OER Policies in 26 countries – POERUP at OER13

One of the highlights of OER13 for me was the opportunity to meet with University of Leicester’s European partners in the POERUP project. One of POERUP’s main aims is to find out what is happening in terms of OER policies in countries around the world, and to disseminate this information in order to stimulate the uptake of OER policies.

The first presentation from POERUP, on day one of the conference, was by Ming Nie, who gave a snapshot overview of the types of policies in different countries emerging from the research: countries with OER policies (such as the Netherlands, the USA, South Africa and Romania); countries active in OER activities (such as New Zealand, UK, Australia, Spain, Poland and Canada), and countries driving open education (such as Greece, Italy, France Hungary and the Scandinavian countries).

On day two, Terence Karran followed up with his in-depth presentation on OER developments in Mexico. His catch phrase was “the tortoise, not the hare” – in other words suggesting that while progress may be slow here, there are indicators that Mexico might ultimately win the OER race.  The major success factors he listed were: a strong tradition of open and distance learning (ODL); the growing use of ICT in general and technology in learning in particular; an emerging directive approach to national policy; a privatised but gradually opening telecommunications industry; and a strong and growing ICT manufacturing base. These wide-ranging factors were presented to show that although the use of OERs in Mexico has only just begun, we can expect to see much greater engagement in time to come.

Finally the POERUP team presented a fast-flowing “elevator pitch” of OER policies, covering 26 countries in 26 minutes. It was a great team effort involving six of us (Paul Bacsich and Nick Jeans from Sero in the UK, Robert Schuwer from the OU Netherlands, Terence Karran from the University of Lincoln and Ming Nie and myself from the University of Leicester). We presented the OER policy “highlights” from the research so far.  Anyone who is interested in finding out more about the POERUP findings so far can go to the POERUP wiki to read the 26 full country reports, or refer to the longer list of all countries that includes further information about other countries.

Gabi presenting elevator pitch for South Africa

Gabi presenting elevator pitch for South Africa

The next step for POERUP is to conduct case studies of several large OER networks or communities, using social network analysis methodology. Information will be shared via the POERUP website.

OER13: reflections on Doug Belshaw’s keynote address

I should probably start with a disclaimer: I am a strong supporter of open practices, but I am not an activist. My reflections on Doug’s entertaining keynote should therefore be interpreted in that light.

Doug’s keynote at OER13 began with a discussion on types of ambiguity and trajectories. It’s not entirely clear why the audience would be keen to be exposed to this discussion, but it appears that the bottom line was that it is not possible to define “open” in a way that satisfies everybody and that OER belongs in the “creative ambiguity” area.

The focus then shifted to Open Badges (OB), including the rationale behind the Mozilla Foundation’s support of OB. We were taken through the ‘anatomy of a badge’. Not surprisingly, metadata was referred to several times. A badge, Doug argued, constitutes evidence, trusted credentials, somehow captured explicitly in the metadata associated with the badge. Badges, he said, prove things outside of your community: they are a form of recognition and a way of representing yourself and your facets. There’s more to one’s transcript than silo-based qualifications. Badges are explicit by nature and provide a means of ‘jailbreaking formal education systems’. They encourage learner sovereignty and allow non-traditional pathways, Doug argued.

The next part of the keynote focused on web literacy standards. The Mozilla Foundation aims to create a web-literate planet, a generation of ‘web makers’. For this purpose, Doug and others have been working towards a web literacy learning standard, built with the community: an open learning standard for web literacy. People should be able to ‘earn badges around the web’. The OB approach, in the presenter’s view, should be seen as a platform for innovation.

The concluding part of the presentation was about ‘changing the world for the better’. OER and associated OEP are on the cusp of shifting from creative to productive ambiguity. The ‘Learning Registry’ could be a platform for innovation.

I confess that I left the session with as many doubts about OB as I went in with, but perhaps with more concerns. Some of the audience’s questions at the end illustrated similar concerns, and elicited some worrying statements, such as ‘you can award a badge for anything’ and ‘awarding an OB for trying’. In this context, the usual questions about these approaches became evident once more: would you hire someone whose “evidence of achievement” is presented to you in the form of open badges? Does packing a badge with metadata mean that everyone can see (and rely on) what and who is behind it? Does a badge give evidence of any form of achievement or, more importantly, competence?

An example was given of a group of people who apparently ‘provide trusted credentials for the small things they do’. Really?

Explicitness, trust, openness, opportunity, innovation and value are key works associated with OB. Those words can be compared and contrasted with other terms, such as too easy to get, mean very little, prove nothing, unreliable, a distant second best, don’t change much. Although there was a lot of passion, no persuasive argument was made (assuming there is one) to address such queries and concerns with evidence or authority. Who underwrites that trust and those credentials? “The community” is not a valid response, I’m afraid.

In sum, I was far from convinced. Doug referred to his own PhD research several times during the presentation. Indeed he used it a lot in his discussion of theories of ambiguity. Would he be where he is today solely on the back of his open badges? Probably not.

Alejandro Armellini
4 April 2013
Ale.Armellini@northampton.ac.uk
http://www.northampton.ac.uk/people/ale.armellini

OER13 in the press

We were very pleased to have invited Chris Parr from Times Higher Education to observe (and we hoped, write about) the conference and the discussions at OER13. Gratitude is due to one of our conference co-chairs, Jackie Carter, for her efforts in making this possible.

So far we’ve seen two articles, one about the keynote from Toni Pearce (NUS) and one looking more generally at responses to the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) phenomenon, drawing on comments from Professor Patrick McAndrew of the Open University and Darco Jansen of the European Association of Distance Teaching Universities.

Unfortunately the publication of these articles coincided with THE’s re-establishment of their paywall experiments of the early 00s. This means that some people may not be able to read the articles when and where they want to – so in the spirit of openness we have attempted to offer a summary of each here.

Toni’s presentation has already created a lot of interest, and you can read full reports from Lorna Campbell and OER Research Hub online already. Chris’ article focused on Toni’s assertion that students were willing to defend the “traditional” lecture and were less demanding of technology-driven alternatives than may be expected.

“I was quite surprised to find that students will absolutely defend to the death the lecture – a mode of learning that many of us are getting used to thinking of as an out-of-date method of teaching.”

Her presentation was drawn from the findings of a research project conducted jointly between the NUS and the HE Academy as a part of the UKOER programme. A full report will be released later this year, but this early glimpse did give the impression that students are very keen on the personal and community aspects of learning.

“We can accomplish a great deal more when we’re working in a community than when we are working alone”, she noted.

A second article, published today looked at the ways in which MOOC – specifically the larger commercial MOOCs – can constrain this feeling of community. Patrick McAndrew was quoted at length on the matter.

“They are creating a sort of closed community in the open. […] You now have people who have been through a [Mooc] programme saying: ‘I want to talk about what I’ve done. I want to show people what I’ve done. But if the system itself is closed you can’t do those things.”

Patrick argued that the use of closed resources and closed platforms also restricts the opportunity for students to interact fully with the presented material, for example to translate into other languages or reuse in other settings.

Darco Jansen of EADTU was quoted in strident voice on the implications of “open” courses for educators, and the canard of MOOCs as a means of widening participation in education:

“Most students that participate in Moocs already have good access to higher education…or they have already completed higher education. So how can you say Moocs are creating more accessibility?”

Despite the arguments around the inclusiveness and spontaneity of open education practice, Darco is quoted as highlighting the classic transmission model of learning (and the neo-imperialist undertones of this model) employed in MOOCs.

“Who is providing open educational resources? They are rich people, rich companies, rich universities, because they have the money to put out free educational resources and Moocs online […] There is a lot of company money involved. It’s a new Western imperialism to conquer the world,”

It is wonderful to see OER13 reflected in the mainstream education press, and we hope that in capturing a taste of the debates and discussions during the two day conference we can encourage further participation in such debates, both online and in submissions for OER14.

Lightning Talks #abs50 #abs73 #abs77 #abs112

Title: Writing in Booksprints

Presenter and authors:  Phil Barker, Lorna M. Campbell, Martin Hawksey, CETIS and Amber Thomas, University of Warwick.

Session: LT50, #abs50

A booksprint is a facilitated, highly structured intensive writing process.  This booksprint ran for two and a half days, involved four people and was facilitated by Adam Hyde.  The aim of the sprint was to produce a synthesis and summary of the technical outputs of the UKOER Programmes  Once a chapter is written it’s passed on to another author, not for editing but co-creation.  The initial author does not “own” the chapter.  During this sprint each chapter was re-written by three authors.  The team used Booki.cc open source authoring platform to facilitate the collaborative writing. Booki is much like other collaborative writing applications but incorporates additional tools for ebook creation.   By the end of the two and a half day sprint the team had written a 22,000 word book.  Some of the authors were concerned that the quality of the writing would be compromised but this does not seem to have been the case. Colleagues who have read and reviewed the book have all responded positively to it.

Phil Barker - Writing in Booksprints

Booksprints are ideal for people who have a shared conception of a topic and want to present it together, or alternatively want to present different aspect of a topic.  The content has to be material that is already known to the authors. This is not unlike the situation lecturers are in when they are producing course materials.  Booksprints could be an excellent way to produce educational resources as it’s an inherently open approach to content production.  We talk a lot about sharing educational resources but we don’t talk nearly enough about sharing the effort of creating those resources.  In order to produce really high quality resources we need to share the task of content creation

Into the Wild – Technology for Open Educational Resources can be downloaded free from CETIS Publications.  A print on demand edition is available from Lulu.

For further information on booksprints, see booksprints.net


Title: Libraries, OA research and OER: towards symbiosis?

Presenter: Nick Sheppard, Leeds Metropolitan University

Session: LT73, #abs73

Leeds Metropolitan University have established a blended repository to manage both their research and teaching and learning resources, including OERs. They have been involved in a number of JISC funded projects including the Unicycle UKOER project.  The blended repository was originally based on Intralibrary and they have now implemented Symplectic.  There has been considerable emphasis on developing research management workflows.

Open access to research is changing dramatically in light of Finch and role of institutional repositories and there are synergies with Creative Commons potentially being mandated by Research Councils UK.  Nick also referred to Lorcan Dempsey’s recent posts on “Inside Out” libraries, which focus on the changing role of institutional repositories and libraries.

Nick Sheppard - Closing the institutional UKOER circle

Leeds Met have worked closely with Jorum and Nick said that he believed that the new Jorum API is a game changer which will allow them to close the institutional OER circle.


Title: Why bother with open education?

Presenter and authors: Viv Rolfe & Mark Fowler, De Montfort University

Session: LT77, #abs77

De Montfort have undertake a huge body of OER work since 2009.  OER is incorporated into the institutional strategy for teaching an learning and OER is also is part of  the De Montfort PG cert course.

Despite this, when the team interviewed senior executives about OER, none could name any major institutional projects.  They saw the marketing potential of OER but didn’t appreciate the potential of OERs to enhance learning.  There is a distinct lack of buy in from senior staff and a lot of work is needed to change their mindsets.

Viv Rolfe

Student researcher Libor Hurt undertook a student survey on attitudes to OER.  28% had heard of OERs. OERs are used to supplement lectures and for informal learning.  They are seen as being good for catching up with complex subjects but are less used to study for assessments. Students overwhelmingly share stuff with each other, usually through facebook and e-mail. This is naturally how students work now and could have a major impact on OER down the line.  Students also loved producing OERs, lab videos and quiz MCQs.  However while students are happy to share within the university, they are less happy about sharing their OERs with the public, or those that are not paying fees.  Institutional strategies need to be mindful of this and need to communicate that universities are not giving away whole courses, they are just sharing some of the best bits.  Only a few students cited plagiarism concerns as a reason not to share.  From a student perspective, there is a real tension between paying fees and sharing OERs

It doesn’t matter if everyone in the institution isn’t sharing, as long as there are enough to get momentum going.  However it is important to get senior managers on board, OERs need to be enshrined in institutional  policy.


Title: Taking care of business: OER and the bottom line

Presenters and authors: By John Casey, University of the Arts, Jonathan Shaw & Shaun Hides Coventry School of Art and Design, Coventry University.

Session: LT112, #abs112

Talking about open in a closed education system is a lightening conductor for many thorny issues – power, control, ownership, identity, pedagogy, technical infrastructure, cultures, policy, strategy and business models.   The OER space is a very productive but scary space.

Media is about coproduction and teaching is itself a form of media production.  Coventry fell into open learning with the #Phonar and Creative Activism #creativact courses which opened up their classes.  Rather than having courses led by individuals, they now have teams of people all thinking and operating in different ways. Professional partners have also shown an interest in participating in these courses.   They are thinking about how they conceive the design process of teaching, and are working with students and professional partners to let content evolve.

Shaun Hides - consequences of oer

OER is a political problem, you need to lobby senior management. OERs don’t just open up content, they change institutional practice.  There are many unintended consequences and we need to deal with new educational and economic models of co-production.

CoPILOT: supporting librarians in sharing their teaching material internationally #abs16- Nancy Graham & Jane Secker

#abs16

Abstract available at https://www.medev.ac.uk/oer13/16/view/

A number of presentations and conversations, both real and virtual, throughout the conference suggest there is an increasing emphasis on the role of libraries and librarians in OER (I was disappointed not to be able to attend Gema Bueno-de-la-Fuente’s session “Academic libraries and the OER movement: the need for awareness, understanding, and collaboration” as it coincided with my own lightning talk “Libraries, OA research and OER: towards symbiosis?“). and Nick Shockey, the closing keynote speaker also identified it as a major theme of the conference.

This was a workshop with Jane Secker and Nancy Graham who had hotfooted it from the LILAC conference in Manchester (Librarians’ Information Literacy Annual Conference) and began with a little background from DELILA, an institutional project to adapt digital and information literacy (IL) resources to OERs and to make the material available though Institutional Repositories. It identified the potential for librarians to be key advocates for OER as well as identifying a range of challenges when adapting existing resources (e.g. issues around embedded third party content). DELILA also conducted a survey of academic librarians which indicated there was plenty of “closed” sharing happening with a willingness to share openly but an uncertainty of how to go about it – full report available from http://delilaopen.wordpress.com/il-oer-survey/

Librarians as advocates

Jane and Nancy asked us to brainstorm reasons for sharing IL resources, there were in fact several librarians present in the session and the main ones identified were that core material is relevant across institutions, making it well suited to reuse; information literacy concepts are core to all librarians (though it is useful to share different approaches to the same concept) and IL resources (and the act of creating/adapting) are also useful for new information professionals. The strength of the librarian network also make it ideal for OER which, as we have found throughout ukoer, is most effective when supported by a close-knit community.

In addition to extending a collaboration with UNESCO that had begun with DELILA (and who are themselves very keen to explore synergies between OER and information literacy), a CoPILOT committee was formed in November 2012 with the remit to support UK librarians in sharing openly and to explore further how IL resources might work as OER. In addition there is a mailing list at il-oers@jiscmail.ac.uk and wiki at http://iloer.pbworks.com/.

Outputs of CoPILOT include 250+ members of the mailing list, 19 links posted to English, Spanish, German and French IL resources, a report, case study and post-project survey and a strategy for sharing IL OERs which is currently being finalised.

A final brainstorming session asked us to consider “How can we make this happen?” considering the pros/cons of using online communities and:

  • Building librarian OER advocacy role?
  • Online activities to encourage participation/contribution
  • Comms channels
  • Other Community of Practice functions
  • Face to face events
  • Support from international organisations

Notes drawn from the discussion include:

  • Good to have case studies of how materials were used, reused, adapted
  • Problem with engagement – email is more direct than visiting an online community
  • Time saving? Suggestion that this is perhaps a red herring and impact is crucial to sell to senior management (e.g. it will improve everyone’s teaching resources.)
  • Build in metrics of use and impacts (discussion of how difficult this can be; can be informed by the wider OER community and Jorum, for example, will very soon incorporate usage metrics – http://www.medev.ac.uk/oer13/114/view/)
  • Open practice and tracking OERs (DOIs, Webcite)
  • CoP – useful for people working at a distance. Hard to find time to devote to a CoP in day to day work.
  • Resources need to be at right level
  • Badges attached to using CoP

(Personally I am an advocate the immense value of open practice; no doubt preaching to the choir here but if you haven’t already, set up a blog and a twitter account and if you find, adapt, reuse IL – or any other OER – blog about it, post links on Twitter!)

I’m off to join il-oer@jiscmail.ac.uk

Notes from the facilitated discussion on the Experience theme, day 2

So, are you experienced? Have you ever been experienced? Well, I have.

So, are you experienced? Have you ever been experienced? Well, I have.

Many thanks to everyone who came and took part in the stimulating and wide ranging discussion in room B52 on the experience theme. Despite the room being a very formal lecture theatre we managed to have some interesting exchanges about how we might encourage academic practices amongst our colleagues (I hesitate to use the word open or transparent as I don’t think they reflect the direction the discussion took).

Special thanks to Professor Megan Quentin-Baxter for taking the following (almost) verbatim notes:

Problems and practice and the implications for practice.

I feel a bit like an interloper in the conference discipline – media department archaeology etc. – I don’t come from this world. Whatever this world is.

The questions that are here are about the world of educational development and practice.

Computers will be interesting when they disappear.

OP will be interesting when it disappears.

In accordance with what Pat was saying earlier on then.

I am sort of outside of this comunity as well. Twitter, copyright. We need more education. Not too frightened of it.

There is that kind of education for us and for our students. What should they be doing. What should we be doing.

Staff development and cpd. JIS legal has been doing very good stuff.

SH had been doing stuff like that in Ncl for the last 6 months or so. But you only get the people who know that there is a problem to be solved.

In my experience obstacle s is time. You need tie to take understand things. What it meants to be CC licenced. As authoritative as it comes and with good intentions. I edont have this time

Is it time or fear? Both but time is most important. I am working part time and I am at capacity. If you make it official then people don’t engage you have to make it part of everything else that you do.

Embed it in other activities such as other staff development. Julian I don’t know how you get through to the lone academic who has done it for years. Lots of other people out there. I am at a loss to know how to spread this wide. Nuanced to us. You have to kjnow a  lot. Enganced learning, open learning, you have to think differently. They don’t get it and link it over there because they don’t get it.

Anna – open educational practice. Same as when we tired to get people to use computers. Lots of things to learn. You have to make it ubiqiutious.

Sean if they are brilliant at what they do (staff) does it matter computer slide projector, engaging students.

How can students help? Students putting pressure on academics.

Getting students to engage has been important with oer was difficult but I am on Twitter and I tweet OERs to them they are rubbish at using Moodle but they are using resources. They are not very good at demanding – we have to tell them and they are interested but they are not proactive. I talk to students about what my role is at the beginning of the first year so that they know more about me.

Is it a lack of understanding of OERs? It is not the student’s job – students think that they are doing your work for you.

A quality issue if it doesn’t ?

Student will look at stuff again.

With the issues of OER there is a concept there is an empahsis on asking students to create their rown learning pathways. Homogenisation. Competitive environment.

Students are paying a lot of money (England, international). Client relationship. We had the issue recently of providing moducless

Have we managed to embody exciting new pedagogies in oers/moocs?

Spreading open practice – danger that evangelism can lose critical faculty

Where is open? What is open? Less about pedagogy and more about learning

Cant provide models because it would make it too easy for students to complete the assignment. Reluctance because students have travelled that path.

Networking – people. Research

Hang out in the same places. We know this. There is no obvious way of marking ourselves out. Pages that you create on resources. I am an open academy. Some Badges. – Not a lot of ways to identify

Signed up a year ago (OER pledge) a paper and nothing has happened.

We have to go with everything that has happened. Showcase of use of something for a year institution recolonizing by some … no factors need to be

Some kind That is what we have to change for the students to create the context. Pedagogy. Some desire if you took x student and tll them the outcomes that have have to achieve and then the evidence that they have to produce.

If we take away the open, leaving changes in practices. What makes good practice. Better practice. I started out when everything fro the OU was in print. Programmes on the BBC. What happened before it was recorded. Correspondence. Difficult to say that the students viewed that time as better or worse than it is now. Technologies are available and used .

Online conferencing in1988. 2005 before the policy that all courses should have some sort of online presence. How long it takes for change to happen.

The question from me about where the openness is helpful is that people in the OU and across the sector. How do you inculcate the sharing part of practice.

You have to get that activity recognised.

Recognise that type of activity. You have to have a recognition and reward system. MOOCs. Might make us look good. Books as MOOCS but you share books.

Transparency. Always using things in different ways. Very open about what they want to do. The technowizz is not transparent. Transparency with colleagues. Try to sell the benefits of saving time by being transparent. For the students to sell it to them. This looks flashy and weird it might not work. Students might be talking about

Why am I paying for this? Massive transformation – in our old world we had control but we are now in the situation where what we produe might be duplicated 1000 times. You can’t build value systems around.

The opne agenda is getting from that old situation to a new situation. If you tell people that they can only get that info from that place that one place then they will find answers elsewhere. Drop in the ocean. How it makes you think about being in a teaching sigutaiont. Terrible basis for going forward.

MQB noted the look on the face of Vice Chancellors  who were lensing forward thinking well if all knowledge is on line then what is the role of the university? One conclusion was that we would have to teach our academics to teach.

Growth in the content agenda.  Bookshops libraries. Chalkboards. Taking down the notes and transcribing them. I

There has been more emphasis on the creation of resources rather than the creation of learning experiences.

Using content and rich media. One animation, cost of multiple animations and economies of scale. What is best use of funding. Why redraw something if you can use the original.

Quality of resources, quality of lecturers. Are we prepared to keep paying 100times more for something. Universities .

Changing perceptions of student.

Fragmented practices.

Top down directives are needed.

Early days for us including elearning.

Change of universities.

Not as fast as what goes on around it.

Opening up our minds to Wikipedia at OER13

Pete and Sarah sharing their knowledge of Wikipedia (and their brown bag lunches) with us

Sarah and Pete sharing their Wikipedia knowledge (and their brown-bag lunches) with the POERUP team at OER13 (CC-BY)

Wikipedia and the OER community – natural bedfellows? One would think yes, but the reality is, according to Pete Forsyth and Sarah Frank Bristow of CommunicateOER, those of us who are involved in OER projects and programmes tend to play a very limited role in creating and editing Wikipedia articles. The focus of Pete and Sarah’s session today was to raise our awareness of the need for volunteers to improve the existing articles on OERs and related topics. See, for example, the entry on Open Educational Resources, which at the time of writing, has only the briefest statements on “Definition” and “Aspirations of the OER movement”.

One of the reasons for the lack of activity on Wikipedia may be that we feel a bit daunted by the Wiki markup technology that confronts us when we hit the “edit” button. CommunicateOER and the P2PU School of Open are offering a MOOC-type course at the moment, Writing Wikipedia Articles: The Basics and Beyond. It has just started, but is still open to anyone who wants to join in and is willing to catch up.