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Scottish Charity Awards – what a fabulous night

This article was originally posted on the UK Parkinson’s Excellence Network website. It is reposted with permission.

Peter Canell and Claire Hewitt

Pete Cannell (OEPS) and Claire Hewitt (Parkinson’s UK) with Scottish Charity Awards Finalist Certificate. Image: All rights reserved.

We were delighted to be shortlisted as finalists in the Demonstrating Digital category of the Scottish Charity Awards 2017 on 22 June for our free online course Understanding Parkinson’s for health and social care staff from the UK Parkinson’s Excellence Network.

Although we were pipped to the post, the judges revealed that they had the largest ever number of applications and competition within the categories was very stiff.

What’s so great about our course?

It ensures all professionals have access to training informed by the experiences of people affected by Parkinson’s.

Endorsed by the Royal College of Nursing, Understanding Parkinson’s for health and social care staff is an online course that helps health and social care professionals understand Parkinson’s better, influencing changes in practice by encouraging reflection.

  • It is free, easy to access and simple to use.
  • As an open educational resource, it can be reused, revised and shared by anyone.
  • It’s sustainable and cost effective, ensuring the best use of charity money.
  • It ensures all professionals have access to training informed by the experiences of people affected by Parkinson’s.

90% of course graduates who took our survey told us they plan to improve their practice and influence change in their organisations. This in turn will improve the lives of the 127,000 people in the UK with Parkinson’s.

We would like to thank everyone who has taken this course and made changes to their practice and that of their organisations as a result.

We’d also like to thank the Opening Educational Practices in Scotland project (Open University, Scotland) and the J Macdonald Menzies Trust for funding the course.

Parkinson’s UK is thrilled that the judges have recognised our trailblazing ‘Understanding Parkinson’s’ course.

Katherine Crawford, Scotland Director at Parkinson’s UK

Katherine Crawford, Scotland Director at Parkinson’s UK, says:

“Parkinson’s UK is thrilled that the judges have recognised our trailblazing ‘Understanding Parkinson’s’ course.

Developed in Scotland, the programme harnesses the power of digital learning to help health and social care professionals provide even better services for people with Parkinson’s in Scotland and throughout the UK.”

Sign up

Have you taken the course yet? You can sign up today.

You may also be interested in our 2 new courses: Parkinson’s: managing palliative and end of life care and Parkinson’s: managing bone health and fracture risk.

Free online course for carers

Caring Counts is a self-reflection and planning course developed with and for carers. Working with carers and carer’s organisations, The Open University in Scotland has developed a badged free online course to support carers to reflect on their caring journey and identify the skills and abilities they have gained and continue to gain in their caring role.

The course features the stories and experiences of a range of carers from very diverse backgrounds and caring circumstances, who share their lives in text and on film. Users have the option of completing a series of quizzes to gain a digital badge marking their achievement in completing the course.

This course is for carers of any age and at any stage in their life or caring role, it is flexible and adaptable to fit into your training and support programmes.

As well as helping carers recognise and value their skills and experiences and suggest opportunities for learning and other ideas for personal development, the course includes detailed information about career planning for those thinking about employment, or those thinking about returning to work and/or study that they may have had to put on hold.

Learners can gain a Caring Counts digital badge which recognises their learning through completing online quizzes that lead to a digital badge that acknowledges successful course completion. Digital badges are a useful way of demonstrating participation and recognising informal learning.

The OU in Scotland are working with a range of partners at national and local levels to support carers and carers centre staff to make full use of the course as well as to develop professionals’ knowledge and understanding of carers’ experiences.

You are welcome to explore the course and share details about it with others, or talk to the course team about opportunities for training and development and how they might be able to support you to make the best use of this free online resource.

Caring Counts is available at www.open.edu/openlearnworks/course/view.php?id=1688

The Open University supports carers in a range of ways, which you can read about in this leaflet designed for carers http://www.open.ac.uk/blogs/LearnDevDist/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/OU_Carers_2014.pdf – the OU in Scotland are sending copies of this leaflet to carers centres across Scotland.

Strengthening open educational practices in Scotland

The Opening Educational Practices in Scotland (OEPS) project is pleased to welcome you to our blog.  OEPS aims to facilitate best practice in Scottish open education.  It plans to enhance the Scottish tertiary education sector’s capacity and reputation in developing publicly available and licenced online materials, supported by high quality pedagogy and learning technology.

Funded for 3 years by the Scottish Funding Council, this project provides an opportunity for the higher education sector in Scotland to build on its collaborative ethos and establish a support network for best practice and innovation in developing open educational resources (OER).

There is a great deal of activity already going on in Scotland but it is often fragmentary and is not widely recognised or understood.  OEPS plans to build on existing work and resources, acting as a catalyst for developing a strong Scottish identity in Open Educational Practice.  OEPS will contribute to the new QAA Scotland enhancement theme on transitions.  It will also facilitate working across boundaries to develop new forms of engagement between higher education and third sector organisations, unions and employers.

The opportunities opened up by online resources raise important questions of equitable access and social justice, as use and participation is not automatic just because OERs are available.  The open educational practices (OEP) around development, use and reuse of OER can be more important than the content.  Working in partnership with organisations in the workplace and community settings, OERs can be used flexibly to offer new pedagogically sound models of learning and make them more accessible.

High quality online content is necessary but not sufficient for OER to contribute to widening participation. We will focus on practice and how can we make effective use of content, for widening participation, transitions and supporting social and economic priorities.  OEPS will attempt to model the principles embedded in the Open Scotland Declaration, and it also aims to bring communities of practice together.  This means joining learning technologists with widening participation practitioners, linking both to educational developers and all concerned with enhancing student learning.

The project is organised around six themes: widening participation, rural sustainability, transitions, schools, cross sector and economic priorities.  It has eight primary objectives which include sector wide analysis; events (awareness raising); online hub and development test bed for Scottish OER; targeted new or reworked content; quality, accreditation and badging; developing the concept of ‘open’; developing an evidence base and evaluation of economic models.

Work is being initiated across all these themes, including:

  • The creation of a space in OpenLearn Works that will provide a sandbox for development across the sector.
  • Exploration with HEIs and sector wide bodies into developing new materials and practices in the areas of energy, sustainability, marine science, NHS and Social Services.  These discussions are at various stages of maturity but are likely to involve both the creation of targeted content and partnership work to improve take-up of existing content.
  • The launch on June 9th of a new, badged OER for Carers, created in partnership with carers and carers organisations.  This is the first badge carrying the imprint of the OEPS project (it will be available in the early summer).
  • Development of additional material for the Self Directed Support OER[1] produced by the OU with support from the Scottish Government.
  • The launch of a new OER on rural entrepreneurship[2] and plans to pilot approaches to working with SMEs in the Highlands and Islands and South West Scotland.
  • The production of a series of Badged Open Courses (BOCs) on using OER, widening participation and employability which will be available to the HE and FE sectors for use and re-versioning.
  • Production of a scoping report on the state of play with OEP in Scotland.
  • Development over summer 2014 of a series of good practice case studies that will be shared through a variety of media including the OEPS website.

We welcome your comments and contributions to Opening up Educational Practices in Scotland. You can email us at OEPScotland@open.ac.uk and oepscotland@gmail.com or join the conversation by responding to this blog.


[1]http://www.open.edu/openlearn/health-sports-psychology/social-care/social-work/foundations-self-directed-support-scotland/content-section-0
[2]http://www.open.edu/openlearn/money-management/rural-entrepreneurship-scotland/content-section-0