Tag Archives: oer

Wikipedia is a very lovely place to be⤴

from @ ammienoot.com

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Today is Ada Lovelace Day and this has become a firm fixture in our calendar at the University of Edinburgh. It is one of our flagship Wikipedia editathon days, and this year we partnered with the School of Chemistry and took the event on the road to our Kings Buildings campus. You can see the full schedule here, and there’s event some OER there if that’s your cup of tea. We ate our body-weight in periodic table cupcakes. I personally ate polonium and arsenic and have lived to tell the tale.

As the closing event to the day we had a viewing of the excellent short film “A Chemical Imbalance” commissioned by Professor Polly Arnold, Crum Brown Chair of Chemistry. I had the distinct pleasure of chairing a panel discussion with Professor Arnold, Professor Jane Norman, and Dr Carole Morrison after the film and we discussed the ways in which we can recruit more women into STEM careers, and nuture and retain women already working in the field.

Earlier in the afternoon I had started gathering up some info on Katherine Isabella Williams, one of the 19 signatories to the 1904 petition to join the Chemical Society. This is a story that our colleague Dr Michael Seery brought to our attention through an epic Twitter rant earier in the year (What do you do with a dead chemist?) and since then he’s written a fine Wikipedia article on the subject. We spent much of the editathon today fleshing out biographies of each of the 19 signatories.

Someone else was also working on the same biography as me, so I spent a little time fitting my notes in around the existing page this evening. After that I happened to look at my notifications in Wikimedia, and spotted the following comment on my user page, from around a month ago:

Hello, this isn’t a very Wikipedian comment but I just wanted to thank you personally for creating an entry for my mother Ann Katharine Mitchell. She is in residential care with Alzheimers, serene and contented, and largely lives in the past. She was told recently that she had a Wikipedia entry and was flattered and delighted to see it (I’ve now made some revisions). It isn’t the purpose of your editing to give the subjects pleasure, of course, but thanks for doing so!

I created the page for Ann Katharine Mitchell on 11 October 2016. Ada Lovelace Day last year. Sometimes working with Wikipedia can be one of the nicest things one gets to do.

Wikipedia is a very lovely place to be⤴

from @ ammienoot.com

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Today is Ada Lovelace Day and this has become a firm fixture in our calendar at the University of Edinburgh. It is one of our flagship Wikipedia editathon events, and this year we partnered with the School of Chemistry and took the event on the road to our Kings Buildings campus. You can see the full schedule here, and there’s even some OER there if that’s your cup of tea. We ate our body-weight in periodic table cupcakes. I personally ate polonium and arsenic and have lived to tell the tale.

As the closing event to the day we had a viewing of the excellent short film “A Chemical Imbalance” commissioned by Professor Polly Arnold, Crum Brown Chair of Chemistry. I had the distinct pleasure of chairing a panel discussion with Professor Arnold, Professor Jane Norman, and Dr Carole Morrison after the film and we discussed the ways in which we can recruit more women into STEM careers, and nuture and retain women already working in the field.

Earlier in the afternoon I had started gathering up some info on Katherine Isabella Williams, one of the 19 signatories to the 1904 petition to join the Chemical Society. This is a story that our colleague Dr Michael Seery brought to our attention through an epic Twitter rant earier in the year (What do you do with a dead chemist?) and since then he’s written a fine Wikipedia article on the subject. We spent much of the editathon today fleshing out biographies of each of the 19 signatories.

Someone else was also working on the same biography as me, so I spent a little time fitting my notes in around the existing page this evening. After that I happened to look at my notifications in Wikipedia, and spotted the following comment on my user page, from around a month ago:

Hello, this isn’t a very Wikipedian comment but I just wanted to thank you personally for creating an entry for my mother Ann Katharine Mitchell. She is in residential care with Alzheimers, serene and contented, and largely lives in the past. She was told recently that she had a Wikipedia entry and was flattered and delighted to see it (I’ve now made some revisions). It isn’t the purpose of your editing to give the subjects pleasure, of course, but thanks for doing so!

I created the page for Ann Katharine Mitchell on 11 October 2016. Ada Lovelace Day last year. Sometimes working with Wikipedia can be one of the nicest things one gets to do.

UNESCO OER World Congress⤴

from

Last month I had the opportunity to travel to Slovenia to represent the University of Edinburgh and Open Scotland at the UNESCO OER World Congress in Ljubljana.  The theme of the Congress was “OER for Inclusive and Equitable Quality Education: From Commitment to Action” and there was a strong focus on how OER can help to support United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 4.

“Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”

The main output of the Congress was the UNESCO Ljubljana OER Action Plan and accompanying Ministerial Statement. The Action Plan outlines 41 recommended actions in 5 key areas to mainstream OER and to help Member States to build knowledge societies and provide quality and lifelong education, and I’ll be writing a short blog psot on the Action Plan later.

It would be impossible to summarise such a diverse event in a single blog post so I just want to pick out some of my own personal impressions.

OER World Congress, CC BY Slovenian Press Agency

The first thing that struck me was that the event really lived up to its ambitions to be truly global with over 500 delegates from 111 countries present.  I attended lots of “international” and “global” events when I worked in learning technology standards development but they were always heavily dominated by delegates from the US and the global north.  I think the OER World Congress is the first event I’ve been to that actually felt genuinely global.

That made it all the more disappointing that there were so few delegates present from the UK. The only other UK participants were Joe Wilson (Open Scotland) and Leo Havemann (Open Knowledge), and there was no official representation from either the UK or Scottish Governments. Given that the UK was once at the forefront of innovative OER initiatives with the #UKOER Programme, that’s a pretty depressing state of affairs.

I heard a lot of inspiring and thought provoking talks over the course of the three days, but one that gave me pause for thought, though perhaps not for the right reasons, was Sir John Daniel summing up of a panel discussion on actions and impacts. John suggested that we have a long way to go before OER reaches the tipping point of general use and that there is a “lamentable lack of data on OER use”.  There’s certainly some truth in this, but I don’t think there has been as little progress as he seemed to be suggesting. John also argued that MOOCs have benefits over OER because they are complete courses, before going on to mention how much he enjoyed FutureLearn courses.  This seems to me to be highly debatable given that many (though admittedly not all) MOOCs are neither open nor reusable in any real sense of the word, particularly now that many platforms are time limiting access to course resources.

I was inspired however by CEO of Creative Commons Ryan Merkley’s keynote.  Ryan presented us with a clear and unambiguous message as to why OER is so important.

Ryan Merkley, CC BY Slovenian Press Agency

“We’re living in a less and less free world constantly trying to defend against restrictive copyright regimes that restrict access to creativity to those who need it. We should seek to share knowledge and lift people up, to create a more equitable world. The commons is public good, a platform for all to share and so is education but we’ve lost sight of that. Today’s education models place individual investment over public good; we pay less but we get less for what we pay and in the end we don’t own anything. The public has to pay for the same resources over and over again. Education budgets are tight, so why do we keep spending our money on things we don’t own and can’t reuse? Publicly funded educational resources should be publicly accessible.  We should all own what we pay for.  Free is not the most important thing about OER, it’s the permission to modify and reuse that’s important. We need to put the power of open at the centre of every opportunity.  We need to transform education globally, and disrupt education models based on artificial scarcity. Left to their own devices commercial interests will build their version of the future out of the past. Our focus has to be on improving student learning not protecting old structures.”

Another inspirational moment of the Congress that really made me stop and think came at the end of the Open Data satellite meeting when Leo Havemann reminded us that

“Education should be life long and life wide and should not just have an employability focus.”

The Congress also provided a rare opportunity for members of the Open Education Working Group Advisory Board to meet face to face and I’ve written another blog post about that meeting over at the Open Ed blog.

(L-R) Cable Green, Fabio Nascimbeni, Lorna M. Campbell, Leo Havemann, Virginia Rodés and Sophie Touzé at the OER World Congress, Ljubljana.

And it was also great to meet members of the Open Med project and to pick up a copy of the Declaration du Maroc sur les Ressources Educatives Libres; the OER Morocco Declaration which is based on the Scottish Open Education Declaration.

And you can see a short interview with me talking about the Declaration and open education initiatives in Scotland and at the University of Edinburgh in this interview with Jöran Muuß-Merholz.

Wiki Loves Monuments – An amazing contribution to the commons⤴

from

The Wiki Loves Monuments competition came to a close last Friday and I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I was still uploading ancient holiday snaps at quarter to midnight.  Who knew I had so many pics of ancient ruins?!  By the time the competition closed, a staggering 14,359 new images of UK scheduled monuments and listed buildings had been uploaded to Wikimedia Commons, over 2000 of which came from Scotland.  And what’s even more impressive is that 1,351 of those image were uploaded by colleagues from the University of Edinburgh 💕 That’s an amazing contribution to the global commons and a wonderful collection of open educational resources that are free for all to use.  Our most prolific contributor was our very own Wikimedian in Residence Ewan McAndrew, who we have to thank for spurring us all on, closely followed by Anne-Marie Scott, who contributed some glorious images of Pheobe Traquair’s murals at the Mansfield Traquair Centre.  And the diversity of the images uploaded is just incredible.  Everything from castles, cathedrals, country houses, churches, cemeteries, chambered cairns, terraces, fountains,  bars, bridges, brochs, botanic gardens, and even a lap dancing club (thank you Ewan…) I managed to upload a modest 184; my oldest monument was the Callanish Stones on my home island of Lewis and most modern was a picture of Luma Tower in Glasgow that I took out the window of a passing bus!  You can see all my pics here, and not one of them was taken with an actual camera :}

Pushing some more thoughts⤴

from @ ammienoot.com

Reading Time: 2 minutes

I’ve been dipping in and out of the livestream and Twitter feed for the Pushing HE conference today, and there’s a few thoughts that I don’t want to lose – they’re very ill-informed and random. Apologies in advance.

Digital skills. The NGDLE talks about Universal Design – technology so easy to use that it’s intuitive. Tony Bates talked about the extent to which we can help colleagues to change and helping them solve problems. Investing in digital skills (training, working together – whatever this means to you) is the glue in here, because even the most intuitive tools on their own aren’t going to work. Whatever ‘Digital Skills’ means, it probably doesn’t mean building more IT. What looks cool to us (tools! pop-up! domains!) looks like work / administration to many of our academic colleagues. This is a problem.

Technology as tools. How do we push beyond a deterministic view of technology as a set of tools and get to the heart of how teacher agency can be inscribed into / onto technology. Values are key, as is ownership / control of the development of IT. This is the fundamental challenge and maybe why we keep going round and round in interative loops on the technology and why the metaphors don’t change? We keep talking about the “what” of the technology.

TEL wealth gap. I’ve thought about this a few times and failed to expand the metaphor. Sketching it out, it goes like this: There is a tipping point at which the wealth gap in society between the rich and the rest of us is so wide that it becomes pyschologically insurmountable. The Thatcherite thinking that allows the rich to get richer as an aspirational activity is the heart of this. To what extent do “innovation” and concepts like the NGDLE appear to many of our colleagues to be an insurmountable gap? Perhaps what is do-able in terms of ‘getting there’ is working on (a) ensuring that the gap between “innovators” and the rest of us doesn’t get too wide (b) keeping the whole train moving – the long tail doesn’t get longer. We should aim high for sure, but do we need some reasonable measure of progress to keep us sane?

Using compliance activities to have conversations about data. I’m already negotiating GDPR compliant contracts, trying out Privacy Impact Assessments, writing GDPR compliant Privacy Statements. I need to think more about how to turn this into something I can work with further.

 

 

Pushing some more thoughts⤴

from @ ammienoot.com

Reading Time: 2 minutes

I’ve been dipping in and out of the livestream and Twitter feed for the Pushing HE conference, and there’s a few thoughts that I don’t want to lose – they’re probably very ill-informed and random. Apologies in advance.

Digital skills. The NGDLE talks about Universal Design – technology so easy to use that it’s intuitive. Tony Bates talked about the extent to which we can help colleagues to change and helping them solve problems. Investing in digital skills is the glue in here, because even the most intuitive tools on their own aren’t going to work. Whatever ‘Digital Skills’ means, it probably doesn’t mean building more IT. What looks cool to us (tools! pop-up!) looks like work / administration to many of our academic colleagues. This is a problem.

Technology as tools. How do we push beyond a deterministic view of technology as a set of tools and get to the heart of how teacher agency can be inscribed into / onto technology. Values are key, as is ownership / control of the development of IT. This is the fundamental challenge and maybe why we keep going round and round in interative loops on the technology and why the metaphors don’t change? We keep talking about the “what” of the technology.

TEL wealth gap. I’ve thought about this a few times and failed to expand the metaphor. Sketching it out, it goes like this: There is a tipping point at which the wealth gap in society between the rich and the rest of us is so wide that it becomes pyschologically insurmountable. The Thatcherite thinking that allows the rich to get richer as an aspirational activity is the heart of this. To what extent does “innovation” and concepts like the NGDLE appear to many of our colleagues be an insurmountable gap? Perhaps what is do-able in terms of ‘getting there’ is working on (a) ensuring that the gap between innovators and the rest of us doesn’t get too wide (b) we keep the whole train moving – the long tail doesn’t get longer. We should aim high for sure, but do we need some reasonable measure of progress to keep us sane?

Using compliance activities to have conversations about data. I’m already negotiating GDPR compliant contracts, trying out Privacy Impact Assessments, writing GDPR compliant Privacy Statements. I need to think more about how to turn this into something I can work with further.

 

 

Mortuary Chapel, Revisited⤴

from @ ammienoot.com

Reading Time: 1 minute

I’ve written a little bit before about my work connected with the mural paintings of Phoebe Anna Traquair, and this week we had a lovely gathering to celebrate the 25th anniversary of our Friends organisation. I took the opportunity to share a few of the stunning images that Diane Holdsworth has taken of the Mortuary Chapel murals with my colleagues and friends. Diane has agreed that the photographs can be released under a CC-BY license and so tomorrow I will start working out how best to make them widely available (Wikimedia Commons is my preferred choice, but there’s some admin to do around clarifying copyright agreements).

Tonight though, I’m going to post a few of them here, because I can’t wait to share them. The photographs are brilliant and show how strange and wonderful these murals are; and what a precarious condition they are now in.

Photograph by Diane Holdsworth CC-BY 4.0

 

Photograph by Diane Holdsworth CC-BY 4.0

 

Photograph by Diane Holdsworth CC-BY 4.0

 

Photograph by Diane Holdsworth CC-BY 4.0

Mortuary Chapel, Revisited⤴

from @ ammienoot.com

Reading Time: 1 minute

I’ve written a little bit before about my work connected with the mural paintings of Phoebe Anna Traquair, and this week we had a lovely gathering to celebrate the 25th anniversary of our Friends organisation. I took the opportunity to share a few of the stunning images that Diane Holdsworth has taken of the Mortuary Chapel murals with my colleagues and friends. Diane has agreed that the photographs can be released under a CC-BY license and so tomorrow I will start working out how best to make them widely available (Wikimedia Commons is my preferred choice, but there’s some admin to do around clarifying copyright agreements).

Tonight though, I’m going to post a few of them here, because I can’t wait to share them. The photographs are brilliant and show how strange and wonderful these murals are; and what a precarious condition they are now in.

Photograph by Diane Holdsworth CC-BY 4.0

 

Photograph by Diane Holdsworth CC-BY 4.0

 

Photograph by Diane Holdsworth CC-BY 4.0

 

Photograph by Diane Holdsworth CC-BY 4.0

Fancies⤴

from @ ammienoot.com

Reading Time: 1 minute

Every now and again it’s fun to pretend the world around me isn’t in flames (metaphorical and literal) and engage in a little day dreaming. Yesterday it was “fantasy stately home”.

These are my requirements:

– A morning room
– A print room
– A Corridor (yes – the kind of corridor that is classed as a room in it’s own right – for showing off and swooshing about in)

Twitter chums reminded me that I would also like:

– An orangery
– A double height library with a ladder and an arcane catalogue system.

I’d like all of this probably in Georgian style, but somehow cleansed of the reek of Empire, if possible.

Below-stairs is often my favourite place. Tiled corridors are a must. Some sort of enormous kitchen with massive table goes without saying. A china room and a dry goods room and a larder are obvious. I care less for laundry rooms, butler’s offices, gun rooms etc.

Probably a bedroom is required for appearances, but to be honest I could probably nest in a good library quite happily.