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.