The Open Scotland Blog has moved to:
Please visit the new blog for news and updates about open education activities and events in Scotland.
One of the primary deliverables we agreed to produce following the Open Scotland Summit held in Edinburgh last year, was a declaration supporting open education in Scotland based on the UNESCO Paris OER Declaration. There was general agreement that the Paris Declaration was a “good thing” however many participants felt it was too focused on OER and that a Scottish declaration should encompass open education more widely. The result is the Scottish Open Education Declaration, a draft statement adapted from the Paris OER Declaration.
In order to coincide with Open Education Week, the first draft of the Scottish Open Education Declaration has been shared online using the CommentPress application to enable all members of the community to add comments and feedback. We invite all those with an interest in open education in Scotland to comment on and contribute to this draft and to encourage their colleagues to join the debate.
In addition to adapting the Paris OER Declaration, colleagues at the Open Scotland Summit also suggested that it would be beneficial to develop a grid of the Declaration’s statements, which stakeholders could fill in to provide contextualisation and evidence of the statements in action. This will be the next step forward, but first we would encourage the community to contribute to shaping the draft declaration so we can reach a consensus on open education principles that will benefit all sectors of Scottish education.
The University of Stirling will host a one day research symposium on online collaborative knowledge building on Wednesday 19th March. Further details are available here: What I Know Is
Dogma concerning the use of the Wikipedia has, for many of us working in Higher Education, tended to dictate a lukewarm and grudging acknowledgement of its existence at best; at worst, a belief that any and all uses of it ought to be expunged from academia forever. This attitude to the Wikipedia, and its umbrella organisation in the UK, Wikimedia UK, has in recent years mellowed and in some disciplinary circles it has now been appropriated as a tool for Learning and Teaching.
The gravity of this sea-change is such that Wikimedia UK has been involved with partnering influential AHRC initiatives such as the British Library’s Wikipedian-in-residence (2012) and a similar scheme has been set up at the National Library of Scotland. With two major EduWiki national conferences in the last two years, and a handful of smaller, themed events, it is now timely to reassess the Wikipedia and other online sites not only as pedagogical tools, but also as platforms where knowledge is built, shared and transformed; sites and objects for analysis, critical engagement, as well as philosophical debate.
This event takes the Wikipedia (the most popular amongst other wikis) and inquires as to its status as a platform for collaborative online knowledge-building. As such, it is but one of a number of examples where online communities of trust and participation have formed their own cultural protocols and have led to all manner of creative user generated content; the building, sharing and transformation of knowledge; and even political engagement, within a broader context of social structures of freedom, expression, agency and public-mindedness. Such broadly civic values, associated in part with stripes of Western liberal tradition, arguably have at their heart an ethical dimension which engenders (or at least, seeks to engender) a more robust digital literacy than perhaps that which has come to shape policy-making and Web ownership in the last few years.
As such, it is with pleasure that the Division of Communications, Media and Culture brings together speakers from a range of disciplines, with a range of interests, from within the School of Arts and Humanities, and from across the UK, to share their work addressing different dimensions of these knowledge-building activities. It is hoped that in engaging with and sharing the various philosophical and interdisciplinary strands of research included in the symposium’s speaker-respondent structure, we will gain some insights into the true value of these online collaborations.
- Lorna Campbell on Open Learning (Cetis /Open Scotland/Open Knowledge Foundation)
- Dr Zoe Drayson on Extended Cognition and Agency (University of Stirling)
- Dr Padmini Ray Murray on the future of publishing (University of Stirling)
- Dr Toni Sant on Collaborative Learning and Teaching (University of Hull/WMUK Academic Liaison)
- Dr Greg Singh (University of Stirling, Symposium Chair)
- Dr Penny Travlou on Networked Communities, Creativity and Spatiality (University of Edinburgh)
- Professor Mike Wheeler on Extended Cognition (University of Stirling)
- Dr Alison Crockford on Open Access (University of Edinburgh/National Library of Scotland)
- Marc Garrett (Furtherfield)
Jisc RSC Scotland’s Grainne Hamilton will host a online lunchtime seminar at 12.30 tomorrow, 19th Feb, on Open Badges in Scottish education. The seminar is free to all, further details are available here RSCtv: Open Badges
A new infrastructure for enabling the digital accreditation of learning, Mozilla’s Open Badge Infrastructure is well-placed for recognizing 21st century skills as well as unlocking career and educational opportunities. Grainne Hamilton will introduce the concept of Open Badges, covering how they could enhance current accreditation and how people are using Open Badges in Scotland. Grainne will go into some principles of effective Open Badge design and discuss tools to aid Open Badge development. By the end of the session, participants will have gained a basic understanding of the Open Badge Infrastructure, how Open Badge design can be approached and have had the opportunity to ask questions about Open Badges.
Target audience: Anyone interested in Open Badges
Price: Free Event
Closing Date: Tue, 18 February 2014
Register: RSCtv Open Badges registration
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!
A guest post from Graeme Arnott on WIkimedia UK‘s activities in Scotland.
When I first discussed the idea of a retrospective of Wikimedia in Scotland’s activities in 2013 I thought that I would probably say something about a year that saw Dr. Ally Crockford take up the first Wikimedian-in-Residence role in Scotland at the National Library of Scotland, and maybe something about the success of the Women in Science editathon that was run in conjunction with the MRC and supported by the Royal Society of Edinburgh. I also thought that I could say something about the successful first meetup of Wikimedians in Glasgow and the recommencement of meetups in Edinburgh, or the amazing experience of coordinating Scottish Women on Wikipedia with Glasgow Women’s Library (#SWoW). I also thought that I’d write about the pleasure of being asked to speak at EduWiki 2013 in Cardiff, mostly on the subject of Open Badges, and being even more thrilled when the OBSEG members’ Open Badge appeared on a slide in one of the following day’s presentations. When I started putting ideas together I fondly remembered the sheer enthusiasm of the the first librarycamp in Scotland which resulted in proposals to work with CILIPS MmIT, Glasgow School of Art and the Mitchell Library respectively. However, that was last year and instead I thought I’d take the opportunity to look ahead at what’s happening in 2014.
The relationship between Glasgow School of Art and Wikimedia UK has developed really well over the last few weeks in no small part to the hard work of their SCONUL Graduate Trainee Librarian, Delphine Dallison. In November 2013 Ally and myself provided some skills training in December for librarians and archivists and what’s been really satisfying about this project is the way that the staff have really got excited about editing the encyclopaedia. Duncan’s initial editing has seen an increase in the amount of information added to the article about the designer Talwin Morris, whilst David has done some really splendid work developing the list of Scottish architects as well as expanding the article on the Scottish architect James Miller. What I found really quite interesting about David’s work was the amount of effort he put into increasing the number of photographs of Miller’s buildings on the article, and not just into Wikimedia Commons. It’s going to be really interesting working with the GSofA peeps to see how they work with or against the encyclopaedia’s logocentrism. Delphine’s first blog post on her Adventures in Wikipedia is here.
After the success of the library and archive training session word got around, and in late December I met with Dr Robyne Erica Calvert of the school’s Forum of Critical Inquiry (FoCI). We roughly sketched out an idea for her second year undergraduate module, Glasgow Architects, that would see the twenty-one students improve the article on Wikipedia of their chosen architect or Glasgow building. Since then I’ve provided the students with an initial overview of Wikipedia, and in particular it’s writing conventions. The initial project idea was that the students would use their GSA assessment as a means to develop and improve the respective Wikipedia articles, but as the project’s developed we seem to be moving towards a more critical analysis of Wikipedia as a source and how it constructs the legitimacy of its content. This eight week long module has generated Wiki-interest amongst other FoCI staff and we are in the process of arranging a workshop to discuss how the Wikimedia projects can be integrated into the Forum’s teaching and learning. Robyne and David will be speaking at the next Open Knowledge Foundation Scotland meetup (#OpenDataGLA) in the Club Room of the CCA, Sauchiehall St. Glasgow on 3rd February from 6.30pm onwards.
In late January (22-01-14), Stevie Benton, the Head of External Relations at Wikimedia UK, spoke at the Edinburgh community meetup of the Open Knowledge Foundation Scotland, (#OpenDataEDB). Stevie spoke about the plans for the Open Coalition and his hope that the employment of a WMUK funded Project Co-ordinator’s position will further cement the good relations established between different open communities that took shape at Mozfest in London in October 2013.
The Open Coalition chimes nicely with Wikimedia in Scotland’s close association with the local Scottish grouping of the Open Knowledge Foundation: Ally introduced herself as the WiR at an Edinburgh meeting and in early December I was joined by Anabel Marsh to give a lightning talk on the Scottish Women on a Wikipedia project. Anabel and myself later got into a discussion with Dele Adeyemo, from the wonderfully named Perfect Pidgin, about a possible collaboration involving the Asian community in Pollokshaws that we were hoping to do in January but it’s been postponed until sometime later in the year.
Our January activities came to a head on the 25th of January with our ‘Anybody but Burns‘ Scottish poetry editathon that was held in conjunction with the Scottish Poetry Library and the NLS. This editathon was actually born during the BCS’ Women in Computing editathon back in November: Ally was on her soapbox about Robert Fergusson and I was punning on the names of poems, and between us we came up with the idea of a poetry event to improve any article related to Scottish poetry, except for ones that related to Robert Burns. I think we were all a bit taken by surprise to learn that there are roughly three-hundred and fifty Scottish poets listed on Wikipedia. The event had been described in The List as the most eccentric Burns event and The Telegraph had kindly listed us as one of the top-ten Burns events to attend. It was an absolutely miserable day in Edinburgh which I imagine might have prevented some people from attending. Still, about fifteen people turned up, some of whom had never edited before; by the end of the day new articles were created and existing articles expanded, tidied up and improved. There was a really friendly atmosphere at the event and I hope it turns into something we repeat.
One of the current features of Wikimedia in Scotland that needs to be challenged is its M8-centricness. This is hopefully forgiveable, given that Ally and I live at opposite ends of the M8; but we know we need to reach out to both the north and south of Scotland, and to the Uicipeid na Gàidhlig and Scots Wikipædia communities too. Hopefully the training sessions that we’re currently arranging – one for lecturers at UHI Inverness College, and one for staff at JISC Scotland – in February or March will start to help in this process. The training at UHI Inverness College in particular will act as a precursor to the use of the Wikimedia projects by the college’s students. In addition, there has been a request from students at Dundee University to form a student’s society. In February, Ally and myself have also agreed to do a joint webinar with CILIPS MmIT, although no firm date has yet been arranged for this, and one of the projects that Ally in particular is keen to see develop is a recorded training session supported by JISC which could be circulated online throughout regional JISC offices and made public on Wikimedia Commons.
I first met Dr. Greg Singh at EduWiki 2013 in Cardiff when he gave a cracking talk that ranged from Andrew Keen to Adorno and Horkheimer to Michael J. Sandel. Wikipedia’s institutionalised gender bias had often been the topic of our conversations, and Greg’s lingering question as to what makes a good wiki is one that seemed to go directly to the heart of the matter. Users of Wikipedia will undoubtedly be familiar with stub articles and that these are generally regarded as poor in quality and/or lacking relevant material. Whilst in one sense stubification can be seen as a straightforward administrative process of classification, its application to articles of women who have been anonymised by the culture of their time can make it seem like the encyclopaedic equivalent of “You’re not worthy” – more of a snub than a stub. Greg is based at Stirling University where he is organising a one-day Wiki-themed symposium to be held there on 19th March. Ally will be speaking about digital publishing and open access, building on her own academic projects as well as her work with Wikimedia UK, and the programme also boasts as speakers Lorna Campbell from Open Scotland, Wikimedia UK’s Academic Liaison Dr. Tony Sant, and Wikimedia UK board member Dr. Padmini Ray Murray from the University of Stirling. More details will be confirmed on the meta-wiki Events page.
Perhaps one of the most striking and unexpected results of the NLS’s Wikimedian in Residence programme has been the intense amount of interest generated across the IS sector and cultural organisations more generally. On February 27-28, Ally has been invited to speak at the prestigious Edge Conference, hosted by the Edinburgh City Libraries. Speakers and delegates alike span diverse career fields, spanning council managers, Library services, and corporate directors. A similar audience will be courted by the Special Libraries Association during a Wikimedia-centred event to be held at the National Library of Scotland in early March. These events offer the opportunity to introduce organisations outside of the NLS in particular and libraries more generally to the possibility and benefit of working alongside the Wikimedia Foundation. That these talks are being delivered in Scotland will undoubtedly have a significant impact in increasing the presence of Wikimedia events and other collaborations across the country.
The considerable change from 2013 into this year is the way that events now seem to be a consequence of a request from a group/organisation rather than something Ally or myself have pitched to the group. Ally has received requests from two groups for March edit-a-thons that fit with the Women who Shaped Scotland theme which forms part of the Residency’s focus. These are the Feminist Art group at the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design in Dundee, and the BSCWomen who are keen to do a follow up event on the subject of women-in-science.
Plans are also in place to take part in and support the joint Open Knowledge Foundation Scotland, OpenStreetMap, National Library of Scotland and Open Glasgow/Future Cities Demonstrator at Datafest Scotland 2014 to be held in the University of Glasgow on the 12th, 13th and 14th of June this year. One of the exciting ideas that we’re currently working on is the means by which Wikipedia could (will) become the portal of choice for accessing geo-specific open data. The conference will be a mixture of speakers, training events and workshops. More details to follow. Ally’s piece for Post magazine on opening the National Library can be read here.
In all these areas, our goal is to develop the Wikimedia community in a Scotland and to enrich the projects by reaching out to the widest and most diverse range of people. You can keep up to date with Wikemedia in Scotland’s projects and events by signing up to the #ScotWiki mailing list by following this link. We hope to see you at an event soon!
Graeme Arnott is a Training Officer with the Scottish Electrical Charitable Training Trust (SECTT) and manages the Scottish Joint Industry Board‘s (SJIB) Adult Training Scheme. He’s a member of Wikimedia UK, and a Community Coordinator with OKF Scotland.
“We broadly support open licences and OER and need a serious public debate on this issue.”
~Michael Russell, MSP
This was the Minister for Education’s response to a question I put to him earlier today regarding Scottish Government support for open education policy and open licences for publicly funded educational resources in order to benefit learners, not just within Scotland, but internationally. The Minister was speaking at the Future of Higher Education In Scotland and the UK event in Edinburgh, organised by the ESRC Fellowship Project: Higher Education, the Devolution Settlement and the Referendum on Independence.
In a wide-ranging speech outlining the Scottish Government’s vision of higher education in an independent Scotland, Russell stated that we need an education sector that can meet the challenge of new technological advancement and institutions that can fully explore the potential of new technologies for learning. MOOCs and OER have great potential to form new pathways to learning, to widen participation and promote a culture of collaborative development and reuse. Consequently a core group supported by SFC has been established to look at the benefits of OER and promote online learning resources produced by Scottish universities. This group is composed of the Open University and the Universities of Edinburgh, Glasgow and Strathclyde; UHI may also have a role to play.
While it’s hugely encouraging to hear the Minister for Education acknowledging the importance, not just of the inevitable MOOCs, but of OER and open education more generally, I have some concerns that with such a narrow group of stakeholders involved in the core group, the scope of the debate might fail to encompass the wider benefits of open education to the Scottish sector as a whole. Open education policies and practice have the potential to benefit teachers and learner right across the sector, in schools, colleges and universities, in formal and informal learning scenarios, and to support life long learning right across the board.
As yet, no further details have been released regarding the nature of the core group activities and the level of SFC investment, so we will continue to watch these developments with interest.
ETA A summary transcript of Russell’s speech has been made available by the Scottish Government here. The relevant paragraphs relating to open education are as follows:
“I am very encouraged by the potential of massive open online courses – short courses delivered online that can be taken by anyone, anywhere. Of course, we must ensure quality of provision, however, free resources such as these have great potential to provide pathways to formal learning and widen participation in higher education.
“That is why I have indicated to the Scottish Funding Council that, in supporting this new work, they should facilitate the best open practice in Scotland and enhance the sector’s capacity and reputation for developing publicly available online learning materials.
“It is a very exciting prospect that a student anywhere in the world can access materials presented by world-class academics working in world class Scottish universities.
Martin Hawksey has made a twitter archive of the event hashtag available here: #HEScot and all papers from the event have now been uploaded here: Seminar 3: The future of higher education in Scotland and the UK.
A thought provoking addition to the Open Scotland debate by Graeme Arnott.
Graeme is a Training Officer with the Scottish Electrical Charitable Training Trust (SECTT) and manages the Scottish Joint Industry Board‘s (SJIB) Adult Training Scheme. He’s a member of Wikimedia UK, and a Community Coordinator with OKF Scotland.
Following a talk on Open Scotland which SQA’s Joe Wilson and I presented at the JISC RSC Joint Forum on Open Education in Edinburgh last November, Graeme Arnnot has posted a reply called “funding, if”. In a challenging and thought provoking response, Graeme explores some of the real world barriers, including the perceived threat of “the other”, that prevent colleagues, particularly in the FE sector, from sharing and opening access to their resources. Graeme begins by quoting two anonymous college lecturers:
1. I get ‘open’, I really do…but why should I share anything when the enemy down the road gives fuck all?
2. I would, but that would mean asking other members of staff for their packs,… and they wouldn’t like that
Graeme suggest that to some extent this attitude demonstrates
…not just how deeply the institutions had embodied that ideology of Thatcherite competition, but also how effectively that rivalrous structure has, in turn, been internalised by their staff members.
In response to Martin Weller’s assertion that the battle for open has already been won and that the real battle will now determine the future narrative of open, Graeme argues that if the battle has been won, it has
…it has been won elsewhere, and the battle to define open is being fought elsewhere. In other words, the opinion of the Scottish educational sector won’t be heard because we aren’t present on the battlefield.
However Graeme also highlights some positive developments, including the Glasgow Future City project and the recent Norwegian Government report on massive open online courses, which could have an impact on encouraging the development of policy that will help to “put in place the practices that make sharing spontaneous.”
Graeme echoes Creative Commons’ Cable Green, in suggesting that public money should only be awarded to educational institutions that adopt open practices that are genuinely beneficial to the public. In conclusion, Graeme argues that changing the nature of institutional funding could have a significant impact on encouraging openness and proposes adapting some of the key points outlined by the Nordic OER Alliance as follows:
Scottish FE institutions could continue to receive
- funding, if they invest in improving the level of digital literacies of their staff which makes openness possible;
- funding, if their staff make available top quality open educational resources;
- funding, if they develop the infrastructure and pedagogy of online learning
- funding, if the public derives benefit from their MOOC
I’d encourage you to read the full text of this important contribution to the open education debate in Scotland on Graeme’s own blog here: http://postmodeblog.wordpress.com/2014/01/03/opening-scotland_funding_if/
Earlier this week the Nordic OER Alliance announced that the Norwegian Government has published its first governmental report on MOOCs and the role of OER: Norwegian MOOC report: Tilrår satsing på OER!
Although the report is in Norwegian, the recommendations have helpfully been translated into English by Tore Hoel, and are copied below. Even without being able to read the entire report, it’s very encouraging to see a national government recommending further investment in innovative pedagogies, teacher and learner support and infrastructure development for technology supported learning. Amongst other recommendations, the Committee has recommended the allocation of a 15 million NOK annual grant for “research-based knowledge development and transfer of knowledge related to learning analytics”. Perhaps more significantly the Committee has also recommended a further 10 million NOK to be allocated to “pursue further development of digital literacy among staff in the higher education sector”. Enlightened thinking indeed. Additional funding has also been recommended for education technology infrastructure development in general and MOOC infrastructure in particular. The report also covers accreditation and recognition, but does not recommend a radical overhall of the current system.
The publication of the Norwegian Government’s MOOC report, comes hot on the heels of reports in the tech press earlier this month that the National Library of Norway is planning to digitise all the books in its holdings within 15 years. While the essence of this story is true, the NLN is a legal deposit library, and it does have a policy to digitise its entire collection over the course of 20 – 30 years, the initiative has actually been running since 2006, but seems to have come to the attention of the US press only recently. That aside, it’s an admirable and ambitious initiative which, together with the Government MOOC report, speaks volumes about Norway’s commitment to openness.
Nordic OER: http://nordicoer.org/
Government MOOC Report: http://khrono.no/sites/khrono.no/files/moocutvalget_delrapport_1_13122013.pdf
National Library of Norway – Digitization Policy: http://www.nb.no/English/The-Digital-Library/Digitizing-policy
National Library of Norway – What is being digitized?: http://www.nb.no/English/The-Digital-Library/What-is-being-digitized
Chap. 6.2 Innovative pedagogy and quality
The Committee recommends a systematic focus on research-based knowledge development about ICT and learning.
The Committee recommends the establishment of an environment for research-based knowledge development and transfer of knowledge related to learning analytics in 2015 with an annual grant of 15 million NOK. Structure and shape must be considered in relation to current participants and funding agencies.
The Committee believes that the higher education sector has limited use of incentives at the individual level associated with the development of teaching. This does not work stimulating and motivating to adopt new technologies and new forms of learning. The Committee therefore recommends that the operative environment in general and incentives for the educational area are reviewed, both at the individual, institutional and national level. These must be connected together and clearly have the same effect.
The Committee recommends that the allocation of funding to pursue further development of digital literacy among staff in the higher education sector. The Commission proposes to allocate NOK 10 million.
The Mooc Committee recommends that the ministry appointed committee to assess competencies outside the formal education system also considers expertise developed through Mooc deal with exams and credits.
Chap. 6.3 Infrastructure for Mooc and other digital learning
The Committee believes there is a need to continue and increase national spending on technology infrastructure. The Commission proposes to increase funding for further infrastructure development for online education in general with 10 million annually and 10 million annually to develop new infrastructure for Mooc deals specifically.
The Committee recommends that there be further assessed whether it is appropriate to have a common national Mooc portal or alternative solutions are better.
Chap. 6.4 Trade and labor market skills needs
The Committee recommends that business and industry sector uses Mooc and similar offerings in skill development of the employees.
There is appropriated 10 million to further education of teachers using Mooc and similar offers. The Committee recommends that there be an additional 10 million to develop and gain experience with the use of Mooc and similar offerings in continuing education within other relevant educational fields.
Chap. 6.5 Mooc that part of the Norwegian degree system: accreditation and recognition of Mooc deals
The Committee believes that Mooc not necessitate a change of the Norwegian regulations for accreditation and recognition of subjects and topics to be included in a degree system. Mooc exams and credits from both Norwegian and foreign institutions may naturally be part of this system as it is today.
The Committee recommends that institutions utilize the room for maneuver which lies in the administration of the rules for crediting of subjects and topics to be included in a degree system, by facilitating better and smoother practices across Norwegian institutions.
The Committee recommends an assessment of whether current practices are appropriate and what can be done to strengthen the institutions’ utilization of leeway inherent in the current rules for crediting of subjects and topics to be included in a degree system.
The Committee recommends trial of admission to Mooc offerings at Norwegian institutions for applicants who do not meet the traditional requirements for admission to higher education.
Chap. 06.06 Copayment and the principle of free higher education
The Committee believes that Mooc offerings in Norway in the first place should be free.
The Committee recommends that the Ministry is undertaking a review of the rules for personal payments to institutions opportunities to claim fees for parts of a group of participants will be made clear.
Chap. 6.7 Educational support
The Committee recommends that considered whether to grant educational support to learners in Mooc and similar offers with flexible workload and duration. With similar offerings means other forms of online promotions or offers that combine online and campus education.
The Committee believes that Mooc and similar offerings outside Norway and the EU / EEA area should be considered to provide the basis for educational support.
The committee believes that the assessments of changes in education funding scheme also must asses the impact on foreign students.
Chap. 6.8 Funding of higher education
The Committee recommends that the funding system should facilitate incentives or arrangements which support the cooperation between the institutions on the development and supply of Mooc and similar offers, such as flexible ways to share the benefit of credit production.
The Committee recommends considering the introduction of an incentive for education relevance in the funding system. Cooperation between educational institutions and actors in the labor sector on Mooc and similar offers can be an indicator of such relevance.
The Committee recommends that there be annual allocation within the strategic assets of the funding, to support the development of educational content and the development of technological infrastructure for Mooc and similar offers.
Earlier this week I was invited by Jisc RSC Scotland to attend their Open Education Joint Forum which took place at the Informatics Forum at the University of Edinburgh. It was a very well attended event that featured a packed programme of thought provoking and engaging presentations that highlighted a range of really inspiring open education developments. I’ve put together a storify of the event’s lively twitter back channel here and links to all the presentations are available from Jisc RSC Scotland here.
Lorna M Campbell, Cetis and Joe Wilson, SQA
I kicked of the event with a short overview of the Open Scotland before passing over to Joe who challenged the audience to share their educational resources, before talking about about the benefits of openness and calling for changing mindsets around Open Education. Joe also reminded us that there is a real strength in Scottish education, we have dedicated and talented teaching staff and by opening up education they can shine for learning.
Martin Hawksey, ALT
Martin Hawksey, my former Cetis colleague, now with ALT, gave an inspiring presentation that placed MOOCs in the historical context of technology innovation and asked if we are now in danger of promoting a dogmatic approach to programming and technology innovation. Martin revisited Doug Englebart’s “Mother of All Demos” which, among many other innovations, demonstrated screen sharing and videoconferencing as far back as 1968. In education we have a tendency to get stuck in particular ways of doing things, both students and teachers have specific expectations and can be very resistant to change.
Martin highlighted some of the tools, services, platforms and applications that can be employed to deliver MOOCs. He also reminded us that every letter of MOOC is negotiable and suggested that the issue of MOOC completion rates is irrelevant. Open or closed is not a binary thing, but there are huge benefits to moving towards more openness. Martin concluded by telling is all that “openness is about feeling warm inside” and that we should all “ride the waves of innovation to a more open, more relevant style of education’. Martin has written a an excellent blog post about his presentation which you can read here: Taking on the dogmatic approach to education with a bit of ‘reclaim open digital connectedness’.
Garry Cameron, Scotland’s Colleges, Jackie Graham and Sarah Currier, Mimas
Gerry spoke about the need to change hearts and minds to use and develop open educational resources and called for a clear statement and a decisive stance on open educational resources from Scottish Government. Scotland’s Colleges committed to releasing resources under Creative Commons licences.
Re:Source is an OER repository for Scotland’s colleges. The open platform is here and could be used by many across the Scottish education sector but policy drivers needed. Jisc RSc Scotland is collaborating with Scotland’s Colleges to work ona way forward. Librarians also have a crucial role to play in developing open repositories within Scotland’s colleges. Jackie Graham went on to demonstrate the Re:Source repository before handing over to Sarah Currier who spoke about the Jorum repository which powers Re:Source.
Julie Usher, Blackboard
Julie Usher began by highlighting the potential of OERs but suggested that they can be hard to find; how do you fin and evaluate OERs, link them to curricula, including assessments. To address this problem Blackboard have developed the xpLor content repository. xpLor supports OER discover and allows content to be pulled directly into Blackboard courses. Creative Commons is baked into xpLor repository so content can be exported with CC licenses.
Grainne Hamilton, Jisc RSC Scotland
Open badges are a form of digital accreditation that can be displayed online. Badges are like coats of arms, they are images that contain information and have meaning beyond the visual. Open Badges incentivise informal, formal and work based education and break learning into manageable chunks. The Open Badges in Scottish Education Group (OBSEG), which is supported by Jisc RSC Scotland, has set up three sub-groups focusing on Learner Progress, Technology and Design and Staff Development.