Reflections on the Opening Educational Practices in Scotland project launch

Last week the Open University’s Opening Educational Practices in Scotland project launched in Edinburgh.   Open Scotland contributors Sheila MacNeill and Joe Wilson have both written thoughtful blog posts about the project and the event.

#Oepsforum14 #Openscot Reflections

By Joe Wilson at ……Experimental Blog

If Open Education is anything it is about life long learning , its about developing open practitioners and it has got to be about ground up practice and top down policy changes.

There is already a lot of grass roots activity going on in Scotland and across the UK. I hope the partners in the OEPS project harness all of this.  Understandably a lot of focus at the event seemed to be around what the Open University could do for us – questions for long term sustainability should really be around what can we all do to open up learning.

You can read the rest of Joe’s blog post here http://www.joewilsons.net/2014/10/oepsforum2014-openscot-reflections.html

Stuck in the middle with . . . open #oepsforum14

By Sheila MacNeill at howsheilaseesIT

I think there is a danger that the lasting narrative of this project could be subsumed into the larger narrative of the OU. This worries me.  Not because I think that the OU shouldn’t have its own narrative around open education. It has, and continues to do excellent work around opening up access to education and resources. It’s more a niggling fear that a project which states:

 “The Opening Educational Practices in Scotland project facilitates best practice in Scottish open education. We aim to enhance Scotland’s reputation and capacity for developing publicly available and licenced online materials, supported by high quality pedagogy and learning technology.”

doesn’t really seem to be able to articulate (yet) how this Scottish narrative is going to be created, shared and be distinct from the wider OU story.

You can read the rest of Sheila’s thoughts here http://howsheilaseesit.wordpress.com/2014/10/14/stuck-in-the-middle-with-open-oepsforum14/

Heather Gibson of QAA Scotland has also put together a Storify of tweets from the even here: Tweetline from the OEPS Project Launch and ALT’s Martin Hawksey has created a TAGS tweet archive of the event here: #OEPSForum14. I’m hoping to add my own thoughts to the Open Scotland blog later in the week.

OERde14 – The view from Scotland

I’m delighted to have been invited to Berlin later this week to give a talk at OERde14 – The Future of Free Educational Materials. I’ll be talking about a range of contrasting initiatives that have aimed to promote open education policy and practice in Scotland, England and Wales over the last five years, including the UKOER Programme, Open Scotland, OER Wales, the Welsh Open Education Declaration of Intent, the Scottish Open Education Declaration and the Opening Educational Practice in Scotland project. I’ll also be reflecting on the different approaches taken by these initiatives and asking what Germany can learn from the experiences of open education practitioners in the UK.

Abstract

The first and largest open education initiative in the UK was the UKOER Programme. Between 2009 and 2012 the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) invested over £10 million in UKOER, and funded over 80 projects at universities throughout England. UKOER proved to be hugely successful, however only English universities were eligible to bid for funding. As a result, there was arguably less awareness of the potential benefits of open education across other sectors of UK education. That is not to say there have been no significant open education developments in other parts of the UK, simply that approaches to open education have followed different paths.

In September 2013 universities in Wales issued the Wales Open Education Declaration of Intent, which announced Welsh Universities commitment to work towards the principals of open education and in direct response, the OER Cymru project was established. In a parallel initiative, the Welsh Government established an Open Digital Learning Working Group in early 2013, which published the report Open and Online: Wales, higher education and emerging modes of learning.

Meanwhile north of the border, interest was growing around the area of Open Badges, and MOOCs had also caught the attention of Scottish Higher Education.

In order to raise awareness of open education policy and practice more widely, Cetis, SQA, Jisc RSC Scotland and the ALT Scotland SIG, came together to launch Open Scotland in early 2013. Open Scotland is an unfunded cross-sector initiative that aims to raise awareness of open education, encourage the sharing of open educational resources, and explore the potential of open policy and practice to benefit all sectors of Scottish education. Among other activities, Open Scotland launched the Scottish Open Education Declaration, based on the UNESCO Paris OER Declaration.

Open education in general, and MOOCS in particular, also caught the attention of the Scottish Government and the Scottish Funding Council, and in early 2014 the Funding Council announced a £1.3 million investment in open education. Rather than issue an open funding call similar to the UKOER programme, SFC allocated their funding to the Open University to establish the Opening Education Practices in Scotland (OEPS) project, which aims to facilitate best practice in open education in Scotland.

These diverse programmes represent just some of the open education initiatives that have emerged in the UK; they provide a wide range of exemplars that may be of interest and benefit to open education practitioners in Germany and elsewhere in Europe.