Open Scotland Follow Up

(Originally posted 23rd August 2013, http://lornamcampbell.wordpress.com/2013/08/23/open-scotland-follow-up/)

Yesterday Sheila and I met with colleagues from the ALT Scotland SIG, Jisc RSC Scotland and Cetis to start taking forward some of the actions we discussed at the Open Scotland Summit in Edinburgh at the end of June. You can find the Open Scotland Summit Report and Actions here: http://blogs.cetis.ac.uk/lmc/2013/07/04/open-scotland-report-and-actions/

One of the key actions was to establish a working group, similar to Wales and the Nordic countries, that can stimulate research in the area of open education and hopefully inform future Government initiatives. As several of the delegates who attended the Summit in June expressed an interest in on-going participation, there seems to be a real appetite for taking this forward. In the first instance we’ve agreed to set up an Open Scotland blog to provide the group with an identity and a platform to publish information, articles and commentary on all aspects of openness in education. We’ll also use the blog to link to other related groups, lists and initiatives e.g. the Open Knowledge Foundation, OER-Discuss, the Scottish Open Badges Group, etc. Unfortunately someone is sitting on the openscotland.wordpress.com domain so we’ve had to settle for openscot.wordpress.com. There’s nothing to see there at present, but we hope to have the site up and running by the end of September. Several colleagues have already offered to contribute posts on different aspects of openness and how these relate to education and education policy in Scotland. We also discussed setting up a mailing list to disseminate information but as there was some concern about the proliferation of mailing lists we thought we would try setting up a google group instead.

The second key action from the June summit was to draft a position paper providing evidence of the benefits of openness with examples of how these can impact on Government priorities. As a starting point for this activity we’ve agreed to look at the Scottish Funding Council’s Outcome Agreements for 2013 – 2014 and to highlight areas where different aspect of openness could have a positive impact on the outcome agreement criteria. Once we’ve done a first pass through the Outcome Agreement criteria, we’ll post the resulting draft in a public document that everyone will be welcome to comment on and contribute to. Hopefully this will help us to focus on real tangible benefits of open education policies and practices and demonstrate how these can help to address current strategic priorities and challenges.

Another activity we discussed is to take the 2012 OER Paris Declaration and to start identifying examples of practice, from Scotland and neighbouring countries, that address the ten key points outlined in the Declaration document. I’m also keen to develop some case studies about institutions that have developed open education policies, but that’s an activity that would require rather more resources than we have at our disposal at present.

We also discussed the possibility of future Open Scotland events and hope to be able to build on the success of the June Summit to broaden the debate further. In the short term we have a couple of dissemination opportunities coming up; Joe Wilson of SQA and I will be doing a short presentation on Open Scotland and the work of the ALT Scotland SIG at the Jisc RSC Scotland Joint Forum event on the 31st of October, and earlier in the month we’ll we presenting a paper “Open Scotland – Policies and strategies for opening up education in Scotland” at the Open and Flexible Higher Education Conference in Paris on the 24th- 25th October. (When I say “we” that means that we’re not sure who’ll actually be going along to do the presentation yet!)

If you’re interested in keeping up to date with Open Scotland, keep and eye on the #openscot hashtag and this blog in the interim, or feel free to contact any of those involved.

Phil Barker phil.barker@hw.ac.uk
Lorna M. Campbell lorna.m.campbell@icloud.com
Linda Creanor l.creanor@gcal.ac.uk
Sheila MacNeill sheilamacneill@me.com
Celeste McLaughlin celeste.mclaughlin@glasgow.ac.uk
Joe Wilson joe.wilson@sqa.org.uk

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