Tag Archives: higher education

What gets lost in the fray⤴

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The blog post I wrote last week on the context, centrality and diversity of the Open Ed conference community sparked a lot more discussion than I expected, most of it on twitter, but also during a VConnecting session at the end of the conference. I even got an actual comment on the actual blog post, thanks pgogy! As might be expected, the decision to end the Open Ed conference in its current format generated a huge volume of tweets, headlines, blog posts, columns and articles. Mine was just one of dozens. However as the discussion has been distilled into more mainstream press reports, such as Inside HigherEd’s Open Education… Is Closed, a good deal of the nuance and diversity of those multiple voices has been lost.  Perhaps that’s inevitable, but it’s also a little ironic, and as Maha Bali commented:

This post by Mandy Henk, Being A Critical Voice, also really resonated with me, particularly with regard to how we understand power in the open community. 

So for the sake of posterity, and for my own personal reflection, I’m collating the discussion around that blog post here, because sometimes it’s interesting to look back at the voices that get lost in the fray. 

 

Open Ed: Reflecting on context, centrality and diversity⤴

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This week, like many colleagues in the open education community I’ve been following the Open Education Conference. I’m not actually at the conference, in fact in all my years working in open education I’ve never been to Open Ed, but I’ve been following it on twitter, and as always, it’s been a thought provoking experience. This year more so than most. There are a number of reasons why I’ve never attended Open Ed, primarily related to cost and childcare, also I’ve always thought of Open Ed as primarily a North American conference and I’m aware that the North American open education community is focused on quite different aspects of open education than the ones I primarily identify with. That’s to be expected of course, different countries with different education systems, economic conditions, political contexts and social issues will necessarily have very different concerns and priorities when it comes to open education

This tweet from Marisa Petrisch served to highlight just how radically different the US context is to my experience of working as an open education practitioner in Scotland. 

There is so much going on in this one tweet that I can barely get my head around; not least of which is why do people have to pay astronomical costs for life saving medication in the first place?? Though as my colleague Phil Barker commented, this may be an American thing but it’s a reality we may all be waking up to in the UK soon. (And that’s another thing I can’t get my head around.)

Of course to say that I don’t identify with any of the issues that are being aired at Open Ed is a sweeping generalization and one that does a terrible disservice to the broad range of diverse sessions that have featured at the conference this year. Highlighting Women of Color Experiences in Leading OER Projects by Regina Gong, Cynthia Orozco and Ariana Santiago, and Leveraging OER for LGBTQ-Inclusive Teacher Professional Learning by Sabia Prescott immediately spring to mind for example.

This important diversity has been somewhat overshadowed by the controversy surrounding the pulled keynote panel, (I’m not going to go into this, as I’m not sure there’s anything I could add that hasn’t already been said) and David Wiley’s announcement that he would be adjourning and stepping back from the conference so that the community can take ownership of the space and reimagine what kind of event they want going forward. Judging by the reaction on the conference hashtag, this announcement appears to have been met with surprise and respect, and though it’s hard to judge from a distance, my impression is that most people seem to regard this as a positive move.   However I caught one conversation on twitter last night between George Siemens and Tannis Morgan that stopped me in my tracks.

It does seem a little presumptuous to regard one community of people in the US as “the central node globally”.  By its nature, open education is necessarily diverse and fragmentary, because as Catherine Cronin and others have repeatedly reminded us, open education is highly contextual. Indeed Maha Bali wrote a much discussed blog post earlier this week about the necessity of contextualising openness. This discussion about the global context and centrality of different open education communities is all the more interesting as it was pre-empted by this year’s OER19 Conference, chaired by Catherine and Laura Czerniewicz. The theme of OER19 was Recentering Open: Critical and Global Perspectives and one of the aims of the conference was to move beyond hero narratives to including marginalised voices.

With the Open Ed conference reaching a turning point, it’s interesting to reflect on how the OER conference has evolved over on the other side of the pond. When it launched in 2010, the conference was closely associated with the UKOER programme, and as a result it primarily focused on open education projects in Higher Education institutions in England. When that programme came to an end in 2012, many people predicted the demise of the conference, however it continued to grow and thrive along with a growing and increasingly diverse open education community. OER has never positioned itself as a “global” conference, however since it was adopted by ALT in 2015 it has made a conscious effort to be as diverse, inclusive and accessible as possible. This is reflected not just in the diversity of the chairs, themes, and keynotes, but also in the wide range of channels that the conference supports to enable open and remote participation. While the OER conference would not exist in its current form without the generous support of ALT, ALT doesn’t own the OER conference, it facilitates it on behalf of the open community. Anyone can apply to chair the conference and the conference committee is open to all. The role of the chairs is to set the conference theme and select the keynotes, but the shape of the conference and the selection of the papers and sessions is a task undertaken by the whole committee. Like any event, the OER Conference has not been without its own controversies over the years, but the conference’s openness and diversity is, I believe, its strength.

I don’t know what, if anything the Open Ed community can learn from the experiences of the OER Conference, and other open education conferences and communities around the world, but I hope they are able to use this opportunity to re-envision their space in such a way that it meets the unique needs of their own social, political and educational contexts, while at the same time being  inclusive, collaborative and accessible, and cognisant of the diversity of the broader global open education community.

LTHEchat: Extending Communities through Networks and Frameworks⤴

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Last week I took part in my first ever #LTHEChat.  I’ve been a huge admirer of LTHEChat for years now but I’ve never really been able to take part before, primarily because the timing doesn’t usually work for me. Occasionally I manage to catch the final questions and I often enjoy catching up with the tweets afterwards.  Last week’s chat was a little different though as it was led by the #Femedtech collective. A group of us (Sheila MacNeil, Frances Bell, Maren Deepwell, Laura Czerniewicz and I) worked together to frame the questions and provide some contextual information in this blog post #LTHEchat 155 with #femedtech. The theme of our chat was Extending Communities through Networks and Frameworks and these are the questions that we posed. 

Q1. Inequality affects all of us. Can you share examples of how inequality affects you in your professional practice?

Q2. Can you share any experiences/comments on gender inequality in your workplace? Here are results by role from ALT2018 survey.

Q3. Can you share other networks and/or people that have influenced your thinking/practice about inequality and how/why?

Q4. Various initiatives aim to address inequalities, led by institutions, unions and informal groups eg Athena SWAN (ASC), Race Equality (REC) and De-colononizing the Curriculum. Can you share comments/examples of how these have influenced you, or not?

Q5. What (small) changes have you made to your practice /would you recommend making in order to challenge inequalities?

Q6. In what edtech situations have you found a feminist framework useful?

Despite having helped to draft the questions I found it quite challenging to come up with rapid answers on the spot as the chat was moving so quickly and I was really enjoying reading other people’s respnses.  It was really great to see so many people so engaged with these topics.   You can see all the answers here #LTHEChat 155 Wakelet and I’ve copied my responses below for reflection. 

Q1. Inequality affects all of us. Can you share examples of how inequality affects you in your professional practice?

Simon Lancaster and Michael Seery picked up on this answer and expanded on this theme.

This answer also generated some discussion with Sheila and Su-Ming Khoo adding that they struggle to be seen and heard at times.

Q2. Can you share any experiences/comments on gender inequality in your workplace?

Q3. Can you share other networks and/or people that have influenced your thinking/practice about inequality and how/why?

Q4. Various initiatives aim to address inequalities, led by institutions, unions and informal groups eg Athena SWAN (ASC), Race Equality (REC) and De-colononizing the Curriculum. Can you share comments/examples of how these have influenced you, or not?

Q5. What (small) changes have you made to your practice /would you recommend making in order to challenge inequalities?

This simple suggestion generated a predictable response…

Unfortunately I had to duck out before we reached the final question so I’m going to take the opportunity to answer it now. 

Q6. In what edtech situations have you found a feminist framework useful?

I’ve found a feminist framework to be useful and important because it reminds me of my own privilege, reinforces the importance of inclusion and diversity, and provides a valuable support network at times of stress and uncertainty. And if I was to pick one very specific edtech situation where I found the support of a feminist network invaluable, it would be this one: Nudging the Door Open.

ALTC Personal Highlights⤴

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I’ve already written an overview and some thoughts on the ALTC keynotes, this post is an additional reflection on some of my personal highlights of the conference. 

I was involved in three sessions this year; Wikipedia belongs in education with Wikimedia UK CEO Lucy Crompton-Reid and UoE Wikimedian in Residence Ewan McAndrew, Influential voices – developing a blogging service based on trust and openness with DLAM’s Karen Howie, and Supporting Creative Engagement and Open Education at the University of Edinburgh with LTW colleagues Charlie Farley and Stewart Cromar.  All three sessions went really well, with lots of questions and engagement from the audience.  

It’s always great to see that lightbulb moment when people start to understand the potential of using Wikipedia in the classroom to develop critical digital and information literacy skills.    There was a lot of interest in (and a little envy of) UoE’s Academic Blogging Service and centrally supported WordPress platform, blogs.ed.ac.uk, so it was great to be able to share some of the open resources we’ve created along the way including policies, digital skills resources, podcasts, blog posts, open source code and the blogs themselves.  And of course there was a lot of love for our creative engagement approaches and open resources including Board Game Jam and the lovely We have great stuff colouring book.  

Stewart Cromar also did a gasta talk and poster on the colouring book and at one point I passed a delegate standing alone in the hallway quietly colouring in the poster.  As I passed, I mentioned that she could take one of the colouring books and home with her.  She nodded and smiled and carried on colouring.  A lovely quite moment in a busy conference.

It was great to hear Charlie talking about the enduringly popular and infinitely adaptable 23 Things course, and what made it doubly special was that she was co-presenting with my old Cetis colleague R. John Robertson, who is now using the course with his students at Seattle Pacific University.   I’ve been very lucky to work with both Charlie and John, and it’s lovely to see them collaborating like this.

Our Witchfinder General intern Emma Carroll presented a brilliant gasta talk on using Wikidata to geographically locate and visualise the different locations recorded within the Survey of Scottish Witchcraft Database.  It’s an incredible piece of work and several delegates commented on how confidently Emma presented her project.  You can see the outputs of Emma’s internship here https://witches.is.ed.ac.uk/about

Emma Carroll, CC BY NC 2.0, Chris Bull for Association for Learning Technology

I really loved Kate Lindsay’s thoughtful presentation on KARE, a kind, accessible, respectful, ethical scaffolding system to support online education at University College of Estate Management.  And I loved her Rosa Parks shirt. 

Kate Lindsay, CC BY NC, Chris Bull for Association for Learning Technology

I also really enjoyed Claudia Cox’s engaging and entertaining talk Here be Dragons: Dispelling Myths around BYOD Digital Examinations.  Claudia surely wins the prize for best closing comment…

Sheila MacNeill and Keith Smyth gave a great talk on their conceptual framework for reimagining the digital university which aims to challenge neoliberalism through discursive, reflective digital pedagogy.  We need this now more than ever.

Keith Smyth, CC BY, Lorna M. Campbell

Sadly I missed Helen Beetham’s session Learning technology: a feminist space? but I heard it was really inspiring.  I think I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve been able to hear Helen talk, we always seem to be programmed in the same slot!  I also had to miss Laura Czerniewicz’s Online learning during university shut downs, so I’m very glad it was recorded. I’m looking forward to catching up with is as soon as I can.

The Learning Technologist of the Year Awards were truly inspiring as always. Lizzie Seymour, Learning Technology Officer, Royal Zoological Society of Scotland at Edinburgh Zoo was a very well deserved winner of the individual award, and I was really proud to see the University of Edinburgh’s Lecture Recording Team win the team award.  So many people across the University were involved in this project so it was great to see their hard work recognised.

UoE Lecture Recording Team, CC BY NC, Chris Bull for Association for Learning Technology

Without doubt though the highlight of the conference for me was Frances Bell‘s award of Honorary Life Membership of the Association for Learning Technology.  Frances is a dear friend and an inspirational colleague who really embodies ALT’s core values of participation, openness, collaboration and independence, so it was a huge honour to be invited to present her with the award.  Frances’ nomination was led by Catherine Cronin, who wasn’t able to be at the conference, so it gave me great pleasure to read out her words.

“What a joy to see Frances Bell – who exemplifies active, engaged and generous scholarship combined with an ethic of care –being recognised with this Honorary Life Membership Award by ALT.

As evidenced in her lifetime of work, Frances has combined her disciplinary expertise in Information Systems with historical and social justice perspectives to unflinchingly consider issues of equity in both higher education and wider society.

Uniquely, Frances sustains connections with people across higher education, local communities and creative networks in ways which help to bridge differences without ignoring them, and thus to enable understanding.

Within and beyond ALT, we all have much to thank her for.” 

I confess I couldn’t look at Frances while I was reading Catherine’s words as it was such an emotional moment.   I’m immensely proud of ALT for recognising Frances’ contribution to the community and for honouring her in this way.

Frances Bell, Honorary Life Member or ALT, CC BY NC, Chris Bull for Association for Learning Technology

And finally, huge thanks to Maren, Martin and the rest of the ALT team for organising another successful, warm and welcoming conference. 

ALTC Keynotes: Data, Dialogue and Doing⤴

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Social Media Dream Team, CC BY Lorna M. Campbell

Last week the ALT Conference took place in the magnificent McEwan Hall at the University of Edinburgh.  Chaired by Melissa Highton, Keith Smyth and Louise Jones, the conference was a huge success, thanks in no small part to the ALT Team, and a large number of volunteers from across the ALT community.   As Martin Weller pointed out in his blog post, The Meticulous Informality of ALTC, it takes a lot of hard work and expertise to make running such a big conference appear so effortless.  And as always, it was a real pleasure to be able to contribute to the conference as part of the ALTC Social Media Dream Team.  I even got a badge this year!

I’ve written before about my experience of livetweeting the ALTC keynotes, and how it differs from tweeting from my own personal account.  When I’m providing formal social media coverage I also have a different experience of actually participating in the conference, and listening to the keynotes in particular.  I tend to be so focused on listening, summarising and typing, that I often get to the end of the keynote and realise that I can barely remember even half of what the speaker has said! So it’s really useful to me to be able to look back over the livestreams and the tweets and to read all the post-conference blog posts to fill in the gaps.

One of the things that really struck me this year was how closely all three keynotes focused on the key conference themes of Data, Dialogue and Doing. 

Revisiting the affordances and implications of interconnectedness and socially mediated publicness

– Sue Beckingham, Sheffield Hallam University

Sue set the scene with a wide ranging opening keynote covering the long history of the myriad technologies that collect and process our data in various ways, shapes and forms; from the panopticon to the Echo Dot, via keystroke tracking, store cards, VLEs, facebook and the invisible algorithms of the web.  Sue asked how many of us read the terms of service of the websites and apps we sign up to? How many of us know how our data is being used?

Sue also highlighted the pros and cons of engaging with social media. Twitter can be toxic, filled with disinformation, misinformation and fake news, but it can also be invaluable for promoting research, disseminating crisis communications, highlighting achievements, and building community.  Sue stressed that it’s no good banning social media, we need to have meaningful conversations with students about how their data is being used. And we also need to ensure that those who are marginalised from our education communities are accepted, wanted and drawn in.  Sue quoted Fosslien and West Duffy who define “diversity as having a seat at the table, inclusion as having a voice, and belonging as having that voice be heard”. Social media can enable diverse voices to be included and heard but we need to be cognisant of how our data is being used by these platforms.

Sue Beckingham, ALTC keynote

Sue Beckingham, CC BY NC 2.0, Chris Bull for Association for Learning Technology

Watch Sue’s keynote https://altc.alt.ac.uk/2019/sessions/altc-keynote-sue-beckingham/

Critcal Pedagaogy, Civil Disobedience and Edtech

– Jessie Stommel, University of Mary Washington

Jessie picked up on many of the themes Sue introduced.  Within a framework of critical pedagogy and digital agency he explored the interfaces between agency, data and technology, and how the tools we use as educators influence our relationship with our students.  Jessie urged us to ask hard questions of vendors and to engage students in this critical evaluation.  What assumptions about learning and teaching does a tool make? What data does it collect? Who has access to it? Is it accessible? To visually impaired, to introverts, to extroverts? 

Jessie argued that while some tools can be hacked to good use, others have bad pedagogy baked in and are problematic to the core.  It was no surprise that the tool he chose to shine the spotlight of critical evaluation on was Turnitin.  It’s easy to critique Turnitin from many different perspectives, not least of which is that it effectively has a monopoly on student writing, with a staggering 98% of UK HE institutions subscribing to its services.  Jessie highlighted Turnitin’s problematic Terms of Reference but, perhaps more importantly, he also argued that Turnitin has suspicion of students baked into it and entrenches the belief that students are not to be trusted.

“We are opting in to a culture of suspicion of our students and Turnitin enables this.”

Jessie reminded us that our students are human beings not data assets.  We need to trust our students, to learn from and with them, and we need to believe what they tell us about how they learn.  Throughout his keynote Jessie returned again and again to Paulo Friere and bell hooks with their focus on learning as a space of wonder and marvel and the importance of generating excitement, joy and pleasure in education. Quoting bell hooks Jessie reminded us that 

 “If we’re not talking about joy we’re doing something wrong.”

Jessie Stommel, ALTC Keynote

Jessie Stommel, CC BY NC 2.0, Chris Bull for Association for Learning Technology

Watch Jessie’s keynote: https://altc.alt.ac.uk/2019/sessions/altc-keynote-jesse-stommel/

Learning, Teaching and Technology

– Ollie Bray, The Lego Foundation

Ollie certainly brought excitement and joy to his keynote when he handed out packets of Lego to the entire audience and challenged everyone to make a duck in 40 seconds! We ended up with as many different ducks as delegates, but Ollie pointed out that every duck was meaningful to the person who made it. Furthermore, the activity itself was meaningful because it was actively engaging, socially interactive, iterative and joyful. These are typical characteristics of a playful experience and they are also characteristics of an excellent learning experience.

Ollie challenged us to think about how we could reimagine learning as it could be, while still working within the distinct boundaries of our education systems and social contexts.  Creative skills are highly contextual and it’s important to develop personalised skills that suit specific needs. 

Picking up on another of Jessie’s themes, Ollie noted that we hear a lot about learning from our students, but less about learning with them. If we want young learners to be creative, we need children and adults working together in co-creative learning teams.   Despite the rhetoric that AI will “solve” education, solving complex problems comes down to people, pedagogy and leadership.

Making Lego ducks at ALTC

40 second Lego duck challenge, CC BY NC 2.0, Chris Bull for Association for Learning Technology

Watch Ollie’s keynote: https://altc.alt.ac.uk/2019/sessions/altc-keynote-ollie-bray/

One of the things I loved about Ollie’s keynote was that it rippled out beyond the bounds of the conference.  Lots of delegates took the Lego duck challenge home and posted pictures of ducks made by their families.  These are the ducks my family made.  I’m sure they’re meaningful to them somehow :}  

Lego ducks

Meaningful ducks? CC BY Lorna M. Campbell

Looking forward to ALTC: Wikimedia, Academic Blogging and Creative Engagement with OER⤴

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Not content with liveblogging the ALTC keynotes, gasta sessions and AGM, I’m also going to be taking part in two presentations and one panel.  Yikes!  So if you’re interested in learning why Wikimedia belongs in education, how to develop an academic blogging service based on trust and openness, and supporting creative engagement through open education, why not come along and join us 🙂

Wikipedia belongs in education: Principles and Practice

Wikipedia belongs in educationTuesday Sep 3 2019, 2:45pm – 3:45pm, Room 2.14
Lucy Crompton-Reid, Ewan McAndrew, and Lorna Campbell

This panel session, featuring short presentations and audience Q&A, will outline the thinking and research that underpins Wikimedia UK’s education programme, present some of the work that’s been delivered as part of this programme over the past few years, and discuss opportunities for future educational partnerships. We’ll also highlight the ways that you can get involved in this work at an individual and/or institutional level, and the benefits of working with Wikimedia in education.

Read more.

Supporting Creative Engagement and Open Education at the University of Edinburgh 

Thursday Sep 5 2019, 12:15pm – 1:15pm, McEwan Hall
Lorna Campbell, Stephanie (Charlie) Farley, and Stewart Cromar

This joint presentation will introduce the University of Edinburgh’s vision and strategy for OER and playful engagement, showcase examples of some of the playful approaches we employ, demonstrate how these help to foster creative approaches to teaching, learning and engaging with our collections, and reflect critically on researching their effectiveness.  Come along and see real world examples of how supporting openness and playful engagement at the institutional level can foster creativity and innovation, and gain inspiration about how these approaches could be used in your own contexts and institution. You’ll also be able to pick up one of our free “We have great stuff” OER colouring books! 

Read more

Influential voices – developing a blogging service based on trust and openness 

Thursday Sep 5 2019, 2:00pm – 3:00pm, Room 2.14
Karen Howie and Lorna Campbell

This presentation will reflect on the first year year of the University of Edinburgh’s new Academic Blogging Service.  We worked closely with academic colleagues, to take a broad view of the different uses of blogs, including reflective blogging, writing for public audiences, group blogging and showcasing research to develop a new academic blogging service that launched in October 2018. The service incorporates existing tools (inc. those built into our VLE and portfolio platforms), improved documentation, new digital skills workshops and materials, and a brand new centrally supported WordPress platform (blogs.ed.ac.uk) to support types of blogging that were not well catered for previously. The philosophy of our new blogging platform was to start from a position of openness and trust, allowing staff and students to develop their own voices.  Come along to learn more about our Academic Blogging Service and find out about the free and open resources we developed along the way.

Learn more. 

Look forward to seeing you at ALTC! 

Putting your best foot forward with #altc⤴

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[This post was previously posted on the ALTC website.]

What to expect from the ALT Conference’s social media channels and how to get involved.  

The ALT Conference is almost upon as and we’re looking forward to welcoming delegates to the city and University of Edinburgh.  Edinburgh is a wonderful city to visit at any time of the year, but we appreciate that traveling to attend conferences is not always practical or possible, so in order to ensure that the conference is as accessible and inclusive as possible, ALT provides a range of online channels to enable you to participate in the conference remotely.  Frances Bell has already written a really helpful post on how to participate in the conference online.

In addition to watching the ALT conference livestream, and signing up for VConnecting sessions, you can engage with the conference through ALT’s social media channels and the #altc hashtag, which is already hotting up as delegates prepare for the conference. 

The ALT Conference has always had a really lively and engaging social media presence, which draws in participants from all over the world. I’m delighted to help facilitate this as part of ALT’s social media team, along with partners in crime Rich Goodman (@bulgenen), from the University of Loughborough, and photographer Chris Bull (@chrisbull1980).  My role is to livetweet the conference keynotes from ALT’s official twitter account @A_L_T, while Rich will be tweeting Chris’ photographs, which really capture the buzz and energy of the conference.  You can see Chris’ pictures from last year’s ALT Conference on ALT’s flickr channel, and in keeping with ALT’s strategic commitment to openness, they’re all Creative Commons licensed. 

CC BY NC 2.0, Chris Bull for the Association for Learning Technology on flickr

I’ve written several blog posts over the years about my experience of live tweeting the ALT conference, and in my CMALT portfolio I reflected on the difference between tweeting for ALT in an official capacity,  and tweeting from my own personal account:

Live tweeting in an official capacity for events such as the ALT Conference requires a different approach to live tweeting from my own personal account.  When I live tweet on behalf of an event organiser I try to keep my tweets as factual, neutral and representative as possible. It’s important not to misrepresent the speaker or inadvertently tweet anything that might bring the organisation into disrepute.  If I’m tweeting personally, I tend to tweet the points that interest me, adding my own thoughts and comments along the way.

The ALT Conference has a justifiable reputation for the quality of its keynotes, and this year is no exception.  Although it can be a little daunting, it’s a real privilege to livetweet such inspirational speakers.

It’s hard to overestimate the influence Sue Beckingham (@suebecks) has had on the learning technology community in the UK, through her blog Social Media for Learning, the weekly #LTHEchat twitter chat, and the open online course Bring Your Own Device for Learning. Sue brings a nuanced and critical approach to the use of social media in teaching and learning and is generous in sharing her practice and experience with the community. 

I heard Ollie Bray (@olliebray) speaking many years ago when he was Head Teacher at Kingussie High School and I remember being really intrigued by his inspirational approaches to teaching and learning and innovative use of technology and social media, so I’m really looking forward to hearing about and livetweeting his recent work connecting play and education at the LEGO Foundation. 

I’m particularly thrilled to hear Jesse Stommel (@Jessifer), as I’ve followed him on twitter for some time and I’m a huge admirer of his work.  Just a few weeks ago I was following the Digital Pedagogy Lab, co-founded by Jesse, on twitter and though I only dipped my toe into the incredibly rich stream of tweets it was a really rewarding and thought provoking experience. 

Whether you’ll be with us in Edinburgh or joining us remotely, we’d encourage you to get involved with the ALT Conference online. You can do this by:

  • Following the official ALT twitter account @A_L_T / https://twitter.com/A_L_T 
  • Following the conference hashtag #altc
  • Tweeting your own comments, reflections and pictures on the #altc conference hashtag. 
  • Sharing your photographs online, remember to use the #altc hashtag and add an open licence!

You don’t need a twitter account to read @A_L_T’s tweets and to follow the #altc tag, but you do need an account if you want to retweet and comment. 

And of course no ALT event would be complete without the occasional #shoetweet

#altc #shoetweet, CC BY, Lorna M. Campbell

So put our best foot forward and join us in Edinburgh and online for #altc

Icepops Conference 2019 – Learning how to play the game⤴

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Ok, confession time; I’m useless at playing games.  Any kind of games – card games, board games, computer games, strategy games, discovery games, competitive games, for some reason they just don’t hold my attention.   I’m not sure why that is, I just don’t seem to have that “hook” that engages people with game play.  Although I’m not a natural game player, I do really enjoy playfulness and creativity (who doesn’t?!) and copyright literacy is definitely my thing so I really appreciated being able to go along to last week’s ICEPOPS Conference here at the University, not least because my inspirational OER Service colleague Stephanie (Charlie) Farley was giving her first ever keynote.  Icepops is the International Copyright-Literacy Event with Playful Opportunities for Practitioners and Scholars, which is run by Jane Secker and Chris Morrison of the UK Copyright Literacy Team, in conjunction with the CILIP Information Literacy Group.   The themes of the conference this year were copyright education, games and play, music and copyright, creativity and the relationship of copyright literacy to information literacy and scholarly communication.

Melissa Highton, Director of Learning Teaching and Web Services here at the University, opened the conference by welcoming delegates to the University and the city.  Melissa emphasised the importance of copyright as part of the University’s core business and highlighted the role of the OER Service in supporting and developing copyright literacy across the institution.

Simon Anderson gave a really engaging and interactive keynote on copyright infringement in music “Stop me if you think you’ve heard this before”, and yes, he did play snippets of music live on stage and asked us to vote on whether they sounded similar or not. Simon introduced us to the fabulous Lost in Music resource developed by the University of Westminster, a free and open resource that aims to demystify and develop understanding of copyright and infringement within the music industry.  The site includes a wide range of legal case studies and resources including the highly entertaining You Be The Judge, which challenges listeners to decide at what point a piece of music becomes infringing. Simon played this game with us at the conference and it was a lot of fun.  I particularly enjoyed the lightbulb moment when he added one tiny sequence of notes to the piece of music and suddenly everyone in the room recognised it!  I also learned that the Australian band Men At Work were successfully sued in 2010 because their 1983 hit Down Under ripped off the Kookaburra song.  Who knew?  There was also an interesting question about who is responsible for potential copyright infringement in machine generated music.  The answer isn’t yet clear.

Following Simon’s keynote, the rest of the morning was taken up by a whirl wind of amazingly creative copyright education world café sessions and pecha kucha presentations including one fascinating talk on the copyright and performance rights of John Cage’s 4’33”.

[See image gallery at lornamcampbell.org]

Icepops World Cafe, CC BY, Lorna M. Campbell

I also got to take part in my very first escape room challenge run by Katrine Sundsbø of the University of Essex.  The Open Access Escape Room challenged us to thwart a villain who had hidden away all publications by unlocking the research to make everything free.  It was a lot of fun and Charlie and I came away with lots of ideas about how we could adapt the format for an open education escape room for next year’s Festival of Creative Learning.

Charlie Farley & Jane Secker, CC BY, Lorna M. Campbell

The afternoon opened with Charlie’s keynote “Make and release – embedding practice through play”.  Charlie spoke eloquently about the significance of play and creativity in her own life and working practice.  In terms of introducing playful engagement in the workplace, Charlie highlighted the importance of the “lusory attitude”, the mindset we enter into that let us accept the arbitrary rules of a playful space in order to engage with play and creativity.  Charlie said that she found “that by creating a lusory attitude or environment, staff and students are more willing to experiment and learn new technologies and skills with much less fear and apprehension”.  To let us do just that, Charlie led us through a short Board Game Jam session.  It’s always great to see the creativity that results when people engaging with the University’s open licensed image collections through Board Game Jam, and this time was no exception.  As might be expected, the Icepops delegates created some amazing and highly entertaining game scenarios.

[See image gallery at lornamcampbell.org]

Icepops Board Game Jam, C BY, Lorna M. Campbell

During her keynote, Charlie also challenged us to draw or write a short story about our journey to becoming a copyright literacy expert. This is mine 🙂

Chris and Jane brought the conference to a poignant close with a tribute to Marion Kelt, a long standing member of the UK copyright literacy community, who had been due to attend the conference.  Marion’s touching and funny Copyright Comic, a lovely memorial to her, features in the Icepops Annual 2019.

Sadly, I wasn’t able to stay in Edinburgh for the after-conference entertainment, though it sounds like the playful and musical theme of the event continued well into the evening with the Icepops houseband The Infringers XD

It was great to experience the playfulness and creativity of the copyright literacy community at Icepops and I came away with some really cool ideas that we can incorporate into our OER Service digital skills programme.  But perhaps the most important thing I learned at Icepops is that maybe I’m not as bad at playing games as I thought!

Remembering Marion⤴

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Like many colleagues, I was deeply saddened to hear of the death of Marion Kelt earlier this week. Marion was Research and Open Access Librarian at Glasgow Caledonian University Library, but more than that, she was a weel kent, well respected and well liked member of the open education community.

Marion was nothing if not tenacious and, as a result of her persistence, Glasgow Caledonian University became the first university in Scotland to approve an institutional OER policy. Marion gave an enlightening and entertaining talk about the development of this policy at the OER15 conference in Cardiff, and the extraordinary lengths she had to go to get it approved. I vividly remember her telling us about the months she spent trying to track down the institutional IPR policy, which she’d been told the OER policy had to refer to, only to finally discover that no such policy existed!

It was typical of Marion’s enthusiasm and generosity that she was more than willing to share her experience with colleagues here at the University of Edinburgh when we were developing our own OER policy and establishing the OER Service. GCU’s OER policy is one of three OER policies the University of Edinburgh’s builds on.

The GCU OER policy wasn’t the only contribution Marion made to the open education community. She regularly attended and spoke at the OER conferences, and just recently presented a paper at OER19 in Galway about the GCU Copyright Advisor, a really useful piece of work that I hope will stand as Marion’s legacy. The Copyright Advisor walks users through a series of questions to help them decide whether and in what context different types of resources can be used. The tool was developed for use within GCU but because it’s open licensed (of course), it can easily be adapted for use in other contexts and institutions.

We won’t remember Marion just for her contribution to the open education community though, we’ll remember her for her warm and generous spirit, her love of cats and music, fancy shoes and G&T. Marion’s colleagues at GCU have set up a Just Giving appeal in her name to benefit Cats Protection, a cause that was close to her heart, and which you can donate to here. CILIP Scotland have also written a touching obituary for Marion here: Marion Kelt (nee Murphie).

Marion at OER19

The annual ALT Scotland Meet Up this week was dedicated to Marion’s memory, and these are just some of the many tributes to her that have been posted on twitter.

PressEDConf19: Supporting Digital Skills with SPLOTs!⤴

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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.