Earlier this week I travelled up to the Stirling where I had the pleasure of presenting the keynote at the College Development Network Librarians Open Developments in Scotland event. It was an interesting and lively event and it’s great to see college librarians really engaging with the open education debate. Open education has the potential to be of enormous benefit to the FE sector, and librarians have a critical role to play in raising awareness of open education and advising their staff on the development and use of open educational content and licences.
My slides are available here and I’ve posted a Storify of the event here: Librarians Development Network: Open Developments in Scotland.
My presentation was followed by a fascinating talk by Suzanne Scott about Borders College‘s adoption of Mozilla Badges. There’s been a lot of talk about the potential of open badges recently, so it’s really interesting to see them being used in a real world scenario. Borders College aren’t just using badges to motivate students and acknowledge their achievement, they are also using them to engage with staff and have replaced all staff CPD paper certificates with Open Badges. Adopting badges has also had significant reputational benefit and has raised the profile of the college; Borders College are 4th on Mozilla’s list of international Open Badge Issuers.
Following Suzanne, Mike Glancey of the National Museums of Scotland gave a talk about SCURL‘s Walk in Access initiative. Now I have to confess, I had never heard of Walk in Access before, but it sounds like a really valuable initiative. Walk in Access provides members of the public with on-site access to digital content such as journals and databases, where licensing terms and conditions permit. Walk in Access highlights libraries commitment to opening access and also helps to widen engagement and provide access to distance learning students. The SCURL Walk in Access report is available here.
In the afternoon we were lucky to have a presentation from the always inspiring Christine Sinclair about the University of Edinburgh’s Coursera MOOCs and her team’s experiences of running the ELearning and Digital Cultures MOOC (#edcmooc). Christine explained that Edinburgh initially got in involved with MOOCs for five reasons: reputation, exploration, outreach, shared experience and, most importantly, fun! The Edinburgh MOOCs have the support of the principal and the senior management, and the university has invested a considerable amount of funding in the initiative, however a lot the courses still run on “staff goodwill, evenings and weekends.” It’s too early to say if this is a sustainable approach, Edinburgh are still exploring this. Although the #edcmooc team didn’t want to produce “star tutor talking heads” videos they discovered that students still wanted to “see” their lecturers and to form a connection with them. Some students struggled with the #edcmooc approach, asking “Why aren’t you teaching us? Where are our learning outcomes?” but others really engaged and came back to act as Community Teaching Assistants the following year.
Christine was followed by Gary Cameron of the College Development Network who gave an inspirational talk calling for his colleagues across the college sector to “Share, Share, Share!” To facilitate this sharing the Re:Source repository has been established for the Scottish college sector as a place to share open educational resources. CDN are also planning to issue small grants for staff to openly licence resources in key topic areas. Gary ended his talk by reminding us that:
“OER is no longer an option, it’s an imperative, but still need to win battle for hearts and minds.”
The final presentation of the day was from Susanne Boyle, who has recently taken over from Jackie Carter as Director of Jorum and Senior Manager, Learning and Teaching at Mimas. Susanne is not the only new member of staff to join the Jorum team, within a couple of months, 50% of the team will be new appointments! Jorum will be supporting the Jisc funded FE and Skills Programme, and will be creating tools to make it easier for FE practitioners to connect with Jisc and Jorum content. The team will also be focusing on Health Practice resources and collections, and will be working closely with the North-West OER Network. I have been involved with Jorum since it was just a wee glimmer of a project proposal, and I have sat on its Steering Group through every phase of its development so it will be very interesting to see what this new lease of life brings!