As the OEPS project draws to a close, there is much to celebrate. We are pleased to share the growing collection of open courses, resources, case studies and open practice guidance which the project has helped produce and showcase the online platform, OpenLearn Create, which the project has helped further develop for hosting open materials and practices and where the OEPS collection is hosted.
In the OEPS collection:
Resources for OEP includes case studies on how other people and institutions have used open educational resources and practices; guidance on ways of finding, using, creating and sharing high quality open educational resources (OER) and how to use open educational practices and research on open education. These are worth exploring to find something which might be similar to your own experience and give you encouragement to continue investigating the fascinating world of open learning and what it enables for so many people.
The OEPS team have written two courses about open educational practices, Becoming an open educator and Supporting Collective learning in workplace and community settings and have also been involved in co-authoring a course about creating courses – How to make an open online course.
OEPS also worked with the Scottish Association of Marine Science (SAMS) to create a short course called My seaweed looks weird for post graduate learners about seaweed aquaculture to explore best practice in seaweed cultivation.
We have produced two short resources introducing secondary school children to using the Open Science Lab tools to enhance their learning of Analysing pesticides or testing for genetic variations using quantitative PCR analysis (polymerase chain reaction). Early in the OEPS project these were piloted with two schools in Scotland and have been revised slightly as a result of the pilot.
Courses developed with OEPS or inspired by it:
Early in the project The Open University in Scotland produced 3 badged open courses for carers which carry the OEPS badge design – see the OU in Scotland collection for Caring Counts: a self-reflection and planning course for carers, Caring Counts in the Workplace and Reflecting on Transitions.
We are working with Parkinson’s UK on their collection of courses and Dyslexia Scotland and Addressing Dyslexia Toolkit on a collection of courses. So far Understanding Parkinson’s and Introduction to Dyslexia and Inclusive Practice have been published and each organisation has worked with OEPS to develop more courses which are coming soon.
More recently we’re pleased to see that the OEPS project has encouraged independent course creation – see the free resource for teachers Grow your own loaf created by the Royal Highland Education Trust, inspired by the OEPS project and hosted online as the result of the availability of the free open platform which the OEPS project has helped improve.
Using the OEPS collection
We hope that you will find the OEPS collection useful, not only as a legacy of the project but also as a place to find and share information on open educational practice. The collection can be updated so please contact the OLC team if you would like to contribute to it.
We are delighted to announce that How to make an open online course is now live. It is a new badged open course which explains how to design, structure and produce your own open online course. It was written by the Free Learning Team at The Open University and includes sections by the OEPS project team. How to make an open online course complements the OEPS course Becoming an Open Educator which was released in September 2016 to focus on how to find open resources, how open licences work, the benefits of using and remixing OER and how they might influence the course you create.
How to make an open online course guides you through the practical steps to take in building a course including planning the course, how it might be hosted online, the use and reuse of free content, what sort of assessment activities you might want to include, social learning and the important steps you need to take before you publish your course. It prompts you to think about what consider to as you compile content, it also discusses the writing and editing process.
When the OEPS project began, these two courses were proposed as key tools to help those discovering the benefits of using OER for widening participation in higher and further education. As the project has progressed and we work with partners to help them create their own OER for their particular contexts we have reflected on processes of course creation. We have focussed especially on how a course can be created in collaboration between universities and organisations or those unfamiliar with how to produce meaningful online learning materials and this experience has been incorporated into these courses.
The Open University has plenty of expertise in creating good quality distance educational materials to support students, more recently in online settings both for formal courses and for the informal courses and resources hosted on OpenLearn. The OU Free Learning team, who commission all the free open courses hosted on OpenLearn, including the highly successful OU Badged Open Courses, have compiled How to make an open online course to share this knowledge in an accessible way to anyone who wants to try building their own course.
The OEPS project team welcome your thoughts, comments and suggestions on how this new badged open course or Becoming an Open Educator makes a different to your open educational practice. Please contact us at (oepscotland [at] gmail.com) or tweet using the hashtag #openeducator about your experience of using these two courses to guide your course building activities.
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.