2017 has officially been designated the “Year of Open”.
The Year of Open is a global focus on open processes, systems, and tools, created through collaborative approaches, that enhance our education, businesses, governments, and organizations … Open represents freedom, transparency, equity and participation … During the Year of Open, we want to capture and display these efforts to increase participation and understanding of how open contributes to making things better for everyone.
This initiative is backed by many of the major international players in the field of open education, including Creative Commons, the Open Education Consortium, OER Africa, etc.
And the reason that this is the Year of Open is that we have a number of important anniversaries
It’s the 15th anniversary of the Budapest Open Access Initiative, and it’s also the ¨ 15th anniversary of the release of the first Creative Commons licence.
It’s the 10th anniversary of the Cape Town Declaration which laid the foundations of the “emerging open education movement” and advocated the development of open education policy to ensure that taxpayer-funded educational resources are openly licensed. And if you haven’t read the Cape Town Declaration recently, I can highly recommend revisiting it, it’s really quite inspiring and inspiring statement.
And it’s also the 5th Anniversary of the UNESCO Paris OER Declaration which, five years after Cape Town, strengthened this call by encouraging governments and authorities to open license educational materials produced with public funds in order to realize substantial benefits for their citizens and maximize the impact of investment.
The OER17 Politics of Open Conference is taking place in London this week, and I can hardly believe it’s been a year since Melissa and I chaired last year’s conference in Edinburgh! As always, I’m looking forward to catching up with friends from all over the world and meeting some long standing online colleagues irl for the first time. I’ve got several sessions lined up up over the course of the two days, so if you want to catch me, this is where I’ll be. Come and say hello!
Like the Internet itself, the Open Education movement, including OER and OEP, has grown in a world of globalised capitalism that has been dominant in North America and Europe, and indeed, developed and growing economies. The Brexit vote, Trump’s election, and shifts toward nationalist-right parties elsewhere are changing the political landscape. At a minimum, the rhetoric of these movements, both in support and opposition, has altered public discourse and often attitudes toward higher education. These political shifts have complex and multifaceted implications for the open education movement.
This panel aims to stimulate deeper thought beyond our initial reactions to these political movements. We will provide diverse, multiple perspectives on the relationship between Open Education and the political changes represented by Brexit and the Trump election. Many questions arise, including:
What challenges do these political movements pose for Open Education? What opportunities?
Open Education movement has largely embraced values of inclusiveness, sharing, connectedness, equity, voice, agency, and openness. How might these values be furthered under these new regimes? How might these values be hindered?
Will our work in the open education movement change?
In what ways can we shape the future of the Open Education Movement?
Ten years ago the Cape Town Declaration laid the foundations for what it described as the “emerging open education movement” and called on colleagues to come together to commit to the pursuit and promotion of open education and to overcome the barriers to realizing this vision. Among the barriers the Declaration recognized were “governments and educational institutions that are unaware or unconvinced of the benefits of open education” and it went on to advocate the development of open education policy to ensure that taxpayer-funded educational resources are openly licensed. Five years later, the Paris OER Declaration strengthened this call by encouraging governments and authorities to open license educational materials produced with public funds in order to realize substantial benefits for their citizens and maximize the impact of investment.
This paper will provide an overview of the advances and mis-steps in open education policy and practice in the UK in the ten years since the Cape Town Declaration, while comparing and contrasting the UK experience with developments elsewhere in Europe and North America. The paper will include a case study on the Scottish Open Education Declaration and the efforts of the Open Scotland initiative to lobby the Scottish Government to endorse the principles of the declaration and adopt open licenses for publicly funded educational content.
This lightning talk will be a short polemic reflecting on political and personal events that have led me to both question and strengthen my commitment to open education over the last two years. These include the detention and disappearance of Syrian open knowledge advocate Bassel Khartebil, and the project that created an open book dedicated to his life and work The Cost of Freedom: A Creative Enquiry. The privilege of co-chairing the OER16 Open Culture Conference. The result of the UK’s European Membership referendum, announced the day after a meeting of European colleagues to discuss how we could work together to join up open education policy and practice across the Europe. The appointment of the first Gaelic language Wikimedian in Residence by Wikimedia UK and the National Library of Scotland. The surge of horror and shout of rage following the results of the US presidential election.
My response to these disparate, seemingly unconnected events was to write, to blog, to try to find words to make sense of events and my reaction to them, and to reassert my belief that we have a moral responsibility to work together to improve education opportunities for all, not just the privileged few.
I can’t promise this talk will be neutral or balanced, but it will be honest and from the heart, and ultimately it will be open.
This talk focuses on the interface between OER, open data and open science and our experience at the University of Edinburgh of promoting open education through the School of GeoSciences Outreach and Engagement course.
The title of this paper, “Crossing the field boundaries”, comes not from the domain of GeoScicences though, but from Maryam Mirzakhani, professor of mathematics at Stanford University and the first female winner of the Fields Medal. In a 2014 interview Maryam said
“I like crossing the imaginary boundaries people set up between different fields—it’s very refreshing. There are lots of tools, and you don’t know which one would work. It’s about being optimistic and trying to connect things.”
I am not a mathematician, or a scientist, but I do have some experience of crossing field boundaries, and since open education is all about breaking down boundaries and cutting across fields, this seems like a nice metaphor to hang this talk on. Continue reading →
My talk, Crossing the Field Boundaries will explore the interface between open education, open data and open science. The talk will highlight the Open Knowledge Open Education Group‘s influential study of Open Data as OERbyJaviera Atenas and Leo Havemann, and using examples from the University of Edinburgh’s GeoScience Outreach and Engagement Course will highlight how student created open educational resources can be used to widen participation and encourage knowledge transfer and community engagement in science education. I’ll post my paper and slides when I get back later in the week.
Thanks to the conference organisers for making these cute twitter cards!
Last month I was invited to present a guest lecture on Open Education and Co-Creation as part of the Institute for Academic Development’s Introduction to Online Distance Learning staff development course.The lecture covers an introduction and overview of open learning, OER and open licences and includes a co-creation case study about the fabulous work of our Open Content Curation Intern, Martin Tasker.
Because I was away the week the my lecture was scheduled, I recorded it in advance using the University of Edinburgh’s Media Hopper service and uploaded it with a CC BY license. You can find the lecture here and the slides are on Slideshare here. Feel free to reuse and repurpose!
(PS The WordPress embed code is being a bit wonky, but if you download this presentation or view it on MediaHopper you’ll be able to see my slides and me talking at the same time.)
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
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
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’m 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 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
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
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.
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 – 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 – 2016 on the stage.
ALT Learning Technologists of the Year by www.chrisbullphotographer.com
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.
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.
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…
It’s that time of year again! The ALT Conference is taking place at the University of Warwick next week. The theme of this years conference, which has a distinctly playful feel, is Connect, Collaborate and Create, and the conference is being co-chaired by Nicola Whitton and Alex Moseley. I’ll be joining the ALTC social media team again with my partner in crime Richard Goodman from Loughborough University and we’ll be live tweeting all five (count ’em!) of the conference keynotes. Chris Bull will be on hand again to photograph the conference and this year we’re also being joined by Kenji Lamb from the College Development Network and Sandra Huskinson, Loughborough University, who’ll be helping Martin Hawksey to livestream and broadcast the event.
Oh and the Open Education Team that I work with at the University of Edinburgh is up for the ALT Learning Technologist of the Year Community Choice Awards. If you’d like to vote for us, which would be super nice of you, you can send an email to LTAwardsemail@example.com with the subject line #LTA6 or tweet a message with the hashtags #altc #LTA6.
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
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 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
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
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
“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 – 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’ve 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…. So #OER16 seemed to me so prescient, so perfectly timed…”
~ Sara Thomas, Wikimedian in Residence, Museums Galleries Scotland