Blog Archives

OEPS Final Report launched!

The core message of the final report from the OEPS project is that innovative practice that puts students first can ensure that open education breaks down barriers to participation in education.  The report is published today (Monday 11th September) to coincide with the ‘Promise of Open Education’ Conference at Edinburgh’s Dynamic Earth.

The report provides evidence and case studies from across the Scottish sector.  It highlights the potential of working across boundaries, an approach that enabled the OEPS project to co-create fifteen new free, open online courses with organisations like Dyslexia Scotland and Parkinson’s UK.  OEPS found a high level of interest in the use of these online courses in the informal education sector with almost half of the organisations involved coming from the third sector, trade unions or employers.

The OEPS project was concerned with developing good open educational practice that supports widening participation and social justice.  Working with organisations that support non-traditional students provided the team with valuable insights into the barriers that online learning can present.  The report links to a range of reports and guidance material designed to help educators, course designers and widening participation practitioners enable the barriers to be overcome.

The report highlights innovative practice from across the Scottish sector but suggests that more needs to be done to provide a policy framework that can embed this practice in the mainstream.  It suggests that wherever possible educational materials should be released as open by default.

The report stresses the value of institutional collaboration in the use of open educational resources and recommends that the Scottish Government and the Scottish Funding Council consider systems, support mechanisms and policies that can facilitate and sustain such partnerships.

The report is essential reading whether you’ve never heard of open education before or whether you are a seasoned open educator. We encourage everyone to read the OEPS Final Report.

 

Pete Cannell

OEPS Co-Director

 

This post is published as one of many celebrating Open Education in the run up to the OEPS final event, The Promise of Open Education at Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh on Monday 11th September. Join the conversation before, during and after the event with the hashtag#BeOpen’. We are livestreaming on the day via Periscope and there will be a Twitter chat in the afternoon using #BeOpen and @OEPScotland.

Farewell then, OEPS. What comes next?

Guest blog by John Casey, Senior Learning Technologist, City of Glasgow College. Originally published on 6th September on his blog Geronimo’s Cadillac.  

 

OEPS, (Open Educational Practices Scotland) is coming to an end, it was a 3 year project funded by the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) and operated by the Open University in Scotland – see . It was a refreshing departure from the norm of ed-tech projects in that set out to work with ‘not the usual suspects’, i.e. not the ed-tech scene, much to the ire of some faces in that scene. Instead it concentrated on working with community and third sector groups. I attended some of the meetings and found them useful and encouraging. The SFC is to be commended on funding the initiative and should engage in a longer term, more sustained funding and intervention activities in the area of open education. For reasons why, read on.

The OEPS project did not really impact much on the FE scene, which was a shame as further education has a lot to gain from open educational methods. I was discussing this with the OEPs team at one meeting and one of the useful metaphors that we came up was the notion of our educational institutions being ‘digital gated communities’. With FE being the most locked down and isolated, especially after the recent ‘reforms’ that have cut funding and left largely traditional approaches to vocational in place with the odd gesture to using technology. It’s much the same in HE (except with more money), with a democratic deficit in accountability in how these publicly funded institutions work. Open education could, and should, challenge their existing pedagogical, epistemological and economic models – might as well be ambitious! It could be used as an ‘educational design laboratory’ for Scottish education to experiment in. Without such civic and democratic initiatives from outside our educational systems will never change and improve. Indeed, if we look at history we can see that it was such actions that moved education forwards in the 19th and 20th century. Without such initiatives, we are in danger of falling prey to the perfidious discourse that permeates much of the ed-tech scene – presented as a kind of super shiny Ted Talk on a loop – which seems to fill a local and national policy vacuum and paves the way for privatisation. Here is a link to an excellent takedown of these ideas.

 

This guest post from John Casey is published as one of many celebrating Open Education in the run up to the OEPS final event, The Promise of Open Education at Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh on Monday 11th September. Sign up for the event or join the conversation before, during and after the event with the hashtag#BeOpen’. 

 

Open 5 X 5: Five open permissions meet five reasons for being an open educator

Guest post by David Porter, CEO, eCampusOntario.ca. 

This blog is a remix of a remix. A good thing in my view.

Since 2013, I’ve built upon a presentation that Clint Lalonde of BCcampus created and titled Beyond Free. The original was licensed CC BY-SA, and I’ve since added to it and updated and localized its message to suit different audiences. It remains a winner that consistently inspires instructors to rethink their practices and take a leap into the open realm.

The great thing about Clint’s original presentation was that it stated five great reasons to use OER, beyond the simple, “because it’s free” mantra. What he did in Beyond Free was to build upon the five freedoms (permissions) expressed by David Wiley in his now famous baseline definition of open content. Clint added context to those theoretical freedoms in a way that demonstrated real practice and conveyed a message of possibility to even the most reluctant open educator. The five reasons to move beyond free remain a great explanation for the open education community, and the original presentation remains a reusable and remixable template for anyone to use. Thanks, Clint.

I’m going to reprise those five great reasons in a shortened prose format. The graphic presentation version has many benefits and far more illustrations than appear here. Here are five benefits (reasons) to use open resources and open practices.

 

Benefit #1: Full legal control to customize, localize, personalize, update, translate, remix…

There is no better way make resources your own than to develop them yourself. But a close second is to exercise the provisions of Creative Commons licenses by clicking on the license logo and reading the plain language provisions of the human readable deed. No letters to authors needed, just acknowledgement of the creator with a straightforward citation. A simple, practical, generous starting point to customize an existing learning resource.

 

Benefit #2: Access to customized resources improves learning

Studies, journal articles, and research papers are pointing out what might seem obvious: when you have access to free and open learning resources at the start of your course or program, you’ll likely be successful in your studies. No financial pressures, no workarounds. You are able to concentrate on your course and give it your full effort from day one. More detailed studies are beginning to investigate the effects of localized and customized resources versus the generic textbook approaches aimed at a broadly defined population of learners. I expect localized versions of case studies, illustrations that reflect your culture, and images that engage students because they are relevant to their experience will all contribute to better open resources.

 

Benefit #3: Open provides opportunities for co-creation and more authentic resources

Terry Greene at Fleming College in Peterborough, Ontario has been engaged in a co-creation project with peers over the past year, soliciting exemplars and advice from seasoned veteran educators to provide a sourcebook for new faculty and instructors who will need support and guidance as they take on their teaching responsibilities.

The Open Faculty Patchbook: Patching Pedagogy Together, for Each Other is a contribution space by faculty for faculty, and carries on open invitation to educators to contribute their authentic experiences and advice for a new generation of higher education instructors. A printed copy of the current “patchbook” was given to new faculty at their orientation session in August 2017. It is a work in progress. Help build it.

 

Benefit #4: Collegial collaboration helps build the commons

My colleagues at BCcampus are pioneers in the use of “sprints” and professional networking among institutions to quickly and purposefully build team capacity and open resources for learners through collegial collaboration. They’ve done it all:

 

Benefit #5: Demonstrate the service mission of higher education institutions

Research, teaching and service are three key principles that guide higher education institutions. Many institutions have experimented with freely available courses in the form of MOOCs. But few have actually done so with freely available open resources and a mechanism for gaining credit through a challenge exam or prior learning assessment and recognition.

OERu.org is a consortium of 30+ higher education institutions from around the globe who have come together to prototype alternative pathways to recognized credentials for learners. The OERU.org partners are working together to provide courses from their own institution as contributions to a first-year program of study that will invite learners to participate in university level courses and also apply for assessment leading to credit towards a certificate, diploma or degree.

Every piece of content, software, and infrastructure supporting the OERu is open source or openly licensed. OERu.org is a demonstration of openness in support of the service mission of its institutional partners. OERu partners walk the open talk.

In Conclusion

Open education is more than freely available, openly licensed content resources. It is also about people, like-minded educators who see the benefits of rethinking the status-quo, and who are willing to see what will happen when we bring teaching and learning into the open.

 

David Porter, CEO

eCampusOntario.ca

davidp@ecampusontario.ca

 

This guest post from David Porter is published as one of many celebrating Open Education in the run up to the OEPS final event, The Promise of Open Education at Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh on Monday 11th SeptemberSign up for the event or join the conversation before, during and after the event with the hashtag#BeOpen’. 

#BeOpen – the value of sharing knowledge through social media

Guest post by Sue Beckingham, National Teaching Fellow and Senior Lecturer (Business Information Systems and Technology) at Sheffield Hallam University. 

I’d like to share with you how I went about developing a valued learning network through the sharing of knowledge using social media. The first thing to mention is that it took time and patience. As I learned to navigate different social spaces and developed connections with other educators, I did a lot of listening. Some may refer to this as lurking; however I’m not a fan of the term and prefer to describe this learning activity as positive silent engagement. We learn by listening and online it’s no different.

My online informal learning space began with Twitter. I developed my network by looking at who other educators followed and began to add them to my own personal learning network. I noted how helpful individual’s bios were; indicating what individual’s interests were, often including links to other profiles, for example LinkedIn, blogs and websites. Over time as my own network grew, I was blown away with the many informal learning opportunities at my fingertips; shared by the educators I was connecting with. Peers spread across the globe, were sharing articles, books, presentations, reflective blog posts, educational videos and podcasts. I was learning from educators spanning many disciplines. I also realised that Twitter and other social media spaces each have powerful search engines and alongside Google present exciting results when looking for topics of interest.

I started to share others work whenever I read something interesting that I thought would also be of interest to those within my own network. Responding to tweets indicated that I’d read them. Such interactions might start with a like and then progress to a comment or question. Letting people know you have an interest in their work can make their day! It also leads to further conversations.

As my confidence developed I began to share my own work. From the start I wanted to make this accessible to others and gave my presentations a Creative Commons licence when I uploaded them to SlideShare. These were then shared via my LinkedIn profile, Twitter and Google+. Peers started to take an interest in these and as a result I was able to get valuable feedback which helped me to further develop my thinking. I made a concerted effort to add my publications and projects to my LinkedIn profile, ResearchGate, Academia.edu, and my own university’s research archive repository SHURA. Within these spaces you have the option to upload files, making your work more accessible to a wider community.

Coming back to Twitter as an open sharing space for sharing knowledge, I’d recognised the value of tweetchats which were being used in the US by educators as a forum for discussions. In 2014 with my friend Chrissi Nerantzi we started a pilot tweet chat called #LTHEchat Learning and Teaching in Higher Education Chat. It soon became popular and continues to take place every Wednesday at 8pm (with the exception of short breaks over the summer, Christmas and Easter). Each week we discuss a different topic relating to learning and teaching suggested by a guest, who also composes six questions. This is a fun and engaging way to share knowledge relating to the topic. You can follow @LTHEchat for updates on forthcoming chats.

When attending conferences and events, check out the hashtag that is being used. Start making connections on Twitter and LinkedIn with the people you meet in person. It’s a great way to extend your network and gain access to more openly shared knowledge. I hope this encourages you to find new ways to share your knowledge and to #BeOpen through social media.

 

This guest post from Sue Beckingham is published as one of many celebrating Open Education in the run up to the OEPS final event, The Promise of Open Education at Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh on Monday 11th September. Sign up for the event or join the conversation before, during and after the event with the hashtag#BeOpen’. 

 

 

 

 

Let’s stop reinventing the wheel and #BeOpen to sharing our work

Guest blog by Linda Lapere, Lecturer in Education at the University of Dundee.

As someone who has worked in education for 19 years I am familiar with many different forms of online learning and web-based materials but had never heard of Open Education. When I saw the hashtag #OpenEd I was keen to find out more.Linda Lapere #BeOpen

In education, we are traditionally extraordinarily good at reinventing the wheel which thankfully, is slightly reducing in the digital age we are now living thanks to a multitude of educational websites. However, many of these operate as businesses, charging educators either for downloading their resources or accessing their website. I see Open Education as a means of embracing equality in education. Firstly, we are all professionals and can surely evaluate the usefulness and quality of resources independently as not everything which is online will necessarily be correct or appropriate for your learners. Secondly, not all educators can afford the subscriptions some websites are charging (some are more than your average gym membership) so again this levels out the playing field. I always find it interesting that education is one of the few professions where teachers spend their own money on resources – do doctors buy their patients drugs? Thought not.

Open Education means that all educators have access to free resources which can be edited and reused as you see fit. This can save us all time both in researching concepts and what the current research is saying as well as the time it takes to create these resources. Often laptops and pcs provided by educational establishments have restricted access to either certain websites or software sometimes making it difficult to create the kind of resource which would benefit your learners. It also requires a certain amount of skill to produce some of these resources such as video editing, enhancing graphics or creating interactive presentations and unfortunately we do not always have these precise skills.  However, if this kind of material, particularly videos or interactive resources are already available through Open Education it can only benefit those in education.

I feel the challenges with Open Education are encouraging this sense of community amongst those in education, both current teachers and our students as well as the huge range of possibilities for its use. Let’s stop reinventing the wheel and sharing our free expertise instead to help others in the profession!

 

This guest post from Linda Lapere is published as one of many celebrating Open Education in the run up to the OEPS final event, The Promise of Open Education at Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh on Monday 11th September. Sign up for the event 

Call for posters: ‘The promise of open education’ conference

‘The promise of open education’ conference on Monday 11th September, in Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh.

Call for posters:

We are interested in poster submissions relating to the following topics:

  • the promise of open education,
  • any aspect of open education in Scotland
  • widening access/participation through open education

For more information and the submission guidance please see the full call for posters.

If you have an idea for poster and you’re not sure it fits the criteria please do send us a short resume to oepscotland@gmail.com and we’ll be happy to discuss it with you.

 

Book your place via Eventbrite or contact OEPScotland@gmail.com with any queries

 

 

Celebrating #YearOfOpen at the OU!

This blog is adapted from the blog originally published by Beck Pitt on the OER hubPhotos by Bea de los Arcos and licensed CC BY 2.0 .

YearOfOpen-at-The-Open-University-UK by Bea de los Arcos

‘A range of people participated either face-to-face, or online, in last week’s OER Hub hosted celebration of all things open at The Open University (UK)! Wednesday 20th June saw colleagues from across the University come together to share their ideas and experiences of openness as part of 2017’s #YearOfOpen international celebrations marking the anniversary of a number of important events in the development of open education. The afternoon kicked off with colleagues from across the university sharing what open means to them and their roles.

Beck Pitt introduces #YearOfOpen at the OU (Bea de los Arcos, CC BY)

Beck Pitt introduces #YearOfOpen at the OU (Bea de los Arcos, CC BY)

Lightening talks showcasing the diverse range of ways open makes a difference included personal reflections in From Theory to Practice: An Open Educational Journey (Tim Seal, TESS-India Technical Director), a look at why we might be more open in our practice in Ethics in Knowing: Rationales for Openness (Rick Holliman, Professor of Engaged Research) to exciting collaborative activity both within the University and beyond in Promoting and Supporting the Openness of Ideas related to Open and Online Learning (Laura Hills, Lecturer, Academic Professional Development) and Open Educational Practice Beyond the OU: Open Platform and Practices (Anna Page, Senior Producer: Open Education Projects). Review the full line-up here. Talks were followed by a productive group discussion on how we can shape open at the OU over the coming months. The event was livestreamed and you can catch up on the recording on YouTube or Periscope.’

Open Education Week 2017

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Open Education Week 2017 runs from 27th-31st March and is a celebration of the global open education movement. Featuring inspiring initiatives, organisations and people around the world that further open education, OE week offers a myriad of activities, webinars and information to help you connect with and find out more about the impact and benefits of openness in education.

As it happens, the OEPS steering group meeting will take place on 28th March, mid-way through Open Education Week. The OEPS steering group includes five higher education institutions dedicated to furthering open education in Scotland. To celebrate and showcase their work, and that of other organisations they partner with, we thought it would be interesting to highlight some of the exciting open education activities happening across the Group.

University of Edinburgh

 

University of Glasgow

 

University of Highlands and Islands

 

University of Strathclyde

 

Open University in Scotland / Open University

 

Opening Educational Practices in Scotland

 

Want to get involved? You can browse the wide range of activities that individuals and organisations are hosting around the globe on the Open Education Week website, and don’t forget if you do participate, host your own event, want to share a resource or idea and join in the conversation use the hashtag #openeducationwk. If you tweet any of our activities or resources, please include @OEPScotland and let us know what you think!

 

SSSC Open Badges

Towards the end of February I spoke to Keith Quinn, Learning & Development Manager (Digital Learning) and Rob Stewart, Learning and Development Adviser at the Scottish Social Services Council offices in Dundee.

SSSC (Pete Cannell CC-BY 4.0)

Photo: ‘SSSC’, Pete Cannell CC-BY 4.0

More than 200,000 people work in social services across Scotland; the workforce includes social care workers, social workers, social work students and early years workers. SSSC are responsible for registering the workforce, making sure that they meet the standards set out in the SSSC Codes of Practice.  As part of its support for the professional development of the social services workforce SSSC has developed the SSSC Open Badges website.

Currently 107 different badges are available through the platform.  The underlying pedagogic model is based on using badges to recognise situated learning.  Badges are awarded for reflecting and acting on learning not simply for attendance or participation.  Assessment and verification of reflective activity is carried out by employers, line managers and sometimes by SSSC staff.  Social care organisations can register with the system and are allocated a unique code.  Learners can then submit the code for their particular employment and will be assessed by someone with knowledge of their context.  This decentralisation allows the system to operate at scale, SSSC sample to ensure consistency of standards.

One of the challenges for SSSC is developing a culture in which online learning is seen as engaging and relevant.  They are aware that many learners identify online with tick box approaches and so in developing the use of badges that recognise reflection and reward active engagement they are ‘trying to break what’s in people’s heads about just clicking …’.   They have deliberately avoided quiz-based assessment.  In part this is a challenge about changing perceptions, however, it is also about supporting learners to develop their skills.  Support is offered for reflective writing but learning can also be evidenced in other forms, for example using video. The learning and development team are also actively engaged in supporting and modeling good practice in digital learning design.

Organisations can use the SSSC platform to badge their learning materials.  Currently ten are doing so and the figure is likely to rise to around fifty in the next twelve months. To date 830 badges have been awarded and the number is rising rapidly.

If you have an interest in professional development and in the use of micro credentials for professional learning I’d strongly recommend browsing the SSSC site.  The short video explaining what digital badges are and can do is particularly good.

 

Pete Cannell for the OEPS team

Reusable Thinking About Open Workshop content out now!

As you might be aware, OEPS have conducted a large number of workshops on different facets of open practice with organisations and institutions across Scotland over the past two years. Perhaps the team has visited where you’re based or you caught taster sessions of workshops at an OEPS Forum?

As part of the OEPS commitment to openness, we’re proud to announce that the first set of reusable workshop content is now available. This content relates to the Thinking about Open workshops that myself and Bea developed and facilitated.  The workshop content is CC BY licensed and we invite you to reuse it in any way you see fit! You could facilitate a similar workshop, reuse any of the activities and content or simply review it for ideas. The choice is yours!

So what is Thinking about Open?

Thinking About Open is a half-day workshop exploring what openness and open educational practices are. The workshop aims to help instigate discussion at your organisation on how openness could make a difference to your own practices whilst acting as a springboard for further discussion on the practicalities of open practice. The workshop utilises a range of case studies and examples of openness to help facilitate discussion.

This workshop is aimed at anyone with an interest in finding out more about openness and how it can make a difference to their own practice. [REF]

Various iterations of the workshop were delivered at 7 different college and higher education institutions across Scotland, as well as as taster sessions at various OEPS forums, over the past 18 months. We received positive feedback about the workshop from participants, for example:

“The ‘Thinking about Open’ session Beck and Bea facilitated for a range of UHI colleagues was both timely and excellent. It broadened and deepened the range of ways in which we could consider and approach open educational practice, and how an open ethos could be reflected in individual and collective practice within our own institutional context. We have already begun to further explore issues and ideas introduced during the workshop, and to identity practical and strategic next steps that we can take.”

Professor Keith Smyth, University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI), Inverness (November 2016)

Thank you so much to everyone who hosted and participated in a workshop!

The CC BY licensed workshop pack is comprised of four parts:

We would love to know if and how you reuse any of the workshop pack. All feedback and comments are welcome! Please get in touch or @BeckPitt / @OEPScotland