Earlier this month I was delighted to be invited to join the Advisory Board of the Open Knowledge Foundation’s Open Education Working Group. The aim of the group, which is led by Marieke Guy, is “to initiate global cross-sector and cross-domain activity that encompasses the various facets of open education.” Marieke has invited all Board members to write an introductory blog post for the group so here’s mine. It was published over at Open Education Working Group site last week.
(Cross posted from Open Scotland blog)
Last week the Welsh Government’s Online Digital Learning Working Group published their report Open and Online: Wales, higher education and emerging modes of learning. The group was established in February 2013 by Leighton Andrews AM, the Welsh Government’s Minister for Education and Skills at the time,
“to examine the potential for online digital learning and how the Welsh Government can support the higher education sector in this growing field.”
Paul Richardson of Jisc RSC Wales acted as professional advisor to the group and undertook the consultation exercise. The report includes an invaluable background paper produced by Paul on Open and online resources: implications for practice in higher education institutions in Wales, which provides an invaluable overview of recent open education developments including OER and MOOCs, and quotes from a number of Cetis blogs and publications. Although Paul’s paper focuses on the implications of open education for Welsh HEIs I can also highly recommend is as an excellent general summary of recent developments open education policy, practice and technology.
The report itself includes the following of seven recommendations addressed to the Minister for Education and Skills and higher education institutions.
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 embedded below.
“We are all publishers now, publishing has never been so ubiquitous”
- Padmini Ray Murray
Earlier this week I was speaking at What I Know Is an interdisciplinary research symposium on online collaborative knowledge building organised by the University of Stirling’s Division of Communications, Media and Culture, together with Wikimedia UK. It was a completely fascinating and eclectic event that covered everything from new models of academic publishing, issues of trust and authorship, non-hierarchical networks of knowledge, extended cognition, collaborative art and the semantics of open.
The third annual Open Education Week takes place from 10-15 March 2014. The purpose of Open Education Week is “to raise awareness about the movement and its impact on teaching and learning worldwide“.
Cetis staff are supporting Open Education Week by publishing a series of blog posts about open education activities. The Cetis blog will provide access to the posts which will describe Cetis activities concerned with a range of open education activities.
A little history….
The origins of the Open Scotland Initiative can be traced back to the OER12 Conference in Cambridge where Sir John Daniel, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Commonwealth of Learning, presented a keynote about the COL / UNESCO Open Educational Resource Survey and the Paris OER Declaration. Joe Wilson of SQA and I were both in the audience that day, and when Sir John mentioned that the survey had been sent out to all Commonwealth Governments, OECD Commonwealth countries and UNESCO Member States, we couldn’t help wondering if a copy had ever reached the Scottish Government. As far as we were able the ascertain, this widely disseminated questionnaire never found its way north of the border to Edinburgh, so here was no Scottish response.
At the same time, the third and final year of the HEFCE funded UKOER programme was drawing to a close. Although Scottish institutions were able to benefit from the resources released by UKOER projects, they had not been eligible to bid for funding and participate in the programme itself. Arguably this resulted in lower awareness of the potential benefits of open education across the sector, and open education practice was less well embedded within institutions.
These were just two of the drivers that encouraged Cetis, SQA, Jisc RSC Scotland and the ALT Scotland SIG to come together to form Open Scotland. Open Scotland is a voluntary 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. In June 2013 the group hosted 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.
Scottish Open Education Declaration
During the summit, participants explored the potential of developing an Open Declaration for Scotland based on the UNESCO Paris OER Declaration. There was general agreement that the Paris Declaration was a “good thing” however many colleagues 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.
It’s been a little quiet on this blog recently, I haven’t been sitting around twiddling my thumbs though, far from it! I’ve been busy on the Open Scotland front and with another exciting project that Phil Barker and I will be announcing very shortly.
I also seem to have got myself roped into an awful lot of conferences and events over the next three or four months. I’ve got ten presentations coming up between now and the end of June, on topics ranging from open education policy and Open Scotland, to the Learning Resource Metadata Initiative, to the crew of an 18th century naval frigate (yes really!) If you want to find out where to catch me, I’ve updated my list of Presentations & Events.
A Research Symposium on Online Collaborative Knowledge Building
The University of Stirling will host a one day research symposium on online collaborative knowledge building tomorrow, Wednesday 19th February. Further details are available here: What I Know Is
Dogma concerning the use of the Wikipedia has, for many of us working in Higher Education, tended to dictate a lukewarm and grudging acknowledgement of its existence at best; at worst, a belief that any and all uses of it ought to be expunged from academia forever. This attitude to the Wikipedia, and its umbrella organisation in the UK, Wikimedia UK, has in recent years mellowed and in some disciplinary circles it has now been appropriated as a tool for Learning and Teaching.
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.
(Cross posted from Open Scotland.)
“We broadly support open licences and OER and need a serious public debate on this issue.”
~Michael Russell, MSP
This was the Minister for Education’s response to a question I put to him earlier today regarding Scottish Government support for open education policy and open licences for publicly funded educational resources in order to benefit learners, not just within Scotland, but internationally. The Minister was speaking at the Future of Higher Education In Scotland and the UK event in Edinburgh, organised by the ESRC Fellowship Project: Higher Education, the Devolution Settlement and the Referendum on Independence.
May you live in interesting times is a well known, but seemingly fictitious, “Chinese curse”, and boy was 2013 an interesting time!
I’m not much given to end of year reflections as I tend to see this as a time to look forward rather than back, however I can’t let this year pass without comment. My former Cetis colleague Sheila MacNeil has already written a lovely reflective post over at her blog called That Was The Year That Was; my equivalent post is rather more That Was The Year That Wasn’t.