This PressED Conference presentation by Lorna M. Campbell, Frances Bell, Maren Deepwell and Sheila MacNeill reflected on our experience of using a WordPress SPLOT to support the #femedtech Open Space; an accessible & inclusive space to question dominant narratives of open & explore themes & conversations around openness, equality, diversity & inclusion in education.
This PressED Conference talk by @lornacampbell and @emcandre explored how @EdinburghUni’s Wikimedian in Residence and Academic Blogging Service have used WordPress SPLOTs to develop sustainable open licensed digital skills development resources on engaging with @Wikipedia and blogging to build your professional profile.
This post is now six weeks overdue but I’m adding it here for the sake of completeness if nothing else! The second PressED Conference, run by the apparently inexhaustible Pat Lockley and Natalie Lafferty, happened way back in April and it was just as fun and inspiring as last year’s event. The range of presentations was really eclectic and thought provoking and I particularly enjoyed Lorna Jane Richardson’s keynote on the Public Archaeology Twitter Conference, which was the original inspiration for PressED, and Kevin Gannon’s keynote on Letting Students Own Their Learning. I also learned some Not So Stupid WordPress Tricks from Alan Levine
This year I was involved in two presentations one, with Ewan McAndrew, on our use of SPLOTS to support digital skills, and one with Frances Bell, Maren Deepwell and Sheila MacNeil reflecting on our experience of facilitating the #femedtech Open Space for OER19. I’ve posted both presentations in separate blog posts here:
- Supporting Digital Skills with SPLOTs!
- Reflections on the #femedtech Open Space
Weirdly, I still find twitter presentations far more nerve-wracking than speaking in public, I’m not sure why because I’ve used twitter routinely for almost ten years, and it’s a medium I’m usually really comfortable with. Maybe it’s some kind of odd performance anxiety :} Here’s a Top Tip I wrote for newcomers to the conference to help with those nerves.
I wonder if we should spend some time explaining to pupils why we choose the tools we use, the affordances of said tools and the drawbacks. In the case of “free” tools why companies give them away. I don’t believe we think about these reasons in enough depth.
SCILT – Scotland’s National Centre for Languages – has published a programme of webinars to support professional learning in modern languages. Practitioners may wish to get together to participate in the live streaming of events, which will include opportunities for online discussion. Alternatively, the recorded version can be used as a stimulus for collegiate discussion, in-service days or as part of individual practitioners’ professional development. Registration will be advertised in the weekly SCILT e-bulletin and on the National Modern Languages Hub prior to these publicised dates.
Glow login will be required. Recordings will be available to watch again on National ML Hub under the Anytime Learning tab https://glowscotland.sharepoint.com/sites/PLC/modernlanguages/SitePages/Home.aspx
For more information, please visit: https://www.scilt.org.uk/Portals/24/Library/CPD/SCILT%20Webinar%20menu%2020
I’ve been rather neglecting this blog recently, ironically because I’ve been busy blogging about blogging on other blogs :} The University of Edinburgh launched a new Academic Blogging Service, including a centrally supported WordPress platform, blogs.ed.ac.uk, last year and the service has really taken off.
In addition to our workshop Blogging to Build your Professional Profile, as part of the roll out of the service, Karen Howie (Digital Learning Applications & Media) and I have been curating a Mini-Series on Academic Blogging over on the Teaching Matters blog. The series features reflections on different uses of academic blogs from staff and students across the university. Together with Susan Greig (Digital Skills) and Daphne Loads (Institute of Academic Development), I wrote a post on blogging for professional accreditation Blogging: What is it good for? The post reflects on my experience of using my blog to create and evidence my CMALT portfolio, while Susan and Daphne discuss how blogging can be used to support CMALT and HEA accreditation.
We’ve also recorded two podcasts as part of the series; one on How Blogging can be used as an effective form of assessment, and another on Blogging to enhance professional practice, which is a conversation between Karen Howie, Eli Appleby-Donald (Edinburgh College of Art), James Lamb (Centre for Research in Digital Education) and I. Though I’ve recorded lots of webinars, this is the first time I’ve recorded a conversational podcast and it was a really fun experience! Karen made a great “interviewer” and, perhaps surprisingly, Eli, James and I managed not to talk over each other all the time. Although all of us have quite a difference experience of and approach to blogging we were all very much in agreement that blogging can be a great way to enhance professional and academic practice.
The week before last I had double blogging; on Wednesday afternoon I gave a talk as part of a panel on “Using Social Media to Engage Research End Users” for colleagues in the College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences.
Thank you @EdinburghUni for today's Learning Lunch. All about using social media to engage research end users. Brought to us by an all female panel currently rocking social media. Thank you Clare de Mowbry, Jen Ross @LucyHunterB @LornaMCampbell #womeninacademia pic.twitter.com/kdxAGW07DC
— Marissa Millar (@Marissa_Millar) May 8, 2019
Then later in the evening I joined Girl Geek Scotland to give a talk on professional blogging (slides) as part of and event on “Your Online Self: How do you make yourself stand out from the crowd?” Girl Geek Scotland are a network and community for those working and studying in creativity, computing, enterprise, and related sectors in Scotland. As most of the participants are working and building careers in the commercial sector it was quite a different audience to the kind I usually experience and it was really interesting for me to reflect on the affordances and tensions between using blogging and social media to develop your personal profile and to market a personal brand. Unfortunately I couldn’t stay for the whole event so I missed the discussion sessions later in the evening but Anne-Marie said that there was considerable interest in using blogs for personal development, so I’ll take that as a win. Now all I need to do, is get my own blog back in order!
Thank you to @girlgeekscot, @iZettle and speakers @LornaMCampbell, @ShannonMcEnroy, @SoozYoung for an extremely interesting and informative event tonight about how to present yourself online. Im inspired to knock the dust off this twitter account and tweet again! #womenintech pic.twitter.com/qWqzkdJpw7
— Katharina Bitzan (@katharinabitzan) May 8, 2019
Does Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) provide schools with a mechanism to offer a wider range of subject choices in the Senior Phase?
This key question has been discussed in TES articles over the last few months. Here are some of the key messages, with the emphasis on DYW and it’s potential impact on the curriculum and subject choice:
“Local authority education bosses have hit back at suggestions that pupils in secondary schools are seeing their options narrow. In recent months there has been a high-profile debate about the number of subjects pupils are able to study in S4, but MSPs were told today that it can be misleading to look at this issue in isolation.”
“Mark Ratter, who heads up quality improvement and performance at East Renfrewshire Council’s education services, said that, thanks to partnerships with colleges, universities and employers, as well as the Developing the Young Workforce national policy, there was actually now “a far greater choice” in what pupils could study. In one East Renfrewshire secondary school, for example, S5-6 pupils “have a choice of over 130 different courses”.”
“Tony McDaid, South Lanarkshire Council’s executive director of education resources, said you could understand parents comparing how many subjects different schools were offering at S4 and their “natural anxiety” around that. However, they reacted well when they heard that “this is not just about your fourth year, you can do another subject when you move into fifth year”, and that there was a focus on the career a pupil was ultimately heading towards and the qualifications they would gain “across the whole senior phase” from S4-6.”
“Angus Council schools and learning director Pauline Stephen said there was “an ongoing challenge” to communicate to pupils’ families the “shifting and different” education system that pupils experience in 2019. Dr Stephen cited new types of qualifications such as Foundation Apprenticeships, which were little known outside education circles and sometimes wrongly viewed as inferior to other qualifications.
Dr Stephen said that Brechin High, for example, had worked with a local roofing business to open a construction centre at the school, which “allows us to offer qualifications alongside an employer in partnership – it’s been really successful”.”
Developing the Young Workforce
“DYW is a ‘game-changer’ – and it has Curriculum for Education to thank for that”
“It’s a potentially misleading debate, however. The supposed narrowing of the curriculum is concerned with subject choices in the senior phase. Setting aside arguments about the extent to which this is happening, there’s a basic flaw in the reasoning: by looking only at subject choices – largely at National 5 and Higher – it misses what appears to be a widening of the curriculum in other ways.
“This fixation with exams and academic subjects – plus ça change – ignores the fact that, in many schools, there is now a much richer range of opportunities. Last week, for example, I visited a secondary with a spaghetti junction of pathways for its senior pupils – where apprenticeships and college courses truly do have “parity of esteem” with university, to use the jargon – and a determination to bend the curriculum to individual aspirations. If that means pupils going to another school for a certain Advanced Higher or spending some of the week in college, or teachers setting up a work placement with an employer they’ve not dealt with before, then the school’s attitude is, so be it.”
“Developing the Young Workforce may be an equally uninspiring, chosen-by-committee title. But whereas CfE is typically viewed as falling short, the reaction to DYW – a far newer kid on the block – feels very different. Visiting schools, I’ve been struck by how often it’s cited as a positive influence, a driver of cultural change that has gone beyond its initial promise to boost vocational education. For example, one special school depute head said that, while she wasn’t sure those behind DYW were really thinking of her sector, it was a “game-changer”, helping to create work and training opportunities for school-leavers with complex needs.”
Head teachers and the curriculum
“We are free to shape the curriculum,’ say Scottish heads”
“An investigation into whether Scottish headteachers have the freedom to tailor their school’s curriculum to the needs of their pupils has found that “almost all” heads believe they have that power.”
“It adds that heads were, in most cases, “well supported” by their local authorities and “empowered to work with staff, pupils, parents and wider partners to design learner pathways which best suit the needs of their local community”.
“It adds: “Most are taking account of Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) to deliver a curriculum which includes an understanding of the world of work and vocational pathways. However, there continues to be a need to increase progress in delivering DYW priorities and ensure that pupils and parents are aware of the range of vocational options and pathways available.”
I have added links to the full articles but free registration is required for full access:
Here is your opportunity to host a TEDxGlasgow livestream! The livestream will take place on the 14th of June between 9:15am and 3pm and will be hosted on YouTube. We have developed this toolkit as a handy guide with all the information you need to help with your livestream event including information on the tech specs required to host a livestream event; the rules around hosting; your role; the programme for the event and some FAQs.
This year our theme is: Connection Whether it’s making them, breaking them, discovering them or searching for them, connections have shaped, and continue to shape, the world we live in. With the rapid advancements in technology, our world is more connected than it has ever been – physically, emotionally, digitally, scientifically and even metaphorically. Or is it?
The team at TEDxGlasgow focus on the TED ethos of sharing ideas, spreading knowledge, and supporting our community to translate this into bold, brave actions. Everything we do is attuned to generating a positive impact.
Gurjit Singh Lalli, shares his perspectives:
“What makes Glasgow unique are the people and their can-do spirit which is intoxicating. Scotland has growth in both businesses and entrepreneurs who are focused, not only on profit, but making a positive social impact, which aligns to a passion of my own. I aspire for a future where companies compete on the amount of good they do through positive change and social initiatives; the TEDxGlasgow event is a platform that will strive to continue inspiring an atmosphere, both locally and nationally, where this can happen”
Creating a legacy through Ideas Worth Doing
Being involved with TEDxGlasgow offers partners, delegates, speakers and volunteers a unique opportunity to contribute to powerful conversations. Either at our events or online, our talks have been seen by millions of people, and we’re passionate about supporting actions on ideas that matter. We asked Pauline Houston, our Head of events shares her thoughts:
“Partnering with the right individuals and businesses can have an incredible impact on your organisation, and we’ve been fortunate to have great people behind our mission and events. I am proud of the fantastic reputation that Scotland has globally from passionate companies, ready to speak up and challenge ideas as they do with us at TEDxGlasgow, and look forward to driving more positive impact from continued collaboration in new ways”
Researching the Impact of ideas
Our events provide a medium that combines a diverse range of people – thinkers, doers and innovators coming together, ready to be challenged. Designing a framework to measure outcomes from an event as unique as TEDxGlasgow has been an exciting experience, as well as an opportunity to hear directly from a wide range of individuals and organisations with amazing stories to share. Zebunisa Ahmed, our Impact Lead offers her insights:
“Both as a volunteer and through a career in data visualisation, I’m driven by seeing how good ideas can make a difference if given a chance – be that on an individual basis, organisationally or throughout society. As a team we want to inspire meaningful change, and I believe that good ideas can be vector for positive impact, spreading far beyond the event; it all starts with a conversation.”
The impact team get creative when measuring outcomes from the event and are keen to capture examples of the TEDx Glasgow community taking action, as seen in our impact report. We will continue monitoring how our ideas shared translate into actions with positive outcomes, and invite you to share your examples – the more personal or creative, the more we love hearing from you.
This is the transcript of a talk I gave last week at the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine’s Post Graduate Tutors Away Day at the University of Edinburgh. Slides are available here: Opening Online Learning with OER.
Before I go on to talk about open education and OER, I want you to think about Ra’ana Hussein’s inspiring video where she articulates so clearly why participating in the MSc in Paediatric Emergency Medicine has been so empowering for her.
Ra’ana said that the course helps her to be better at her work, and that she gains knowledge and learning that she can implement practically. It’s enabled her to meet people from diverse backgrounds, and connect with a global community of peers that she can share her practice with. She finds online learning convenient, and tailored to her needs and she benefits from having immediate access to support, which helps her to balance her work and study commitments.
I’d like you to try and hold Ra’ana’s words in your mind while we go on and take a look at open education, OER and what it’s got to do with why we’re here today.
What is open education?
Open education is many things to many people.
- A practice?
- A philosophy?
- A movement?
- A human right?
- A licensing issue?
- A buzz word?
- A way to save money?
The principles of the open education were outlined in the 2008 Cape Town Declaration, one of the first initiatives to lay the foundations of the “emerging open education movement”. The Declaration advocates that everyone should have the freedom to use, customize, and redistribute educational resources without constraint, in order to nourish the kind of participatory culture of learning, sharing and cooperation that rapidly changing knowledge societies need. The Cape Town Declaration is still an influential document and it was updated last year on its 10th anniversary as Capetown +10, and I can highly recommend having a look at this if you want a broad overview of the principles of open education.
Aspects of Open Education
Although there’s no one hard and fast definition of open education, one description of the open education movement that I particularly like is from the not for profit organization OER Commons…
“The worldwide OER movement is rooted in the human right to access high-quality education. The Open Education Movement is not just about cost savings and easy access to openly licensed content; it’s about participation and co-creation.”
Open education is highly contextual and encompasses many different things. These are just some of the aspects of open education
- Open online courses
- Open pedagogy
- Open practice
- Open assessment practices
- Open textbooks
- Open licensing
- Open data
- Open Access scholarly works
- Open educational resources (OER)
Though Open Education can encompass many different things, open educational resources, or OER, are central to any understanding of this domain.
UNESCO define open educational resources as
“teaching, learning and research materials in any medium, digital or otherwise, that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license that permits no-cost access, use, adaptation and redistribution by others with no or limited restrictions.”
UNESCO Policy Instruments
And the reason I’ve chosen this definition is that UNESCO is one of a number of international agencies that actively supports the global adoption of open educational resources. In 2012 UNESCO released the Paris OER Declaration which encourages 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. And in 2017 UNESCO brought together 111 member states for the 2nd OER World Congress in Slovenia, the main output of which was the UNESCO Ljubljana OER Action Plan. Central to the OER Action plan is the acknowledgement of the role that OER can play in achieving United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 4 and support quality education that is equitable, inclusive, open and participatory.
In his summing up at the end of the congress UNESCO Assistant Director for Education Qian Tang said
“to meet the education challenges, we can’t use the traditional way. In remote and developing areas, particularly for girls and women, OER are a crucial, crucial means to reach SDGs. OER are the key.”
The Action Plan acknowledges that open education and OER provide a strategic opportunity to improve knowledge sharing, capacity building and universal access to quality learning and teaching resources. And, when coupled with collaborative learning, and supported by sound pedagogical practice, OER has the transformative potential to increase access to education, opening up opportunities to create and share an array of educational resources to accommodate greater diversity of educator and learner needs.
Open Education at the University of Edinburgh
Now all this may sound very aspirational and possibly a touch idealistic, but here at the University of Edinburgh we believe that open education and OER are strongly in line with our institutional mission to deliver impact for society, discover, develop and share knowledge, and make a significant, sustainable and socially responsible contribution to the Scotland, the UK and the world.
Support for Sustainable Development Goals
It’s also worth noting that the University already has a commitment to Sustainable development goals through the Department for Social Responsibility and Sustainability and the university and college sectors’ Sustainable Development Accord. And the new principal has recently re-stated the University’s commitment to meeting this goals.
The University has a vision for OER which has three strands, building on our excellent education and research collections, traditions of the Scottish Enlightenment and the university’s civic mission. These are:
- For the common good – encompassing every day teaching and learning materials.
- Edinburgh at its best – high quality resources produced by a range of projects and initiatives.
- Edinburgh’s Treasures – content from our world class cultural heritage collections.
This vision is backed up by an OER Policy, approved by our Learning and Teaching Committee, which encourages staff and students to use, create and publish OERs to enhance the quality of the student experience. This OER Policy is itself CC licensed and is adapted from an OER Policy that has already been adopted by a number of other institutions in the UK. The fact that this policy was approved by the Learning and Teaching Committee, rather than by the Knowledge Strategy Committee is significant because it places open education and OER squarely in the domain of teaching and learning, which of course is the domain we’re focusing on here today. The University’s vision for OER is very much the brain child of Melissa Highton, Assisstant Principal Online Learning and Director of Learning and Teaching Web Services. However it’s also notable that EUSA the student union were instrumental in encouraging the University to adopt an OER policy, and we continue to see student engagement and co-creation as being fundamental aspects of open education.
But of course policy is nothing without support, so we also have an OER Service that provides staff and students with advice and guidance on creating and using OER and engaging with open education. We run a wide range of digital skills workshops for staff and students focused on copyright, open licencing, OER and playful engagement. And we provide a one stop shop where you can access open educational resources produced by staff and students across the university, including some from this college. As well as working closely with our students, the OER Service also hosts Open Content Creation student interns every summer. And if you’d like to talk to me about the advice and guidance the OER Service provides…
Near Future Teaching
Openness is also at the heart of the Near Future Teaching project undertaken over the last two years by a team from the Centre for Research in Digital Education, led by Sian Bayne (Assistant Principal Digital Education). This project co-created a values based vision for the future of digital education at the University with input from more than 400 staff and students. The project report, published last month, sets out a vision and aims for a near future teaching that is community focused, post digital, data fluent, assessment oriented, playful and experimental, and boundary challenging. And one of the ways these goals can be achieved is through increasing openness. So for example the report calls for boundary challenging digital education that is lifelong, open and transdisciplinary, and the actions required to achieve these objectives are all centered on committing to openness.
So that’s the big picture vision, but what I want to do now is just take a few minutes to look at what’s actually happening in practice, and to highlight some of the innovative open education initiatives that are already going on across the university.
Open education is a great way to build community and if you cast your mind back to Ra’ana you’ll remember that she appreciated being part of a connected global community of peers.
One great way to build community is through academic blogging, and just last year the University set up a new centrally supported Academic Blogging Service. The service provides staff and students with a range of different blogging platforms to support professional development and learning, teaching and research activities. The service includes existing platforms such as Learn, Moodle, and Pebblepad and a new centrally supported WordPress service, blogs.ed.ac.uk. To complement the service, we provide digital skills resources and workshops, including one on Blogging to Build Your Professional Profile, we’ve recently launched a seminar series featuring talks from academic blog users around the University, and we’ve been running a mini-series on the Teaching Matters blog. And I’d like to draw your attention to the most recent blog post in that series from Bethany Easton from the School of Health in Social Science, about The Nursing Blog which was set up in 2014 as a community blog where staff and students from across the Nursing Studies Subject area can share their achievements, research, and work. And another great example of community blogging is Stories from Vet School which features blogs posts written by current undergraduate veterinary medicine students. And if you look carefully you’ll see that one thing both these blogs have in common is that they both carry a Creative Commons open licence, which means that the posts themselves are open educational resources that can be reused by other teachers and learners. It’s easy to see how this format could be adopted for use with online postgraduate students as a great way to connect them with their peers and build that all important sense of community so critical for distance learners.
Diversifying the Curriculum
OER can also make a significant contribution to diversifying and decolonizing the curriculum.
LGBT+ Healthcare 101 was a collaborative project run by EDE and the Usher Institute worked with undergraduate students, to develop a suite of resources covering lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual health. Although knowledge of LGBT health and of the sensitivities needed to treat LGBT patients are valuable skills for qualifying doctors, these issues are not well-covered in the Medical curricula. Using materials from the commons, this project sought to address the lack of teaching on LGBT health through OER. The project remixed and repurposed resources originally created by Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Ohio, and then contributed these resources back to the commons as Creative Commons licensed OER. New open resources including digital stories recorded from patient interviews and resources for Secondary School children of all ages were also created and released as OER.
More recently the OER Service has released a series of resources on Openness, Equality and Inclusion which includes materials from a workshop we ran with EUSA VP of Education, Diva Mukherji, on Decolonising and Diversifing the curriculum with Open Educational Resources. And again it’s not difficult to see how important diversifying the curriculum is when you’re creating educational resources and learning experiences for global students from a wide range of different cultural contexts.
Access to Resources
Creating and using open educational resources is also an important way to ensure longevity of access to course materials, and this can benefit staff, students, and the university itself. It’s very common to think of OER as primarily being of benefit to those outwith the institution, however open licenses also help to ensure that we can continue to use and reuse the resources that we ourselves have created. I’m sure you’ll all have come projects that created great content only for those resources to become inaccessible once the project ends or great teaching and learning materials belonging to a colleague who has subsequently retired or moved on, and nobody quite knows if they can still be used or not. Unless teaching and learning resources carry a clear and unambiguous open licence, it is difficult to know whether and in what context they can be reused. This is a phenomenon that my colleague Melissa Highton has referred to as copyright debt. If you don’t get the licensing right first time round it will cost you to fix it further down the line, and the cost and reputational risk to the university could be significant if copyright is breached. And this is one of the best strategic reasons for investing in open educational resources at the institutional level. We need to ensure that we have the right use, adapt, and reuse, the educational resources we have invested in. We already have some really innovative open educational resources from the College highlighted on the OER Service website and if you want to learn more about how to use and create re-useable open content without fear of breaching copyright, the OER Service runs a number of digital skills workshops covering this and we have lots of materials available online too.
In the context of online distance learning, using open licensed resources means that students can continue to access and use these resources after they have graduated. And this is an issue that is becoming increasingly pressing as there have been a number of critical press reports recently about postgraduate students who have lost access to resources after the taught component of their courses has finished but before they have submitted all their course work.
MOOCs and the Open Media Bank
Continued access to educational resources can be particularly problematic when it comes to MOOCs. Educational content often gets locked into commercial MOOC platforms, regardless of whether or not it is openly licensed, and some platforms are now time limiting access to content. Clearly this is not helpful for students and, given how costly high quality online teaching and learning resources are to produce, it also represents a poor return on investment for the University. So one of the ways that we’re addressing this here at the University is by ensuring that all the content we have produced for our MOOCs is also freely available to download under open licence from the Open Media Bank channel on Media Hopper Create. We now have over 500 MOOC videos which are available to re-use under Creative Commons licence, including “Mental Health: A Global Priority” from the School of Molecular, Genetic and Population Health Sciences, and “Clinical Psychology of Children and Young People” from the School of Health in Social Science.
Wikipedia in the Classroom
Another way we can create open knowledge and embed open education in the curriculum is by engaging with the world’s biggest open educational resource, Wikipedia. Here at the University we have our very own Wikipedian in Residence, Ewan McAndrew, based in Learning, Teaching and Web Services. Ewan works to embed open knowledge in the curriculum, through skills training sessions, editathons, Wikipedia in the classroom initiatives and Wikidata projects, in order to increase the quantity and quality of open knowledge and enhance digital and information literacy skills for both staff and students. And one of the ways that Ewan does this is by working with academic colleagues to develop Wikipedia in the Classroom assignments. Creating Wikipedia entries enables students to demonstrate the relevance of their field of study and share their scholarship in a real-world context and at the same time, contribute to the global pool of open knowledge.
To date, 11 course programmes across the University have developed Wikipedia assignments, some of which are now in their second or third iteration. And I know that Ewan is working with colleagues to explore the creation of new Wikipedia assignments for the MScs in Global and Public Health.
Reproductive Biomedicine have been successfully running Wikipedia assignments as part of their Reproductive Biology Honours course since 2015. As part of her assignment in 2016, honours student Aine Kavanagh created a new Wikipedia article on high-grade serous carcinoma, one of the most common forms of ovarian cancer. This article, including over sixty references and open-licensed diagrams created by Áine herself, has now been viewed over 64,000 times since it was published in September 2016, it’s hard to imagine many other student assignments having this kind of impact. Not only has Aine contributed valuable health information to the global Open Knowledge community, she has also created a resource that other students and global health experts can add to and improve over time. Creating resources that will live on on the open web, and that make a real contribution to global open knowledge, has proved to be a powerful motivator for the students taking part in these assignments.
OER Creation Assignments
In addition to the Wikipedia in the Classroom assignments, there are also other examples of open assessment practices from around the University, including assessed blogging assignments and OER creation assignments. So for example, these resources on Inflammatory Bowel Disease in Pets were created by Silke Salavati for an assignment as part of the Digital Education module for the Postgraduate Certificate (PgCert) in Academic Practice. And OER creation assignments also form an integral part of the Digital Futures for Learning course which is part of the MSc in Digital Education. Commenting on this OER creation assignment in a recent blog post, Jen Ross who runs this course said
“Experiencing first-hand what it means to engage in open educational practice gives student an appetite to learn and think more. The creation of OERs provides a platform for students to share their learning. In this way, these assignments can have ongoing, tangible value for students and for the people who encounter their work.”
These are just some of the ways that open education and OER is already being embedded and supported across the University and I hope this will give you some ideas as to how open approaches can benefit your online courses ad modules here in the College. And if you think back to Ra’ana and all the reasons that she appreciated being a student on the MSc in Paediatric Emergency Medicine; ease of access to resources and support, the practical application of knowledge, the ability to share her practice with her peers, being part of a diverse and connected global community, these are all aspects that can be enhanced further by engaging with OER and open education.
I want to finish with a quote from one of our Open Content Curation student interns, and I make no apology for using this quote almost every time I talk about open education and OER. This is former undergraduate Physics student Martin Tasker talking about the value of open education
“Open education has played such an integral part of my life so far, and has given me access to knowledge that would otherwise have been totally inaccessible to me. It has genuinely changed my life, and likely the lives of many others. This freedom of knowledge can allow us to tear down the barriers that hold people back from getting a world class education – be those barriers class, gender or race. Open education is the future, and I am both proud of my university for embracing it, and glad that I can contribute even in a small way. Because every resource we release could be a life changed. And that makes it all worth it.”
Secondary pupils from schools in Glasgow, Stirling, Perth and Edinburgh take part in traditional building skills event held at various locations. The hands-on practical workshops provided 13 to 15 year olds with the chance to discover more about traditional skills apprenticeships, and allowed them to have a go for themselves. They tried their hand at stonemasonry roof slating, joinery and painting and decorating, expertly assisted by current Modern Apprentices in these trades. The event was hugely valuable in raising the profile of the vital skills needed to maintain our unique built heritage.
13 & 14 May
Traditional Building Skills Demonstration outside Edinburgh City Chambers
17 & 18 May
Traditional Building Skills Demonstration at STEM at The Helix
18 & 29 May
Traditional Building Skills Demonstration outside the Scottish Parliament
3 & 4 June
Traditional Building Skills Demonstration outside Glasgow Cathedral Square
20 to 23 June
Traditional Building Skills Demonstration at the Royal Highland Show, Ingliston
19 to 22 August
Edinburgh Traditional Building Festival (part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe)
23 & 24 September
Traditional Building Skills Demonstration at Perth City Centre
The events are organised by the Scottish Traditional Building Forum as part of Construction Scotland’s, Inspiring Construction programme. It is supported by a range of partners including CITB, City of Glasgow College, West College Scotland, Dundee and Angus College, Edinburgh College and Developing the Young Workforce.
The construction industry currently employs 233,600 people, but it’s estimated that 28% of that workforce will need replacing by 2027, creating at least 21,000 vacancies. Attracting more potential employees to our industry to address this imminent skills gap is one of Construction Scotland’s top priorities.
“What better way to encourage young people to consider a career in the traditional skills side of construction than to invite them to give it a go for themselves. With the Scottish Parliament as the backdrop to this event, I hope the school children feel truly inspired to think of construction as a varied and exciting career choice. “Ian Hughes, Partnerships Director at CITB Scotland
“These Traditional Building Skills events are part of our Inspiring Construction programme, which aims to attract more school leavers to the sector by informing young people and their parents, teachers and career advisors about the huge and diverse range of careers available in construction, and importantly, how to access them. From professions like architecture, engineering and surveying to the more traditional trades like joinery and stonemasonry, this industry has something to suit everyone.” Ken Gillespie, Chair of Construction Scotland