Open Education, Open Scotland

The Association for Learning Technology (ALT) Scotland Special Interest Group (SIG), in collaboration with Jisc RSC ScotlandSQA and Cetis will host Open Education, Open Scotland at the Informatics Forum at the University of Edinburgh on Tuesday, 3rd June 2014.

This free one-day event will provide an opportunity for ALT Scotland SIG members and the wider community to come together and share ideas and experiences of adopting and promoting open educational practices across all sectors of Scottish education.

“Open education can promote knowledge transfer while at the same time enhancing quality and sustainability, supporting social inclusion, and creating a culture of inter-institutional collaboration and sharing. In addition, open education can expand access to education, widen participation, create new opportunities for the next generation of teachers and learners and prepare them to become fully engaged digital citizens.”

– Scottish Open Education Declaration

Early last year, these four supporting institutions launched Open Scotland, a voluntary, cross-sector initiative that aims to raise awareness of open education, encourage the sharing of open educational resources, and promote the development of open policy and practice. A number of awareness raising activities have taken place including:

  • The Open Scotland Summit, which brought together senior managers, policy makers and key thinkers to explore the development of open education policy and practice in Scotland.
  • The Open Scotland blog was launched to disseminate news relating to all aspects of openness in education and to act as a focal point for discussion and debate.
  • The first draft of the Scottish Open Education Declaration was released. This open draft is based on the UNESCO Paris OER Declaration, but extends its scope to focus on open education in general, rather than OER in particular.

Invited Speakers and Topics:

  • Maren Deepwell, ALT: Update from ALT
  • Colin Cook, Scottish Government: Scottish Government perspectives
  • David Beards, SFC: SFC Update
  • Ronald MacIntyre, Open University: OU Scotland’s Open Education Project
  • Suzanne Scott, Borders College: Open Badges, Open Borders
  • Jonathan Worth, Coventry University: Open Courses
  • Natalie Lafferty, University of Dundee: Students as consumers and producers of open educational resources
  • Ian Stewart and John Johnstone, GLOW
  • Lorna M Campbell, Cetis: Scottish Open Education Declaration

There are still a few places available for this free event.  Registration and further information is available here: https://www.alt.ac.uk/civicrm/event/info?reset=1&id=106

Second Open Scotland Meeting, 3rd June, Edinburgh

alt_logoThe second Open Scotland meeting, facilitated by the ALT Scotland SIG in collaboration with Jisc RSC Scotland,  SQA and Cetis will take place on the 3rd of June at the Informatics Forum, University of Edinburgh.

This is a free one day event that provides an opportunity for ALT Scotland SIG members and the wider community to come together and share ideas and experiences of adopting and promoting open educational practices across all sectors of Scottish education.  The event will highlight examples of open education innovation across the Scottish education sector, including adoption of open badges and open assessment and accreditation practices; development of open educational resources and courses and open frameworks for technology enhanced learning.  In addition to showcasing homegrown initiatives, the event will also look further afield to inspiring and innovative projects and developments across the UK. This event will also explore some of the drivers and barriers to embedding open education policy and practice within Scottish education, and will provide an opportunity to discuss the draft Scottish Open Education Declaration.

You can register for the ALT Scotland SIG Open Scotland event here: https://www.alt.ac.uk/civicrm/event/info?reset=1&id=106

Draft Programme

09:30-10:30

Registration (Tea/Coffee)

10:30-10:45

Welcome from ALT Scotland SIG – Linda Creanor, Glasgow Caledonian University and Joe Wilson, SQA

10:45-11:00

Update from ALT – Maren Deepwell, ALT

11:00-11:30

Scottish Government perspectives – Colin Cook, Deputy Director of Digital Strategy, Scottish Government

11:30:12:00

SFC Update – David Beards, Scottish Funding Council
OU Scotland’s Open Education Project – Ronald McIntyre, OU Scotland

12:00-12:30

Open Badges, Open Borders – Suzanne Scott, Borders College

12:30-13:30

Lunch

13:30-14:00

Open Courses – Jonathan Worth, Coventry University

14:00-14:30

Open Institutions – Natalie Lafferty, University of Dundee

14:30-15:00

Opening GLOW – Ian Stuart and John Johnston

15:00-15:15

Coffee break

15:15-15:30

Scottish Open Education Declaration – Lorna M. Campbell, Cetis

15:30-16:00

Plenary discussion

16:00

Close

Open Scotland Webinar

Last week Joe Wilson of SQA and I presented a short webinar on the Open Scotland initiative and the Scottish Open Education Declaration.  The webinar, which was hosted by Celeste McLaughlin of Jisc RSC Scotland, generated some interesting discussion and debate around open education in Scotland.  A recording of the webinar is available here, and our slides are available from slideshare here .

The Scottish Open Education Declaration was introduced in the context of other open education developments including the UNESCO / COL Paris OER Declaration, the Open Educational Resources in Europe project, and Welsh HEIs statement of intent to work to open education principals. The Open Scotland initiative welcomes participation from individuals and institutions and we encourage all those with and interest in open education to comment on and endorse the Scottish Open Education Declaration.  Joe encouraged participants to get involved as individuals and also to take the Declaration back to their academic boards to raise awareness of the initiative and to get their institutions to sign up.  At this stage, the main aim of the Declaration is to raise awareness of the potential benefits of open education policy and practice, a valuable next step would be to start gathering exemplars that illustrate each statement of the declaration in action.

Joe and I both highlighted examples of open education practice in Scotland and further afield and participants also suggested other examples of communities sharing educational resources including the Computing at School Scotland initiative which aims to promote the teaching of computer science at school, and the fabulously named Magic Physics Pixies and their Scottish Physics Teaching Resources network.  This discussion prompted Tavis Reddick, of Fife College, to ask:

“Are there any illustrative exemplars of, say, OER, which Open Scotland would recommend to show how sharing and remix could work in practice?”

Although Open Scotland hasn’t got as far as recommending specific resources, the UKOER Programmes produced a wide range of resources including the OER Infokit,  and the ALT Open Education SIG recently gathered a series of case studies for Open Education Week.  The University of Leeds have also produced guidelines on developing and using OER for staff and students which have been adopted and repurposed by Glasgow Caledonian University: Library Guidance on open educational resources.

There is also considerable interest in the potential of Open Badges across the sector. Joe flagged up SQA’s commitment to Open Badges  and Celeste highlighted the work of the Open Badges in Scottish Education Group and Borders College’s use of Open Badges to replace paper based certification for continuing professional development activities.

There was some discussion of the Re:Source repository of open education resources for the Scottish college sector, with questions being asked about how extensively it is currently being used and whether a sustainable funding model could be developed. One suggestion was that, in the longer term, recurrent funding for Re:source could potentially come from the things it might replace, such as teaching materials acquisition budgets. One participant noted that their college did not yet have a policy that allowed them to publish OERs to Re:Source, but added that they hoped their board would take an interest soon.

One very valid question raised towards the end of the webinar was “how will we know if we are getting any better at this?” There are currently no benchmarking guidelines or KPIs for open education in Scotland but it would certainly be very interesting to undertake a landscape study of current open education practice across all sectors of Scottish education.  This would act as a baseline against which we could measure progress, but a survey of this nature would require dedicated funding and resources.    We’re already aware of lots of interesting examples of open education practice in Scotland but I’m sure that are many, many more out there, so if you know of any, or if you’re involved in any open education initiatives at your own institution, please do get in touch!

The Scottish Open Education Declaration

http://declaration.openscot.net/

One of the primary deliverables we agreed to produce following the Open Scotland Summit held in Edinburgh last year, was a declaration supporting open education in Scotland based on the UNESCO Paris OER Declaration. There was general agreement that the Paris Declaration was a “good thing” however many participants felt it was too focused on OER and that a Scottish declaration should encompass open education more widely. The result is the Scottish Open Education Declaration, a draft statement adapted from the Paris OER Declaration.

In order to coincide with Open Education Week, the first draft of the Scottish Open Education Declaration has been shared online using the CommentPress application to enable all members of the community to add comments and feedback.  We invite all those with an interest in open education in Scotland to comment on and contribute to this draft and to encourage their colleagues to join the debate.

http://declaration.openscot.net/

In addition to adapting the Paris OER Declaration, colleagues at the Open Scotland Summit also suggested that it would be beneficial to develop a grid of the Declaration’s statements, which stakeholders could fill in to provide contextualisation and evidence of the statements in action.   This will be the next step forward, but first we would encourage the community to contribute to shaping the draft declaration so we can reach a consensus on open education principles that will benefit all sectors of Scottish education.

College Development Network Librarians Open Developments in Scotland

Earlier this week I travelled up to the Stirling where I had the pleasure of presenting the keynote at the College Development Network Librarians Open Developments in Scotland event. It was an interesting and lively event and it’s great to see college librarians really engaging with the open education debate. Open education has the potential to be of enormous benefit to the FE sector, and librarians have a critical role to play in raising awareness of open education and advising their staff on the development and use of open educational content and licences.

My slides are available here and I’ve posted a Storify of the event here: Librarians Development Network: Open Developments in Scotland.

My presentation was followed by a fascinating talk by Suzanne Scott about Borders College‘s adoption of Mozilla Badges.  There’s been a lot of talk about the potential of open badges recently, so it’s really interesting to see them being used in a real world scenario.   Borders College aren’t just using badges to motivate students and acknowledge their achievement, they are also using them to engage with staff and have replaced all staff CPD paper certificates with Open Badges.  Adopting badges has also had significant reputational benefit and has raised the profile of the college;  Borders College are 4th on Mozilla’s list of international Open Badge Issuers. 

Following Suzanne, Mike Glancey of the National Museums of Scotland gave a talk about SCURL‘s Walk in Access initiative.  Now I have to confess, I had never heard of Walk in Access before, but it sounds like a really valuable initiative.  Walk in Access provides members of the public with on-site access to digital content such as journals and databases, where licensing terms and conditions permit.  Walk in Access highlights libraries commitment to opening access and also helps to widen engagement and provide access to distance learning students. The SCURL Walk in Access report is available here.

In the afternoon we were lucky to have a presentation from the always inspiring Christine Sinclair about the University of Edinburgh’s Coursera MOOCs and her team’s experiences of running the ELearning and Digital Cultures MOOC (). Christine explained that Edinburgh initially got in involved with MOOCs for five reasons: reputation, exploration, outreach, shared experience and, most importantly, fun!  The Edinburgh MOOCs have the support of the principal and the senior management, and the university has invested a considerable amount of funding in the initiative, however a lot the courses still run on “staff goodwill, evenings and weekends.”   It’s too early to say if this is a sustainable approach, Edinburgh are still exploring this.  Although the  team didn’t want to produce “star tutor talking heads” videos they discovered that students still wanted to “see” their lecturers and to form a connection with them. Some students struggled with the  approach, asking “Why aren’t you teaching us? Where are our learning outcomes?”  but others really engaged and came back to act as Community Teaching Assistants the following year.

Christine was followed by Gary Cameron of the College Development Network who gave an inspirational talk calling for his colleagues across the college sector to “Share, Share, Share!” To facilitate this sharing the Re:Source repository has been established for the Scottish college sector as a place to share open educational resources.  CDN are also planning to issue small grants for staff to openly licence resources in key topic areas. Gary ended his talk by reminding us that:

“OER is no longer an option, it’s an imperative, but still need to win battle for hearts and minds.”

The final presentation of the day was from Susanne Boyle, who has recently taken over from Jackie Carter as Director of Jorum and Senior Manager, Learning and Teaching at Mimas.  Susanne is not the only new member of staff to join the Jorum team, within a couple of months, 50% of the  team will be new appointments!  Jorum will be supporting the Jisc funded FE and Skills Programme, and will be creating tools to make it easier for FE practitioners to connect with Jisc and Jorum content.  The team will also be focusing on Health Practice resources and collections, and will be working closely with the North-West OER Network.  I have been involved with Jorum since it was just a wee glimmer of a project proposal, and I have sat on its Steering Group through every phase of its development so it will be very interesting to see what this new lease of life brings!

…funding, if…

A thought provoking addition to the Open Scotland debate by Graeme Arnott. 

Graeme is a Training Officer with the Scottish Electrical Charitable Training Trust (SECTT) and manages the Scottish Joint Industry Board‘s (SJIB) Adult Training Scheme. He’s a member of Wikimedia UK, and a Community Coordinator with OKF Scotland.

Following a talk on Open Scotland which SQA’s Joe Wilson and I presented at the JISC RSC Joint Forum on Open Education in Edinburgh last November, Graeme Arnnot has posted a reply called “funding, if”.  In a challenging and thought provoking response, Graeme explores some of the real world barriers, including the perceived threat of “the other”, that prevent colleagues, particularly in  the FE sector, from sharing and opening access to their resources.  Graeme begins by quoting two anonymous college lecturers:

 1. I get ‘open’, I really do…but why should I share anything when the enemy down the road gives fuck all?

2. I would, but that would mean asking other members of staff for their packs,… and they wouldn’t like that

Graeme suggest that to some extent this attitude demonstrates

 …not just how deeply the institutions had embodied that ideology of Thatcherite competition, but also how effectively that rivalrous structure has, in turn, been internalised by their staff members.

In response to Martin Weller’s assertion that the battle for open has already been won and that the real battle will now determine the future narrative of open, Graeme argues that if the battle has been won, it has

…it has been won elsewhere, and the battle to define open is being fought elsewhere.  In other words, the opinion of the Scottish educational sector won’t be heard because we aren’t present on the battlefield.

However Graeme also highlights some positive developments, including the Glasgow Future City project and the recent Norwegian Government report on massive open online courses, which could have an impact on encouraging the development of policy that will help to “put in place the practices that make sharing spontaneous.”

Graeme echoes Creative Commons’ Cable Green, in suggesting that public money should only be awarded to educational institutions that adopt open practices that are genuinely beneficial to the public.   In conclusion, Graeme argues that changing the nature of  institutional funding could have a significant impact on encouraging openness and proposes adapting some of the key points outlined by the Nordic OER Alliance as follows:

Scottish FE institutions could continue to receive

  • funding, if they invest in improving  the level of digital literacies of their staff which makes openness possible;
  • funding, if their staff make available top quality open educational resources;
  • funding, if they develop the infrastructure and pedagogy of online learning
  • funding, if  the public derives benefit from their MOOC

I’d encourage you to read the full text of this important contribution to the open education debate in Scotland on Graeme’s own blog here: http://postmodeblog.wordpress.com/2014/01/03/opening-scotland_funding_if/