University of Edinburgh acknowledged in ALT Learning Technologist of the Year Awards

Two teams from the University of Edinburgh were acknowledged in the ALT Learning Technologist of the Year Awards at the annual ALT Conference at the University of Warwick last week.  The Open Education Team was placed third in the Team awards, with the team from Educational Design and Engagement being highly commended.  

The ALT Learning Technologist of the Year Awards celebrate and reward excellent practice and outstanding achievement in the learning technology field, and aim to promote intelligent use of Learning Technology on a national scale. 

Open Education Team

The Open Education Team is a virtual team within Information Services whose role is to coordinate open education and open knowledge activities across the University. The Team undertakes a wide range of activities that support staff and students to engage with OER, and help the institution to mainstream digital education across the curriculum.  Initiatives run by the Open Education Team include the OER Service, Open.Ed, support for CMALT accreditation, engagement with Wikimedia UK and support for Open Scotland which raises awareness of open education policy and practice to benefit all sectors of Scottish education.

Accepting the award on behalf of the Open Education Team by www.chrisbullphotographer.com

Accepting the award on behalf of the Open Education Team by
www.chrisbullphotographer.com

Educational Design and Engagement

The Educational Design and Engagement team, which came into existence less than two years ago, supports University teaching and learning by providing a central hub for developing awareness, support for staff and students and leadership for e-learning service improvements. With a developing portfolio of 35 MOOCs with over two million sign ups globally, the team continues to grow. In the past year alone, supporting a 20% increase in online assessment submission institution-wide as well as over 10,000 ePortfolio submissions.

Stuart Nicol accepts the award on behalf of EDE by www.chrisbullphotographer.com

Stuart Nicol accepts the award on behalf of EDE by
www.chrisbullphotographer.com

Melissa Highton, Assistant Principal Online Learning at the University of Edinburgh, said

“These¬†awards recognise excellent achievement by the IS teams, they show that our work¬†in open education and educational design is recognised and valued at a national¬†level. I‚Äôm very proud of the teams and it was great fun to be at the¬†ALT Conference¬†when they received their award.”

Me speaking after receiving the award on behalf of the Open Education Team

ALTC Connect, Collaborate, Create Highlights

ALTC used to be one of those conferences I only attended every second or third year, but over the last couple of years it really has become unmissable.  Whether you attend in person or participate virtually, it undoubtedly provides the best way to get a broad overview of technology enhanced learning in the UK together with plenty of opportunity for in depth discussion around many of the issues currently affecting the sector.  And this years conference Connect, Collaborate, Create co-chaired by Nicola Whitton and Alex Moseley, at the University of Warwick was no exception.

I’m not going to attempt to blog a summary of the conference, as the ALT team has already rounded up a whole host of excellent conference reports here Enabling the Connection, so I’m just going to pick out a few or my own personal highlights.

Lets get the team back together

I was delighted¬†that ALT invited Rich Goodman, Chris Bull and I back to join Martin Hawksey and the conference social¬†media team¬†again this year. Live tweeting the conference keynotes from the official ALT account can be more than a bit daunting¬†but it’s also an extremely rewarding experience¬†and¬†it was great to be joined this year by Kenji Lamb and¬†Sandra Huskinson.

tweet tweet tweet - me & Rich Goodman by www.chrisbullphotographer.com

tweet tweet tweet – me & Rich Goodman by www.chrisbullphotographer.com

Trolls, myths, privilege and freedom

Josie Fraser’s keynote In¬†The¬†The Valley of the Trolls¬†took an intelligent look at the thorny subject of trolling and didn’t shy away from addressing¬†Gamergate head on. ¬†(By contrast, aside from a single comment¬†about gender imbalance in the games industry, Ian Livingston failed to address¬†the issue of representation, sexism and harassment in the gaming community.) ¬†Lia Commissar gave a highly entertaining keynote on Education and Neuroscience: Issues and Opportunities, which exploded a whole host of¬†neuromyths common¬†in education, ranging from¬†learning styles and right / left brain thinking to the magical power of¬†fish oils. ¬†Jane Secker’s thoughtful and thought provoking keynote¬†Copyright and e-learning: understanding our privileges and freedoms touched on¬†many issues that are of deep personal concern to me, including privilege, equality and the¬†enclosure of our cultural commons. ¬†I actually found myself getting¬†quite over emulsional while Jane was talking :}

Me fangirling Jane Secker's  keynote by www.chrisbullphotographer.com

Me fangirling Jane Secker’s keynote by www.chrisbullphotographer.com

The issues

Although I didn’t manage to get to nearly as many sessions as I would have liked, because I was running around doing so many other things, my impression is that some of the main issues¬†to emerge from the conference this year were learning analytics, policies for lecture capture, and games in education.

Open education

It was great to see so many presentations on different¬†aspects of open education, particularly at a time when there is so little¬†external funding going into OER. ¬†My impression is that openness is¬†slowly starting to become embedded across the sector, ¬†with more institutions starting to consider the sustainability of the resources their staff and students create. I gave a presentation Into the Open ‚Äď a critical overview of open education policy and practice in Scotland and I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who provided enthusiastic comments and feedback.

ALT Scotland SIG

And talking of Scotland….we had a very successful meeting of the ALT Scotland SIG. ¬†It was great to see so many new faces! ¬†You can find out more about ALT Scotland¬†and join out mailing list for updates.

Learning Technologist of the Year Awards

The University of Edinburgh was acknowledged twice in the Learning Technologist of the Year awards.  The Open Education Team, which I work with, was placed third in the team awards and the Education Development and Enhancement team was highly commended.  The awards were great fun and it was a real honour to join so many of the award winners from 2007 Р2016 on the stage.

ALT Learning Technologists of the Year by  www.chrisbullphotographer.com

ALT Learning Technologists of the Year by
www.chrisbullphotographer.com

ALT Trustee

I’m delighted to have¬†joined the ALT Central Executive Committee as a Trustee and¬†look forward to hopefully making a positive contribution to the organisation.

Virtually Connecting

I took part in a great Virtually Connecting session with Fiona Harvey, Teresa MacKinnon, Nadine Aboulmagd and others.  We discussed a wide range of topics including the risks and privileges associated with openness.

#altc #play

Despite patiently explaining to co-chair Nicola Whitton that I am #notagamer she insisted that I joined her team for the Actionbound School of Rock challenge.¬†Yes really.¬†I have to admit it was a lot of fun¬†and¬†we had the most awesome team. ¬†Also this happened…

Ed Tech Cool, edit by James Clay

Ed Tech Cool, edit by James Clay

We should have won.  We were robbed.

 

Inspiring Interns and Open Content

Over the summer, the Learning, Teaching and Web Directorate here at the University of Edinburgh has been hosting nine student interns across five different departments and last week¬†I went along to an event that showcased their work. ¬†All the students were really inspiring and¬†spoke candidly and positively about their¬†experience of working¬†on their different projects. You can find out more about all nine internships¬†here: The Power of 9: LTW Student Summer Interns, and also read some of the student’s own blog posts.

Martin Tasker developing OER for TES Connect, CC BY 2.0, Lorna M. Campbell

Martin Tasker developing OER for TES Connect, CC BY 2.0, Lorna M. Campbell

It seems unfair to pick out just one or two of the interns, as they all produced immensely¬†valuable outputs, but I really want to highlight the work of Martin Tasker, who has been based here¬†with the OER Team as our Open Content Curation Intern.¬†Martin’s role has been to work with students and staff to repurpose¬†collections of educational resources that engage with the wider community. ¬†These resources have been made available through TES Connect and the University’s own Open.Ed¬†one-stop-shop for OER. ¬†The resources include:

Martin has writing a lovely blog post about his experience of working with OER here: A Student’s Perspective on Open Education.

Martin wasn’t the only intern that created open educational resources as part of their internship. Connie Crowe developed a script to create a playlist of all Creative Commons licensed content in the University’s media management platform ¬†Media Hopper, which can be accessed here: ¬†Media Hopper Open Educational Resources; and Annie Caldwell shared some beautiful pictures of the University’s learning spaces, taken while compiling an inventory of audio visual technology kits across 300 teaching rooms. Annie created a tumblr to record¬†her internship¬†here EdinburghUniExplorer¬†and she as has also shared some of her gorgeous photographs under CC license on flickr here LST Photographs

CC BY 2.0 Annie Caldwell

Lecture Theatre Seats, CC BY 2.0, Annie Caldwell

Choose #LTA6

Vote #LTA6

Sorry, it had to be done :} ¬†I’m delighted that the Open Education Team at the University of Edinburgh where I work has been nominated for the ALT Learning Technologist of the Year Community Choice Awards, and y’know, if you feel that way inclined, you might like to vote for us. ¬†You can find out more about the Community Choice Awards here Finalists and Community Choice Voting and you can vote for us by sending an email to¬†LTAwards-vote@alt.ac.uk with the subject line #LTA6. ¬†Or alternatively you can tweet a message with the hashtags #altc #LTA6.¬†Those clever people at ALT have even set up a link to generate the tweet for you ūüôā

The Open Education Team at the University of Edinburgh is a virtual team within the Information Services Group, Learning, Teaching and Web Services Division and our role is to coordinate open education and open knowledge activities across the University.

The team is made up of Lorna M Campbell,¬†OER Liaison ‚Äď Open Scotland, Stuart Nicol,¬†Learning Technology Team Manager,¬†Stephanie (Charlie) Farley,¬†OER Advisor, Ewan McAndrew,¬†Wikimedian-in-Residence, Jo Spiller,¬†Head of Educational Design¬†and Engagement, Eugenia Twomey,¬†Student Engagement Officer, Anne-Marie Scott,¬†Head of Digital Learning Applications &¬†Media, Susan Greig,¬†Learning Technology Advisor¬†and Martin Tasker, Open Content Curation Intern.

You can find out more about our work in the video below which, you’ll be relieved to hear, is not filmed in the style of¬†Trainspotting ;}

OER16 wins Wikimedia UK Partnership Award

As I mentioned in my previous post, I’m absolutely delighted that #OER16 has won Wikimedia UK’s Partnership of the Year Award! ¬†The University of Edinburgh already building¬†strong links with Wikimedia UK when Melissa and I started planning the OER16 Open Culture Conference with ALT and we were¬†really keen that Wikimedia should have a presence at the event. ¬†These links were further strengthened when the University became¬†the first in the UK to appoint a Wikimedian in Residence late in 2015.

Ewan McAndrew, Wikimedian in Residence, University of Edinburgh

Ewan McAndrew, Wikimedian in Residence, University of Edinburgh

Wikipedia and the associated Wikimedia initiatives Wikidata, Wikimedia Commons, Wiki Source, etc represent the largest volume of open educational resources in the world and the Wikimedia and OER communities share a common goal to increase the quantity and quality of open knowledge so it makes good sense to bring them together.

Melissa and I were delighted by the response from Wikimedia UK and the Wikimedians in Residence when we invited them to participate in OER16¬†and many delegates commented over the course of the conference¬†that they felt they learned a lot from their presence and that they made a really positive contribution to the event. ¬†So I’d just like to thank all those, from both the OER and Wikimedia communities, who worked so hard to make this collaboration a huge success.

Next year’s OER17 Conference, which focuses on the Politics of Open, will be co-chaired by Josie¬†Fraser and Alek Tarkowski. ¬†As Josie is also a Trustee of Wikimedia UK I’m sure she will be keen to ensure that¬†the relationship between the Wikimedia and OER communities continues to flourish.

Wikimedians in action at OER16 by Stuart Cromar

Wikimedians in action at OER16 by Stuart Cromar

“As the Wikimedian in Residence for Museums Galleries Scotland, I usually work alone, or remotely. The opportunity to connect to the wider open knowledge community was fantastic ‚Äď energising, informative and so very valuable. And we had 4 Residents in a room at once! This, you have to realise, is a rare thing indeed in the world of Wiki. I‚Äôve worked primarily in open culture and heritage for the last 16 months, and one of the growth areas has been in the interface between education and culture‚Ķ. So #OER16 seemed to me so prescient, so perfectly timed…”

~ Sara Thomas, Wikimedian in Residence, Museums Galleries Scotland

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further the quantity and quality of open knowledge and enhance digital literacy, through skills training sessions and editathons, striving to embed open knowledge practices in the curriculum.

further the quantity and quality of open knowledge and enhance digital literacy, through skills training sessions and editathons, striving to embed open knowledge practices in the curriculum.

Supporting Engagement with Learning Technology Through Open Education

Earlier this month I went along to the ALT Scotland SIG‘s annual¬†conference, which was held at¬†Dundee and Angus College‚Äôs fabulous¬†Gardyne Campus and Learning Lab. This year the theme of the event was¬†Sharing Stories: enablers and drivers for Learning Technology in Scottish Education. ¬†I spoke about how the¬†University of Edinburgh is¬†supporting engagement with learning technology through open education, and my colleague Susan Greig gave a presentation¬†about how the university is supporting¬†staff to become Certified Members of ALT. ¬†

I’ve linked the recording of the afternoon session below along with my slides, and the recording of the morning session can be accessed¬†from ALT’s YouTube channel. ¬†

For once in my life I actually wrote my presentation in advance of the event so I’ve copied my script below too.¬†

[slideshare id=63183429&doc=altscoptlandopenedjune16-160617171508]

Supporting Engagement with Learning Technology Through Open Education at the University of Edinburgh

Earlier this year the University of Edinburgh launched a new strategic vision which outlined where the university is at present and where it intends to be in 2025.

Central to this vision is increased provision of world-leading online distance learning.

It’s an ambitious vision that aims to see up to 10,000 students, learning online by 2020, through MOOCs and postgraduate online learning programmes, and open education embedded right across the institution.

I’m not going to talk today about MOOCs and online masters programmes per se, what I want to focus on today is how the University is supporting engagement with learning technology through a range of open education initiatives and services, focusing particularly on OER.

The University of Edinburgh’s vision for open educational resources builds on three strands:

  • The history of the Edinburgh Settlement.
  • Excellent education and research collections.
  • Traditions of the Enlightenment and the University‚Äôs civic mission.

The University has established an OER Service that will create an OER exchange to enrich both the University and the sector; provide support frameworks to enable staff to share OER created as a routine part of their work, and enable staff to find and use high quality teaching materials developed within and beyond the University.

The service will also showcase Edinburgh at it’s best, highlighting the highest quality learning and teaching; identifying collections of learning materials to be published online for flexible use, and made available as open courseware, and enabling the discovery of these materials to enhance the University’s reputation.

And as a contribution to the University’s civic mission it will open access to Edinburgh’s treasures, making available collections of unique resources to promote health, economic and cultural well-being; digitising, curating and sharing major collections of unique archives and museum resources to encourage public engagement with learning, study and research.

In order to ensure Edinburgh’s OER Vision is sustainable and supported across the institution, the Senate Learning and Teaching Committee has approved an accompanying OER Policy that encourages staff and students to use, create and publish OERs to enhance the quality of the student experience and to help colleagues make informed decisions about creating and using OER in support of the University’s OER Vision.

The Edinburgh OER Policy will look familiar to many of you as it’s based on the policy developed by the University or Leeds and already adopted by Glasgow Caledonian University and the University of Greenwich. Edinburgh has made a number changes to this policy including adopting a more active and inclusive definition of OER.

‚ÄúDigital resources that are used in the context of teaching and learning, which have been released by the copyright holder under an open licence permitting their use or re-purposing by others.‚ÄĚ

By focusing on the context of use, this definition encompasses a wide range of resources including multimedia, courseware, and cultural heritage resources.

In order to provide access to its open educational resource the university has launched Open.Ed, a one-stop-shop which provides access to openly licensed content, the OER Vision statement and OER Policy, together with practical support for staff and students in the form of workshops, advice and guidance on finding, using and creating OERs.

I should add that this is not a formal repository Open.Ed is built on WordPress and aggregates OER from other repositories and sites across the university.

In addition to Open.Ed, the University has also launched Media Hopper a new multimedia asset management system which provides all staff and students with space to upload media and publish it to VLEs, websites and social media channels. Not all the content in Media Hopper is openly licensed, but student interns currently working to develop feeds to pull openly licensed content out of Media Hopper and into Open.Ed.

Edinburgh is also working to enhance the biggest open educational resource in the world; Wikipedia. Building on long term engagement with Wikimedia UK, the University has become the first in the UK to employ a dedicated Wikimedian in Residence.  As an advocate for openness the WiR delivers training events and workshops to further the quantity and quality of open knowledge and enhance digital literacy, through skills training sessions and editathons.

The University is also committed to supporting open education across the sector and last year announced it‚Äôs support for Open Scotland. Scotland is a 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. Part of my role as OER Liaison ‚Äď Open Scotland will be to continue promoting the Scottish Open Education Declaration and hopefully bring it to the attention of the new Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills.

And of course last, but not least, earlier this year we were very privileged to host the OER16 conference with the support of ALT. The theme of the 7th OER Conference, and the first to be held in Scotland, was Open Culture and the conference focused on the value proposition of embedding open culture in the context of institutional strategies.

So to conclude, open education is being used as a key driver to encourage and embed engagement with education technology right across the institution.

The University of Edinburgh’s vision for open education provides a strong foundation for developing a sustainable model for online education at scale, encouraging engagement with learning technology and OER within the curriculum, and improving teachers and learners’ confidence and digital literacy with regard to teaching and learning online.  In addition, this affords the University a valuable opportunity to scale up its community engagement, to disseminate the knowledge created and curated within the institution to the wider community and to help shape conversations about the role of learning technology and the future of open education in Scotland.