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Reflections on OE Global and OER17 – part 2

by Anna Page (OEPS project)

Josie Fraser and Alek Tarkowski welcome us to OER17 'The Politics of Open'

Josie Fraser and Alek Tarkowski welcome us to OER17 ‘The Politics of Open’

After spending time at OE Global in Cape Town, 4 weeks later I was attended the first day of OER17 in London, chaired by Josie Fraser and Alek Tarkowski, where I was fortunate to hear two great keynote speakers challenge our perceptions about open education.  Maha Bali encouraged us to think about how OER might be viewed in situations where intellectual property of material is less relevant to teachers because of their country curriculum situation or where academic freedoms, taken for granted in many Western democracies, are not available to certain groups of society, particularly women. Or where access to the internet was limited or restricted, depending on ability to pay (access to the internet is never free).  She pointed out the inequalities of treatment of internet users with some being more vulnerable to harassment, trolling or surveillance than others. In addition the interpretation of accessibility of materials came under scrutiny.  Maha Bali asked the question about whether openly licenced works follow the letter but not the spirit of openness.  She asked us to think about which of two options was more openly accessible:  the use of complex academic language in an openly licenced article or material written in accessible language but carrying a more restrictive Creative Commons licence, such as no derivatives.  She challenged us to think about the model of western funding for third world projects which did not explore the needs of the beneficiaries and impose solutions which subsequently don’t work or influence those seeking funding to conform to western ideas of what should work, without due regard for the cultural and contextual needs of their communities.

Maha Bali

Maha Bali

Maha opened up her keynote to get live open educational practice stories from the audience, which meant the development of her keynote was not ‘complete’ until she was delivering it as she responded to each story and led into the next prepared idea seamlessly, therefore breaking the accepted view of a lecture being about delivering ideas in one direction of transmission rather than exchange, a demonstration of ‘open educational practice’ in action.  She also explored the birth of ideas and intentions (comparing them to seeds) and how they might be nurtured first in private (hidden deep inside) then emerge into the public when they were ready to be shared (make explicit) where nurturing would need to continue by all involved to reap the rewards.

Later, in the second keynote, Diana Arce got us to think about the use of art as a tool for involving people in political activism.  She took us through a thought-provoking and lively journey of how art in public spaces is used and interpreted taking into account who commissions it and the location in which it is placed.  She showed how audience involvement in its creation was essential to empower people to understand, think and grow, offering them an alternative narrative via open spaces to share art and dialogue.  The essential message was “don’t tell people what to think”, use art to help their ideas and contributions emerge.  Open projects could use artists as strategists for development of open resources, going to where people are in order to engage them in the act of creation and knowledge building.

Diana Arce

Diana Arce

After the first keynote at OER17, I attended a panel discussion called Perspectives on Open Education in a World of Brexit & Trump (#trexit), with panellists Maha Bali, Lorna Campbell (from Open Scotland), James Luke and Martin Weller.  In addition to the four panellists, there were video recordings from 4 others who contributed real life examples of how these votes which have changed the global political landscape are affecting their academic practice, which the panel then discussed and opened to the floor for comments and questions.  It was sobering to see how the laptop ban on flights from certain countries to the US and UK is seriously affecting the progress of a PhD student and had also negatively affected keynote presenter Maha who had travelled from Egypt without her laptop or presentation on a memory stick (she had put it into cloud storage online before travelling).  The theme of the conference was very evident in this discussion, and it was clear that ‘Open is always political’.

The parallel sessions in the afternoon offered plenty of choice and inevitable clashes – my OEPS presentation was on at the same time as the OEPS presentation given by Ronald Macintyre.  Mine was the third in a group of 3, the first of which was about Academic confidence building with student use of Wikipedia, as they learn to collate Wikipedia subject pages (enhancing their digital literacy) and the second was an introduction to the MOIN project which is just starting to explore the challenges of cross-sectoral use of OER in Germany, where significant barriers still exist.  These include legal barriers (licencing) and the lack of knowledge about where to find OER, training and digital literacy, all issues we grapple with on this project.  It seemed fitting to follow this with the OEPS presentation about the evolution and further development of the OpenLearn Create platform for hosting open courses and the open educational practices modelled by the OEPS approach to course building in partnership.  Several questions and a lively discussion followed the three presentations, including questions to me about whether OpenLearn Create would get inundated by courses which might not follow good practice or break the terms of use of the site.  My response was that since the redesign in January we have had one spam course so far which has been taken down and that the Terms of use need to be more explicit in site usage and on data protection, so there is further work to do.  However so far the site has not been flooded with lots of new courses built by third parties on their own, most people seem to be quite tentative in getting started without contacting us first.

Beck Pitt presenting for OEPS at OER17

Beck Pitt presenting for OEPS at OER17

I also enjoyed the subsequent parallel session which included the OEPS presentation Exploring International Open Educational Practices presented by Beck Pitt, Bea De Los Arcos, and Michelle Reed in which they explored various definitions of OEP, some of the case studies and the emerging framework of open practice based on the research to date.  This was followed by Catherine Cronin and Laura Czerniewicz’s Critical pragmatism and critical advocacy: Addressing the challenges of openness which explored how purist definitions of open can be a limitation to open practice, with pragmatism helping to address the challenges.  Then Michelle Harrison and Irwin Devries presented Advocating for Open: the role of learning support professionals in changing practice, which reminded us that external online support networks are often the only source of support the lone open educational practitioner might have if their institution doesn’t have a policy or support mechanism for OER, and this has not changed much in the past two years, according to their research.

From my perspective, the key messages which crossed both conferences showed that the awareness of OER, what it is, how it can be used, reused, and created is still in its infancy in many educational organisations, let alone in the third sector and there is much to do to make it and the practices which enable it to become more mainstream.  A rallying cry at OE Global was for OER advocates to be more vigorous in actively marketing OER and OEP.  This would help to balance the professional HE marketing of their online lectures/open textbooks/MOOCs which often drowns out really good community produced OER which may have better pedagogical value than a series of online video lectures not viewed in their original context.  The thorny question of how to measure the impact of OER was also voiced at both conferences, though to a certain extent good practice surrounding this question is explored in Becoming an open educator.

In addition, a strong message was that OER will not be adopted by learners and teachers if it is imposed, only if it is created collaboratively, The OEPS experience of collaborative open course production in partnership is one example of how this can work to the benefit of learners.  Widening participation continues to be a strong theme of the OEPS project and will be discussed at the forthcoming Porous University seminar in May 2017.  In both the OE Global and OER17 presentations I shared the questions we consider when we reflect on partnerships using open education: “if partners are looking to OER development as a way to fill structural holes in individual learning journeys, what are the implications for formal learning providers with a focus on widening participation?  Does this mean that formal providers would have less of a role in widening participation if external organisations fill these holes or, more constructively, can formal providers see this as an opportunity to work more closely with external organisations to enhance their formal curriculum? By using OER created as a bridge to formal learning, learners can be provided with qualifications which directly relate to their career and lifelong learning opportunities?” (OEPS presentation extended narrative for OE Global 2017).

In a world of #trexit and austerity budgets which are reducing public services including education, it is all the more vital for HE, FE and third sector organisations to work in collaboration to ensure that a good education is open to as many people as possible.

Image credits: Josie Fraser and Alek Tarkowski welcome us to OER17, Beck Pitt presenting for OEPS at OER by Anna Page and licensed CC BY 2.0.  Maha Bali and Diana Arce images by Josie Fraser for OER17.

Moving the ‘open’ agenda forward

This is the third and final post on the discussion at the initial workshop at OEPSforum4 in March. The first post considered factors that are encouraging the adoption of OER and OEP, the second focused on challenges and barriers to adoption. In this post we look at what participants had to say on three linked issues: using the Open Scotland Declaration to encourage practical steps towards use of OER and OEP; the engagement of senior policy makers in institutions; and the potential for cross-sector collaboration.

We asked groups to take the Open Scotland Declaration as the starting point in their discussion. As a facilitator I noted the importance that members of my group attached to the declaration, however, only one of the groups made explicit reference to it in their feedback.   In this case the group felt that the declaration was not nuanced enough and as a result had had greater impact in the University sector than in the Colleges.

Across the groups there was strong feeling that, although there are some exceptions, in general there is still a lot of work to be done in order to involve senior management. There was a lot of discussion on how to address this. There was a view that compelling examples of practice in other institutions can be used to put the issue on policy agendas. Some participants qualified this by suggesting that it’s better to explain how OER can address a specific problem, rather than raise the whole open education agenda. Others talked about the questions that you need to be ready for. ‘It’s all about money! What are the financial gains for the University?’ Policy makers, and other staff too, may think that doing ‘open’ is about giving stuff away. So there is a need to develop understanding of the positive advantages of doing ‘open’ and the alternative business models that facilitate this.

Groups also looked at the positive examples that could be used to influence policy makers. It was noted that mandatory requirements for open research have had an important impact on policy and practice and, while this is not the case in learning and teaching, it can provide a good starting point for a discussion of alternative models. The government and the funding council could have a role here in recognising that ‘open’ approaches give value for money and by encouraging such approaches in learning and teaching. It was also felt that students might well start to shape the agenda. Many begin their studies with some prior knowledge of open resources and expectations about how knowledge is shared and disseminated in the open. A delegate commented that student expectations had driven significant change in practice at their institution.

There is a growing interest in open education outside the academy. Particularly in the NHS, unions and the third sector.   It’s not surprising therefore that, in many HEIs, it is staff that have close contacts with these organisations that are leading in the development of open practice.   There was a suggestion that Digital Badges could be part of move to a ‘more agile form of RPL [recognition for prior learning]’. In addition, thinking about the connections between the education sector and broader society, OER and OEP provide powerful new opportunities for knowledge exchange and knowledge transfer. Although these are not necessarily rewarded in the metrics that are currently in use.

The discussion groups had relatively little time to discuss cross-sector collaboration, however connections were made which may bear fruit in the future. The synergy between such an approach and the affordances of OER and OEP is obvious. However, there are cultural and practical barriers that need to be overcome. There is a need to connect resources up so that it’s easier to find and share good resources.   Rather than try to create new forums it was felt the most effective way to move forward was to put open education on the agenda of existing networks that already collaborate on a subject, discipline or specialism basis.

Pete Cannell (for the OEPS project team)



Some of the challenges that confront moves to greater use of OER and OEP

This is the second of a series of posts that draw on discussion from workshop A at OEPS Forum 4. In this workshop we looked at ideas for the strategic development of open education in Scotland. The first post in the series summarised the factors that the workshop participants felt are driving greater use of OER and OEP. However, analysing the feedback from the six workshop groups, it’s very noticeable that as participants articulated the drivers for change they were also thinking about challenges and barriers.

Across the groups there was discussion of bottom up and top down approaches to change. Several groups reflected on the challenge of getting buy-in from senior managers. It was noted that advocates of for change come up against colleagues and policy makers who are unaware of open education. This strand of discussion explored the challenges and opportunities in developing formal institutional policies. Some participants felt that this was essential to make progress, however others cautioned that in a developing field policy frameworks might restrict creativity.

Moving on from policy matters some of the groups discussed the perspective of teaching staff. There was a feeling that relative lack of awareness of issues around openness can be reinforced if staff are working in silos and don’t have opportunities to see the bigger picture. Some of the challenges for staff are technical. For example:

  • Lack of knowledge or confidence about licensing and attribution;
  • Being unaware of tools and techniques that make using, reusing and remixing OER relatively straightforward.

But the discussion made clear that barriers to engagement by teaching staff are not just about technology and technical competence. If levels of knowledge about the issues are low, it’s possible to see ‘open’ as a threat to existing skills and professionalism. The insecurity this causes may be reinforced if pressure to adopt makes it appear that ‘open’ is just ‘one more thing’ to do. There was a strong sense from the discussion that developing practice in the context of OER needs to be seen primarily as a pedagogical issue.

While most of the discussion focused on incorporating OER into the curriculum there were also comments from ‘users’ outside the formal education sector. In particular participants from the public sector with an interest in workplace learning noted that design of resources often doesn’t take into account the fact that many public sector organisations operate strong firewalls. As a result resources that include video may not be useable.

This blog covers some of the areas of challenge as discussed by the Forum 4 participants, however there are many others. Please add your own challenges and solutions in the comments section or email us at

The final post in this series will look at what forum participants said about engaging senior policy makers and ideas for cross-sectoral collaboration.

Pete Cannell – for the OEPS project team

What is driving interest in OER and OEP

Following on from Josie Fraser’s plenary at OEPS Forum 4 in March the remainder of the forum was spent in workshop sessions.  One of the aims of the OEPS forums has been to provide a space where the educational technology, learning and teaching and widening participation communities can come together and share ideas and experiences.  Although not the largest of the four forums, Forum 4 had arguably the widest mix of participants from these three communities and the range of responses to the workshop questions reflects the differing perspectives of the three groups.

Workshop A involved small groups thinking about the challenges of developing a strategic approach to bringing OER and OEP into the educational mainstream in Scotland.  When the OEPS team designed the workshop we had in mind that, while there are excellent examples of OER and OEP in Scotland, interest in Open Education remains confined to a relatively small minority of staff working in further and higher education.  What we hoped to do was engage all those attending the forum with thinking about what such a strategy would look like.

We used the following questions to frame the discussion:

  1. What factors have driven, or are driving, an interest in OER or OEP in your institution or organisation?
  2. Are you aware of examples of how OER/OEP initiatives have started to reach wider layers of staff/students?
    • What are the characteristics of your example and why do you think it has worked – we are interested in whether others could emulate?
    • Where you had difficulties (starting or progressing) what were the barriers?
  3. Looking at the Open Scotland Declaration – in your context which of the themes do you think might be most attractive to take up as an initial practical step in engaging with OER and OEP?
  4. How engaged are senior policy makers in your institution/organisation? What are the key arguments or actions that might encourage greater engagement?
  5. Are there possibilities for cross sector collaboration? If so what – ideas to take forward?

The workshop engaged six groups for an hour.  The notes captured during this time reflected the intensity and range of debate.  Although our first thought was to bring these ideas together in one post we soon realised that there is simply too much.   So to do justice to the discussion this is the first of a short series in which we summarise the responses to each question individually. This post focuses on question one, which asked participants to think about the factors that are driving interest in OER and OEP.

We addressed the factors driving institutional interest in OER and OEP against the backdrop of the Open Scotland declaration.  However, from the perspective of higher education institutions some participants felt interest in MOOCs since 2012 had been the most significant stimulus.  There were references to ‘not wanting to be left out’ and to the way in which MOOCs provide platforms to project institutional profile.  Participants noted that while MOOCs are not normally openly licensed and therefore don’t meet the criteria for OER, nevertheless engagement with developing digital courses in a MOOC environment has spilled over into interest in using online material to engage with external audiences, and in the skills that academics require to create engaging online courses.  The discussion suggested that these developments interact in interesting ways with much greater use of blended learning for campus based students and with moves towards open source and requirements for open research.  Blended learning leads to some lecturers thinking of creative ways to develop resources.  The use of YouTube and Vimeo to share material is increasing although ‘staff doing this are not necessarily aware of licensing issues’. One participant suggested that there’s a view that ‘if you’re putting things online you might as well have them in the open’.  Openness in the research sphere often means that ‘open’ is mandatory but there is also the beginning of a trend to envisage OER as a vehicle for the public dissemination or research outputs.  Running through the discussion of this question was an awareness of tensions in the development of open education in FE and HE.  It was noted that institutional and individual views don’t always align.

Workshop participants working for organisations outside the formal education sectors contributed additional perspectives.  Awareness of OER is patchy, but when people and organisations are aware of the wealth of free, openly licensed resources available it provokes new thinking about how participation can be extended through use of OER and what kinds of practice (OEP) is required to help this happen.  This strand of discussion overlapped with a view from the formal sector that ‘open’ fits with mission and values around widening participation.  New and user-friendlier technology makes a fit between mission and means for widening participation increasingly possible.

Discussion on drivers also focused on students and the skills and expectations they bring with them.  Participants from the formal and informal sectors reflected on the extent to which students (clients, members etc) live in a digital world and the ways in which this exerts pressure for change.

Much of the discussion of drivers for developing OER and OEP was intercut with observations about challenges, barriers and tensions.  For the sake of brevity we’ve omitted these here.  However, they will be addressed in the next post in this series, which will centre on the second workshop question.

If you’ve written on the factors driving adoption of OER and OEP and would like to share or if you have a response to this post do post in the comments or get in touch via

Pete Cannell for the OEPS team

“Today’s a good day to start changing your practice”

by Rosemarie McIlwhan and Anna Page (OEPS project)

This picture shows a Caucasian woman (Josie Fraser) standing on the left of the picture. She is standing at a lectern with a microphone and is speaking. She has should length red hair and is wearing a black patterned dress.

Josie Fraser CC-BY (CC4.0 international)

To say that the open community are just a little bit in awe of Josie Fraser might not be too much of an exaggeration. Where most of us struggle to convince our colleagues or if we’re really ambitious our institutions to engage with open educational practice, Josie has instrumental in the DigLitLeicester programme which has created a sea change in secondary education within Leicester City Council schools. So OEPS were delighted to welcome her as the keynote speaker at the fourth open forum on 9th March in Stirling #OEPSforum4. Her presentation on ‘Connecting Open Practice’ was all the more relevant as it was also Open Education Week.

Rather than repeating her speech here (when you can just see it on Youtube) we thought it more useful to reflect on some of the issues which she raised. As Josie highlighted the rise of open education practices is rather reminiscent of the development of web 2.0 and social media, and more recently online education; which raises the question of what can we learn from these movements? Probably key among the learning is that each of these have involved a seismic culture shift that has started small, with even early adopters not really predicting the ultimate sea change we’ve seen in how these things have changed not just education but society as whole. Consider for a moment the rise of the hashtag from microblogging to ubiquitous across all forms of online engagement and into real life. This has created social change, not only in how we use and engage with technology but also how we find, search, organise and share information. This presents exciting opportunities, particularly when we think about ‘open’.

This picture shows a Caucasian woman (Josie Fraser) standing on the right hand side of the picture. She is standing at a lectern with a Macbook on it and a microphone pointing towards her. She has shoulder length blonde hair and is wearing a black, floral print dress. There are slides showing behind her. The text on the slides is: “Key challenges • I’ve never heard of open licences / OER •	 I don’t see the benefit of sharing resources openly / using OER •	 My resources are not good enough •	 My resources are too good •	 At the moment, I just do what I like and that’s working fine for me •	 Making, finding & accrediting = extra work”

Josie Fraser keynote at #OEPSForum4 (Author Maggie Nguyen) Source: CC-BY

It gives us the opportunity to develop and promote good educational practice (at all levels of education) in a way that we haven’t easily been able to before. However this rapid pace of change has meant that educational policies haven’t kept up with educational practice (with a few notable exceptions such as Leeds University, Glasgow Caledonian University, and the University of Edinburgh, who now all have OER policies). It is perhaps only with a shift in policy that the multitude of educators who are blissfully unaware of the potential of open education, or as Josie suggested those who have ‘open blindness’, will realise the potential of open to facilitate not only their own learning and develop their educational practice but also that of their students. This mismatch in expectations of what students and educators know and what they need for their daily practice must be addressed. This isn’t just a role for education providers but also for teaching and student unions, governing bodies and institutional leaders, and for local and national governments.

Such bodies might wonder how to achieve this but guidance on what might be achieved can be found in the Open Scotland Declaration and on how it may be achieved can be seen in the activities of sector leaders such as Leeds University, Glasgow Caledonian University, the University of Edinburgh and the Open University with OpenLearn / OpenLearnWorks amongst others, and of course the work of DigLitLeicester. Josie highlighted the pedigree of Scottish education being at the forefront of technology support education innovation; and suggested that we pay heed to paragraph 7 of the Open Scotland Declaration which states “The next step forward is to join up these initiatives and develop policy support and guidance to enable the culture shift required to embed open education practice across all sectors of Scottish education.”.

Josie suggested that whilst as individuals we might be anywhere in the paradigm between…

  1. Does it matter if we use an open licence?
  2. Do we have permission to use an open licence?
  3. Does it matter what open licence we use?
  4. Does it matter how we cite openly licensed resources?

…as a country we are still very much at the first stage. To move on, educators need to be given permission and support to use open educational practices, and as open educators we need to engage with the governing bodies and institutional leaders, the teaching and student unions, and local and national governments to discuss open educational practice. This will help to create a society which is more equitable and fair, with improved digital literacy and improved quality of education; which in turn will bring social and economic benefits and as one person commented in response to Josie’s questions ‘Using OER makes you feel good!’.

However there’s quite a road to travel yet, whereas 75% of US educators use and understand open educational resources and creative commons licenses, Josie suggests that the same figure only applies to UK educators in terms of the number of OERs used, with many being unaware that they are even using OERs. This is despite open educational practice being used every day through the use of Wikimedia, TES resources and TED talks being openly licensed, and even Google drawing on Wikimedia for its searches.

Josie posed some interesting questions to the forum, which she simultaneously also put into the open via Twitter. These reflected many of the common responses about OER, ranging from ‘I’ve never heard of those’, to ‘My resources aren’t good enough / are too good to share’, to ‘That just sounds like extra work for me’.  There was a sense in the forum and on Twitter that these are fears that we can easily allay, provided a change in culture is created. Albeit there is a chicken and egg situation of can the culture change be created first, or does it come about by virtue of individual change. If we can persuade people and institutions that open education is nothing to fear and indeed it’s something that many are already doing without even realising it; that it is a means of enhancing quality and reputation; and that the investment in open education will benefit students, educators, institutions and the wider community well beyond our original investment then we can begin to win the battle for open. However Josie highlighted that change starts with us, as she said ‘today’s a good day to start changing your practice’– what are you waiting for?


#OEPSforum4 story

We have created the #OEPSforum4 story on Storify – see

Women in OER

On International Women’s Day 2016 OEPS wanted to celebrate the contribution of a few of the women with whom we have been lucky to work since the project began. Whilst this isn’t a comprehensive list and it would be remiss if we didn’t also note that there are substantial contributions from other genders too, these women are all making a mark on Open Educational Practice.

Laura Czerniewicz gave a fascinating and thought provoking keynote at #OEPSforum2 in March 2015 in which she challenged people to think about open educational resources in the global south and the contested environment in which open education sits. This is due to financial barriers to knowledge set against earlier cultural traditions of sharing. So much of the open educational resources and open educational practice world has been focussed on openness in the context of the global north – in other words those with ready access to the internet and higher educational opportunities. In contrast the ’global south’ often lack the facilities which make it easy to access online open educational resources or exchange open practices and the cost of educational materials often makes education beyond the reach of the poorest in society.

Laura is the Director of the Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching at the University of Cape Town. She has been involved in the OpenUCT Initiative supporting local scholars utilize innovative scholarly communication approaches and encourage them to publish more about their work and share their practice.

Also at #OEPSforum2 Lorna Campbell presented a workshop on the future directions of the ‘Scottish Open Educational Declaration’ in which she discussed the formation and development of the declaration and the aspirations for developing it further so that spirit of the declaration could be more widely adopted. It has already been used to raise awareness of open education within individual Scottish institutions and policy.

Lorna is the EDINA Digital Education Manager and OER Liaison for Open Scotland at the University of Edinburgh. She has many years’ experience of educational technology and interoperability standards, focussing on open education. She leads the Open Scotland initiative and is co-chairing the OER16 Conference in Edinburgh with Melissa Highton.

Allison Littlejohn is a key voice in shaping OER. Her keynote at #OEPSforum3 in November 2015 outlined the guidelines she developed with Nina Hood on ‘Learning open Educational Practice’. Allison reflected on how people come to know about and understand OER and then to embed open educational practice. Alison highlighted the challenges and opportunities which OER bring for educators and learners alike.

Allison is a Professor of Learning Technology at the Institute of Educational Technology and Academic Director of Learning and Teaching at the Open University. Allison’s vision is of cross-boundary learning which will facilitate the sharing of knowledge and experience across sectors and disciplines in order to transform the way people learn.

Josie Fraser is passionate about ensuring access to education for everyone and how open educational resources (OER) and open educational practices (OEP) can help achieve this aim. She wants the OER world to find ways to make education more accessible to everyone. She is giving the keynote address at #OEPSforum4. on 9th March 20

Josie is a social and educational technologist and has worked with a wide range of institutions, promoting digital literacy and supporting staff to understand, use and create open educational resources.

These are just a few of the inspirational women who are leading the development of open educational resources and open educational practice. However there is a wider question of what open educational resources and practice can do to promote gender parity? Women and girls are often more disadvantaged in relation to access to, participation in and accruing benefit from education. However access to education has been shown to help in addressing issues such as early marriage and pregnancy, gender-based violence and in achieving social and economic outcomes not just for women and girls but society as a whole. Yet education is a basic human right, protected by the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and a myriad of other international (and often domestic) laws.

Open education has the potential to widen access to education for women and girls, enabling them to access global thought leaders and subjects that might not be available to them locally. It also provides a platform by which women and girls can share their own knowledge and experiences. Open education isn’t just about the use of online open resources, it can equally be the women’s collective who self-organise to run education classes or to share knowledge with others in their area on an open basis, or the group of women senior managers who have an open action learning set or who use open educational resources to develop their leadership.

There is a role for open education to contribute to closing the gender gap now, to ensure that all genders are treated equally, to facilitate women and girls achieving their ambitions, to challenge discrimination and bias in all forms, to promote gender balanced leadership, to value contributions equally, and to create inclusive and flexible cultures. How will you #PledgeforParity to address the gender gap?

By Rosemarie McIlwhan and Anna Page


OEPS in Open Education Week 2016

Today marks the start of Open Education Week (7-11th March 2016), a celebration and sharing of all things ‘open education’ and an opportunity to “raise awareness about free and open educational opportunities that exist for everyone, everywhere, right now” (Attrib: There are a range of ways in which to engage in Open Education Week and OEPS has a few things planned.

Tomorrow is International Women’s Day (#IWD2016 and #PledgeForParity). OEPS is celebrating by reviewing some contributions that inspirational women, who are leaders in the field of open educational practice, have kindly contributed to the project.

#OEPSForum4 takes place on Wednesday 9th March at the Stirling Court Hotel. We are very excited to welcome Josie Fraser as our keynote speaker. If you haven’t booked your place yet it’s not too late – the event is free and you can register via Eventbrite. If you can’t make it then watch out for the tweets throughout the day using the hashtag #OEPSForum4 and for the blog posts, slideshares and videos posted on our website after the event.

Also this week OEPS is publishing another good practice case study on the OEPS hub. This case study showcases the work of Stephanie McKendry in widening participation at the University of Strathclyde.

If you’re doing something for Open Education Week why not tweet about it using the hashtag #OpenEducationWk or let us know @OEPScotland or comment below. We’d love to know what you’re doing.

#OEPSforum4 posters

A vision for Open Educational Resources at University of EdinburghAt the fourth OEPS Forum on 9 March 2016 in Stirling, we will display a range of posters covering the following themes:

  • Using OER – what does good practice look like?
  • Changing culture, changing practice
  • Open education and digital engagement through a widening participation lens

We have already received a number of posters listed below:

Open design patterns for assessment as change agents – John Casey, The CIT-eA Project, City of Glasgow College

Promoting transformational change in OEP at OUSL – Shironica P. Karunanayaka and Som Naidu, The Open University of Sri Lanka; Monash University, Australia

Educational Audio and the Home of Radio #EDUtalk – John Johnston, David Noble, Edutalk

25 years of embracing and fostering openness in education – Ildiko Mazar, European Distance and E-learning Network, UK

Opening up spaces to support Rural Business in Scotland – Ronald Macintyre, OEPS Project

OEPS poster – OEPS project team

Open learning champions – Lindsay Hewitt and Gill Ryan, The Open University in Scotland

A vision for Open Educational Resources at University of Edinburgh – Stephanie Farley, University of Edinburgh

To register for #OEPSforum4 please visit our event on EventBrite:
Eventbrite - OEPS Forum 3

Josie Fraser keynotes for #OEPSforum4

We are delighted to announce that Josie Fraser will give the keynote at the #OEPSforum4 on 9th March 2016.  Josie is passionate about ensuring access for everyone and how open educational resources (OER) and open educational practices (OEP) can help achieve this aim.  She wants the OER world to find ways to make education more accessible to everyone regardless of whether learners happen to be taught by an OER enthusiast or not.

Josie’s keynote will focus on the following themes:

  • Connecting pockets of practice and embedding OER/OEP
  • To what extent what she has done in Leicester has shifted culture
  • The challenges of shifting culture and how she addressed them
  • How to move from a piecemeal approach to a more strategic approach to embedding OER/OEP

Josie describes herself as a social and educational technologist. She has been working with Leicester City Council since 2010 leading the technology strand of the city’s Building Schools for the Future programme, this has included finding ways to support school staff understand, use and create open educational resources.  She organised the UK’s first OER Schools conference in 2015.

You can follow Josie on Twitter at @josiefraser and via her website

To register for #OEPSforum4 and find out more about parallel workshops, please visit our event on EventBrite:
Eventbrite - OEPS Forum 3