Blog Archives

#OEPSforum2 – Lorna’s blog post about her workshop

Lorna Campbell has kindly allowed OEPScotland to reblog her post about the Scottish Open Educational Declaration #OEPSforum2 workshop, which was published on OpenScotland on 30th March 2015.  She has also provided a useful overview of Laura Czerniewicz’s keynote in this post.

OEPS Forum and ways forward for the Scottish Open Education Declaration

Earlier this month I went along to the second Opening Educational Practices in Scotland Forum where I’d been invited to present an update on the Scottish Open Education Declaration.

OEPS Update

The event began with an update from the OEPS Project team outlining their progress in supporting a network of open education practitioners, developing a Scottish open education hub, collating case studies and supporting the development of new content and practice. There was considerable discussion as to the role of the hub, which has been revised following discussions at the first OEPS forum. Although the hub will facilitate aggregated OER search, it will focus more on being a community hub for open education practice. For a comprehensive update on OEPS progress, the project recently published their first report here: First OEPS Project Report.

An international perspective on opening educational practices – Laura Czerniewicz

Undoubtedly the highlight of the morning, was Laura Czerniewicz remote presentation from Cape Town on international perspectives on opening educational practices. Laura spoke about how openness and the internet have reconfigured the post traditional education landscape and presented a series of case studies from South Africa. Laura went on to suggest that open education exists in an extremely contested and complex environment. In Africa there has been some scepticism about open education as it is seen as an extension of the commodification of knowledge, however Africa has a strong narrative culture of sharing which can be harnessed to encourage the sharing of open education resources and practice (Jane-Frances Agabu, National Open University of Nigeria). One of the most interesting and challenging points Laura raised in her presentation centred on the legitimacy of piracy as a means of sharing educational content in the face of rising text books costs.

“Is it unethical to want to be educated or is it unethical to charge so much for books? To have to pay that amount when you can’t afford it?”

A valid question indeed.

Towards the end of her talk Laura also discussed the potentially valuable role of open education policy, although she also cautioned:

“Policy is great, but policy without budget can be problematic.”

This is certainly a point I would agree with.  In order to make an impact, policy ideally needs to be backed up by adequate resources and funding, however this also begs the question of how to support unfunded policies that emerge from the community such as the Scottish Open Education Declaration.

The Scottish Open Education Declaration – the way forward

In the afternoon I presented two workshops on future directions for the Scottish Open Education Declaration, (slides from these workshops are available here). The second draft of the Declaration was published by Open Scotland in December 2014, after receiving a small amount of very welcome funding from the OEPS Project. Shortly afterwards, the ALT Scotland SIG forwarded the declaration to Angela Constance, the new Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning.  Although Open Scotland has not been in a position to actively promote and disseminate the declaration recently, primarily due to lack of funding, it was evident from participants at the workshops that there still seems to be real appetite across all sectors of Scottish education to continue taking the Declaration forward. Several participants said that they had found the declaration useful for raising awareness of open education within their own institution and for triggering discussions about open education at policy level. The Scottish Funding Council also appear to see some merit in the Declaration and during discussions with workshop participants and members of both Open Scotland and the OEPS Project, we were able to identify several steps to take the Declaration forward.

Evidencing the Declaration

While the Declaration may have some value as an aspirational statement of intent, clearly it will carry considerably more weight if each point can be evidenced by examples of existing practice in Scotland and further afield.   Examples of existing practice could be crowd sourced and collected via the Declaration Comment Press site and collated from evidence gathered by the OEPS Project.

Evidence of Impact

In order to highlight the value of both open education and the Declaration at government level it would be useful to be able to provide evidence of positive impact.  Assessing the impact of open education initiatives is always difficult as quantitative measures have a tendency to miss the bigger picture and, arguably, the ethos of open education.  Gathering qualitative user stories and case studies is likely to be a more useful way to provide evidence of the impact of the Declaration. The case studies being collated by the OEPS Project will hopefully be of particular value here, but continued efforts should be made to gather user stories from across the sector.

Harmonising the Declaration with current policy

When the first version of the Declaration was drafted in early 2014, we made a conscious effort to ensure that it tied in with Scottish Government policies and strategic objectives. Clearly the policy landscape has changed over the last twelve months and it would be useful to revisit the Declaration to ensure that it supports current policy particularly with regard of formal and informal learning, social inclusion and widening access.

Engaging Universities Scotland

A number of bodies and agencies have been identified that could potentially provide valuable support for the Declaration, one of which is Universities Scotland. Although an encouraging number of university colleagues have already made valuable contributions to the declaration, it would be beneficial to engage senior managers to ensure that open education is supported at policy level across the higher education sector.

Engaging schools, colleges and the third sector

It is important that the Declaration represents all sectors of Scottish education; therefore it is critical that we find routes to engage not just higher education but also schools, colleges and the third sector. We would welcome suggestions from colleagues as to how to raise awareness of the Declaration and encourage engagement with open education across all sectors of Scottish education.

The Scottish Open Education Declaration is an open community draft and we continue to encourage all those with an interest in open education in Scotland and beyond to comment on the document here

This blog post is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License CC BY

#OEPSforum2 – Scottish Open Education Declaration

At the #oepsforum2 on 19 March Lorna Campbell facilitated a workshop on the Scottish Open Education Declaration. Lorna’s slides can be accessed via the link below:

We hope to share Lorna’s reflections on the discussion at the workshop in a few days.

First OEPS project report is published

The OEPS advisory forum on 19th March is fast approaching so this seems like the ideal time to publish our first ‘OEPS project report’ which gives details of what the project team have done in the first 10 months of the project. We continually review what we are doing as we embed evaluation into all strands of project activity, so compiling the report for the recent OEPS Steering Group meeting gave us a good opportunity to collate all our activities into one place and reflect on progress so far.

The report includes the following sections:

  1. Introduction
  2. Developing a network and sharing practice
  3. Developing a Scottish hub for Open Educational Practice
  4. Developing case study examples and achieving the research outputs
  5. Supporting the development of new content and new practice
  6. Learning from the practices and approaches associated with already existing OER
  7. Open Badges, BOCs and transitions
  8. The Scottish Open Education Declaration
  9. Emerging patterns and challenges

The report also includes a list of the current active partners and a reminder of the project outputs.

You can download and read the first OEPS project report at

OEPS weekly update – 13 March 2015

Pete met with Third sector partners and continued to work on ideas for developing support for practitioners and researchers in specific community contexts. He also attended the Universities Association for Lifelong Learning 2015 conference in Glasgow and presented a paper ‘Lifelong learning and partnerships: rethinking the university in the digital age’.

Ronald has been running a well-attended series of events in Lomond and the Trossachs National Park working with communities using our free online course on setting up rural businesses, putting finishing touches to papers for OER15, finalising a report on Open Science in Schools (a blog post will be forthcoming), and developing a learning design workshop with Glasgow University End of Life Studies team.

Anna continued to compile the ‘How to use OpenLearn Works’ guide which, once published on OpenLearn Works in April, will make it easier for those who are not familiar with Moodle to create and upload their OER to the platform, which currently lacks comprehensive user guidance. The OEPS hub development will commence shortly, following requirements gathering, user story writing and search option investigations. The hub will be built using Drupal.

Caroline and Maggie were busy finalising arrangements for OEPS Advisory Forum#2 in Stirling on Thurs 19th March (#OEPSforum2). It’s shaping up to be a really interesting day with a great turnout. If you’ve not yet signed up, read more about the event at


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