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.
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.
The Porous University set out to reconceptualise university. Does it need to have boundaries, could those boundaries be porous or even non-existent? What would this look like? Why might this be desirable? Over two day these and many other questions were considered. There are many tweets, Periscopes and other social media from the event on #porousuni sharing emerging ideas.
After the event the discussion and thinking continued across many of the participants’ blogs including:
- Sheila MacNeil (@Sheilmcn): Initial thoughts from the Porous Uni and More leaking from the Porous Uni
- Keith Smyth (@Smythkrs): Situating digital space and place within the Porous Uni
- Fred Garnett (@fredgarnett): Some ideas about making universities open to communities
- Jennifer Jones (@jennifermjones): And a wee film about the event and a Storify of the tweet
In addition to the The-Porous-University-Symposium—Provocations, for us some further provocations came to mind:
- If the promises implicit in OER’s 5Rs are to be realised there needs to be a major shift of focus from technical standards for interoperability to simple practical methods of obtaining content for use, development of simple tools for remixing and support for sound pedagogical frameworks.
- Generally speaking HE is failing staff and students by not thinking through the digital literacy skills that are needed in a world or ubiquitous smart devices and openly licensed content.//
- Open approaches could transform curriculum development but only if there is a rethinking of what kinds of academic labour is valued and what kinds of systems underpin collaboration and sharing.
- There is a disconnect between the academy and the informal learning sector that requires new models of partnership and engagement.
What do you think?
Tuesday 6th June marked the first day of the 3rd International Enhancement in Higher Education Conference held in Glasgow. The conference coincides with the final year of QAA Scotland’s ‘Transitions’ enhancement theme. At the Enhancement Themes Conference in 2016 the OEPS team explored the relevance of OER and OEP to educational transitions. This year in our presentation we focussed on the question ‘Is open and online reconfiguring learner journeys?’
We noted that learner journeys may involve transitions from informal or self-directed to formal learning, between sectors and between education and employment. These transitions are negotiated in environments where digital technology is becoming ubiquitous. Organisations that support transitions now believe that supporting the development of digital skills is essential and some are making use of open resources. Almost all students, young and mature, now arrive in HE with some digital skills – some may have new forms of credential (open badges). These provide a platform for developing digital literacy and the skills appropriate to learning in higher education.
We raised the possibility that as a result it may be necessary to rethink the pedagogy that underpins transitions and concluded with two questions for reflection:
- Is there a disconnect between pedagogy, practice, student needs and student experience?
- And if there is what does this imply for supporting widening participation transitions?
ET Themes by Pete Cannell, CC BY SA 4.0
The slides for the OEPS presentation can be accessed on slideshare.net
All the presentation slides from the Enhancement Themes conference (keynote and parallel), conference papers and poster presentations are available on the Enhancement Themes website.
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
- The University of Edinburgh are hosting a number of events as part of OE week. Find out more about the use of open educational resources (OER) at their three pop-up events.
- Head on over to the Open.Ed website for a range of guides, resources and information on OER at Edinburgh.
- Read some of the OEPS case studies about the University of Edinburgh’s open practices. These include a look at how they are embedding open practices in Creating a culture of open and a closer look at the benefits of Wikipedia for learning and teaching in Collaborating to build “a city of information literacy, a city of Wikipedia”.
University of Glasgow
- OEPS have developed a number of case studies with University of Glasgow colleagues including Openness at the University of Glasgow which looks at the promise, impact and process of developing MOOC and Open access and flipped learning at Glasgow University focused on educator created open access videos and their role in a flipped learning context.
- And don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled for the forthcoming OER Global Determinants of death and dying.
University of Highlands and Islands
- Does your seaweed look weird? If so, you need the open course My seaweed looks weird which was joint produced by UHI, OEPS and the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS).
- Read Steering Group member Frank Rennie’s paper OER (open educational resources): e-tips which reports on the impact of two e-textbooks and associated OER produced by educators at UHI.
- Come and explore “openness, space and place” in HE at UHI on 8 and 9 May 2017. The Porous University is now open for submissions and bookings … don’t forget to mark the date and get involved!
University of Strathclyde
- See how OER and MOOC can contribute to widening participation in HE in the case study Joining the dots: Widening participation at the University of Strathclyde.
Open University in Scotland / Open University
- Access the OU’s open educational resources and courses on OpenLearn or learn how to use open courses via the Open Pathways to Higher Education.
- You can also create and host your own open educational resources for free on OpenLearn Create and you can access other organisations’ resources there too, for example NESTA and the Rockefeller Foundation; World Vision Ethiopia and UNICEF; The Social Partnerships Network; TESS-India and TESSA.
- If you want to read more about some of The Open University in Scotland’s open education initiatives read Building confidence: The impact of open course Caring Counts.
- Find out more about the OU in Scotland’s Open Learning Champions event and Open Learning Champions network or even get involved.
Opening Educational Practices in Scotland
- OEPS has co-developed a range of open badged courses including Understanding Parkinson’s with Parkinsons UK and the forthcoming Introduction to Dyslexia and Inclusive Practice with Dyslexia Scotland in partnership with Addressing Dyslexia Toolkit.
- We’ve also produced a number of badged open courses, from Becoming an open educator which looks at how openness could enhance your teaching to How to make an open online course (in conjunction with the OU Free Learning Unit) which guides you through the process of creating this type of OER.
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!
The Open Educational Practices in Scotland (OEPS) project conducted a survey to find out about the level of awareness of open educational resources (OER) and open educational practices (OEP) among Higher Education (HE) institutions in Scotland. The survey was distributed in 19 HE institutions, and responses were collected in a five-week period from 19th October 2015 to 23rd November 2015.
- Awareness of OER among Scottish HE educators is generally low
- Awareness of Creative Commons (CC) licenses is lower than public domain or copyright (but awareness of all license types is higher than awareness of OER in general)
- Most educators share teaching materials via their institution’s virtual learning environment (VLE) but few share them openly online
- Lack of awareness is perceived as the highest barrier to adoption of OER
- Scottish HE educators use OER to broaden the range of materials available to their students
- Staff who attend continuing professional development (CPD) opportunities are more likely to engage with OER and OEP
- Efforts to raise awareness of OER and OEP among HE teaching staff in Scotland need to be scaled up
- Opportunities for development around the use of OER in the curriculum, and especially the affordances and limitations of open licenses, should be provided
- Institutions should consider the possibility of ‘opening up’ their VLEs, and establish how to best support and encourage their teaching staff to share resources openly
The infographic below highlights some of the survey results.
‘Do open badges count’ is the central question to be explored in a seminar on accreditation in open education given by ALT’s Martin Hawksey at the eAssessment Scotland 2014 conference in September.
The seminar will examine the motivations behind badges and the effects of open badges, such as ‘situational awareness’ and Supporting Personal Knowledge Graphs (Siemens, 2014). Recently the Association for Learning Technology (ALT) has implemented a set of Mozilla Open Badges to accredit learning on its Open Course in Technology Enhanced Learning (ocTEL) by awarding weekly badges for various tasks including ‘checking-in’ and completing some predefined learning activities.
This seminar takes place during the eAssessment Scotland Day Conference on 5th September at the University of Dundee – see http://www.e-assessment-scotland.org/?page_id=2350#badges. eAssessment Scotland 2014 is also offering an online conference from 8th – 12th September http://www.e-assessment-scotland.org/?page_id=2342
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 produced by the OU with support from the Scottish Government.
- The launch of a new OER on rural entrepreneurship 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or join the conversation by responding to this blog.