Blog Archives

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!

 

Finding good resources for Work-based learning

By Anna Page (OEPS project)

OU Social Partnership Network logoUnion learning representatives (ULRs), Workers Education Association (WEA) tutors and other workplace learning facilitators may find a new free online guide useful to help them signpost learning opportunities in the workplace to colleagues. The OpenLearn Learner Guide for Social Partnerships Network helps facilitators develop skills to find relevant resources in OpenLearn which can be shared with work-based learners.

OpenLearn contains over 11,000 hours of materials including more than 800 courses, interactive resources, videos, academic blogs and podcasts in a range of subject areas. It has several useful features to support online learning. The new guide provides familiarisation with OpenLearn opportunities in a step-by-step format and offers a badge for anyone who completes all the activities.

The new OpenLearn learner guide has been developed by the Open University’s Centre for Inclusion and Collaborative Partnerships (CICP) and is hosted on OpenLearn Works, which is a free Moodle platform where anyone can create Open Educational Resources to share openly.

You can find the OpenLearn Learner Guide for Social Partnerships Network at http://www.open.edu/openlearnworks/learnerguideSPN

Explore OpenLearn at http://www.open.edu/openlearn

Create and browse OER in OpenLearn Works http://www.open.edu/openlearnworks

Open Pathways to Higher Education

by Pete Cannell (OEPS project)

Open Pathways to success

Open Pathways to success

Online repositories hold a huge range of educational materials that encompass learning objects, video, audio and structured courses. The range of choice can be a deterrent for experienced learners and is even more so for those who are tentative and lack confidence.   Complexity and choice becomes a barrier to the effective use of open educational resources (OER) in widening participation. In this context a new initiative by the Open University in Scotland is really welcome.

Open Pathways builds on a similar scheme developed by OU colleagues in Wales to support journeys from informal to formal learning. The materials are available as a hard copy pack and online on OpenLearn and are aimed at non-traditional students interested in engaging with education. The approach is quite simply to show how informal learning opportunities can lead to more structured access study and then on to formal accredited higher education modules and qualifications.

There are three broad pathways identified:

  • Arts and Languages
  • People, Work and Society
  • Science, Technology and Maths

Each pathway contains carefully curated options for informal learning using free open courses through to access modules and then on to accredited modules at SCQF level 7.   The aim is to give learners confidence about where to start and a sense of structure to support progression.   Within the three broad pathways there is still considerable flexibility to choose options that are of interest and relevance. The materials include simple tools that encourage a reflective approach to study and to negotiating within, through and between pathways.

Many non-traditional learners make the transition into education with the encouragement and support of a trusted intermediary. The initiative also aims to support individuals who play this ‘trusted advisor’ role to develop skills as ‘open learning champions’ and the materials include a dedicated guide which explains how Pathways can support them to advise and encourage potential leaners in ways which make use of social context and peer support.

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