance and good open educational practice (this would be targeted for the different user groups of the OEPS hub)
  • Mobile optimisation is essential
  • Provide information about how and why OER applies in a Scottish context, why are we investing in it
  • Provide space and guidance for practitioners to put their OER or experimental OER because a significant percentage of users are unlikely to have access to an institutional space for creating and sharing OER

People were less sure about the updates needed to the existing profile functionality, unless this development was integral to the community building feature of the OEPS hub and were keen to allow users to login using a third party profile.

For the perspectives of two people who attended the OEPS hub workshops, see and

The project team are discussing the outcomes of the OEPS hub workshops as we work towards the first IT developments to bring these aspirations for an OEP community space for Scotland into reality.

OEP in a Scottish Context

by Ronald Macintyre, OEPS project team

OEPS in the Scottish context

OEPS in the Scottish context

The question of what OEP looks like in Scotland arose at the start of the OEPS advisory forum and the end of the day – with the question of underlying values to the fore. I had alluded to some thoughts on my short slot in the morning where I looked back to an older tradition of Openness in Education within Scotland, citing miners and weavers in the C18th, and including a quote from the 1790 Statistical Account about the uncommonly high levels of literacy in Scotland that pointed to a much older tradition of education in Scotland being seen as “common social good”; a focus on access and equity ought to shape OEP in Scotland.

The Statistical Account for Scotland, from Scottish Book Town Wigtown, circa 1790 noted [uneasily] increased literacy meant … “Servility of mind, the natural consequence of poverty and oppression, has lost much of its hold here. …. An attention to publick affairs, a thing formerly unknown among the lower ranks, pretty generally prevails now.” (p17 Rose 2002)

Rose J. (2002) “The Intellectual Life of the British Working Classes”, Yale University Press, New Haven

Pete Cannell built on this in his reply looking at the way structures in Scotland like credit frameworks and the fact that Scotland is a wee place and people work together which makes for distinctive educational practices. However, when we look at OEP in a Scottish context from outside we might well listen to @UKOER managed by @dkernohan

On one level he is right, there has not been a Scottish specific OER focus, even though many of us engaged and been differentially drawn into OER/OEP through broader engagement programmes. Here I am thinking of people from JISC/CETIS, ALT, and notably GCU who have been key players in OER/OEP in the UK and Europe with numerous other education providers and individuals who have been drawn in to OEP. So perhaps one could say we have been lead and lagged behind, in that way I am not sure how different our OEP is from anywhere else. Though perhaps, with our tradition of access to education and our scale, our report card might say “could do better”

Another way to look at it might be about opportunities to do better. For example, in the UK, our telephony and most of our data is wired, while, as has well documented, some African countries have leapfrogged this intermediate and messy solution and gone straight to mobile devices. Perhaps OEP in a Scottish context can “leapfrog” lots of issues encountered by OER early adopters; certainly the narrative shift from resources onto practices tells us something, it suggests a maturing context. In the workshop, with the help of giant coloured post it notes, we mapped what the focus on Open and Educational Practice might mean in a Scottish context. As noted on twitter, messy.

Tag Cloud of OEP in Scottish Context

Tag Cloud of OEP in Scottish Context

While one might question how valid an analysis a tag cloud is, it certainly helps clear things up a bit. Stripping out words like ‘Education’, ‘Practice’ what seems to stand out is; ‘Access’, ‘Collaboration/Sharing/Cooperation’, ‘RPL/APL’, and writ large ‘Learning’ and ‘Learners’. Looking through the actual comments what seems to emerge is Access in relation to the accessibility of resources but also what they might enable educators and learners to access, and this is often linked to questions around RPL/APL. Comparing this with my notes from the workshop we seemed to hang on the [Scottish] “Enlightenment” post it and the sense that in Scotland education is a something open to all and whose benefits are shared by all. These values were taken as a given, and people quickly moved on to what does Open enable Educational Practices to do. Yes, sharing and collegiality between educators in Scotland, it’s a wee place; we can work together, but to what end. Does being open do something, something we cannot otherwise achieve? What seemed to emerge was that openness allows educators to share good practice and enhances the learners experience, but in order for the benefits of that learning to be shared by all the community we need to engage with the thorny issue of how we recognise that learning, and beyond recognition, accreditation.

What does this tell us about OEP in a Scottish context? My sense is that what emerged from the day was a stage that we can “leapfrog”, partly because some of those in Scotland have experience of those early battles, and partly because some do not. It means the discourse accounts for, but is no longer simply about how we enable openness, but a maturing focus on what openness enables. It is an acknowledgement that Scotland is a wee place and links between sectors allow us to “do things” that might not work elsewhere, a focus on the learner, and the learning journey, and questions around how openness supports and enhances the journey. I suppose my underlying sense is of the start of the conversation about what this means.

For more information about developments in RPL in Scotland see

Photos of the OEPS advisory forum 2014

A selection of photos of the OEPS advisory forum and project launch:

OEPS advisory forum photos on Flickr