Tuesday, 16 October 2012

OpenEd 2012 and the ORIOLE Survey Remixathon

It is Day 1 of the OpenEd 2012 conference here in Vancouver (yes, I know I am very lucky to be part of this). ORIOLE is pitching in on two of the events this time. Later today it is literally a pitch - at the Pitchfest. 5 mins to talk about the resue cards (wish me luck) which have recently gone into a 3rd (special for OpenEd 2012) edition, taking on board some user feedback from Anna Comas-Quinn, Tita Beaven, Bea de los Archos and others.

But the real excitement is the Remixathon - an interesting ideas to try to get audience involvement at this conference. I am offering for remix the ORIOLE survey. This, some of you may know, remixed some earlier survey ideas from the learning objects era (CD-LOR and Rights and Rewards were particular project influences). In turn the ORIOLE survey has been looked at by other researchers and questions adapted from it for work by Marion Manton at Oxford for OERSesame and also by Sandhya Gunness (Mauritius) for her OLNET project activity. The data is open and is being released more widely at this conference, but the remix proposal relates to both the design and the data. What could be done with either/both and how could this help inform the design of a better, more relevant and more international survey for Autumn 2012. You don't have to be here in Vancouver to have your say. I am particularly interested in hearing from and working with those who have surveys in storage, progress or pipeline and would like to compare. Let's try and collaborate.

If you have a question that is burning a hole in your brain - you really think that this should be added and you have not seen it yet - then comment below or email me.

There is an ORIOLE Remixathon Google site set up and in progress for the OpenEd 2012 event so please come and look and let  me know what I am missing (repeat: it is a work in progress so will fill out as the conference progresses and beyond).

I am also proposing to use the ORIOLE mailing list (been there some time but mothballed for a while) to help share analysis of the survey and development of further ORIOLE items such as the cards. So join this as http://jiscmail.ac.uk/oriole if you would like to be more involved in that sort of discussion into the future.

Sure is lots to discuss. Time to go conferencing now ...

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Stairways as a metaphor for OER engagement

Today I ran a workshop with some fantastic OER colleages (Suzanne Hardy, Alannah Fitzgerald and Joanna Wild) to explore where different stakeholders stand (or sit) within an idealised stairway. I've been asked to share the activity cards and the information so here is:

Link to slides (simple explanation of activity)
Link to download of Powerpoint cards to print out.

Thanks to Xpert for the wonderful photos of stairways that inspired some very creative conversations.

Joanna Wild also talked about her ladder methodology. 
Download her full research report from:
or for a quick overview download a summary presentation from:

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Using the reuse cards

I delighted that Gema Santos of Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (Open University of Catalonia) will be joining me on the ORIOLE team to take forward some of her doctoral research and work with ORIOLE and LORO projects from October to December 2012.

Gema is pictured here on a visit to the OU following OER12. We look forward to learning more about attitudes and practices related to OER use/reuse and sharing these with you. Gema has recently also spent time investigating OER at the Unversity of Michigan.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

UNESCO speaks (draft declaration looking pretty good)

There was a big meeting at UNESCO in Paris last week which spawned a daft declaration about OER and celebrated/reflected on the ten years since UNESCO started its OER activity. I was not there, but did a short(ish) unsolicited personal take for the OER-DISCUSS mailing list.

As Gabi Witthaus has asked to Scoop.it and because the declaration is a PDF (so not easy for Scoops) here is the gist. It is not informed by the ins/outs and cut/thrust of discussion. So if you were there so if you have comments/insights please share.

The declaration has been warmly welcomed and is clearly well-honed and both positive and inclusive. Scroll to the bottom of this post for the link. Or this is my 'take'. The declaration:

  1. Locates OER within a wider range of aspirations about education by reminding of a number of international declarations with relevance to OER or which it supports, e.g.:'The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 26.1), which states that: “Everyone has the right to education' and note that OER promotes the aims of these international statements.
  2. Emphasises use of the UNESCO 2002 definition: 'teaching, learning and research materials in any medium, digital or otherwise, that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license that permits no-cost access, use, adaptation and redistribution by others with no or limited restrictions. Open licensing is built within the existing framework of intellectual property rights as defined by relevant international conventions and respects the authorship of the work'. I find this quite long as a definition and it reminds me of the reusable learning object IEEE definition (so anything used for education/research in the public domain or with an open license). I presume it has not shortened on this occasion as, ten years on, some people still won't know what open licensing is.
  3. Specifically recalls existing Declarations and Guidelines on Open Educational Resources such as the 2007 Cape Town Open Education Declaration, 2009 Dakar Declaration on OER and the 2011 Commonwealth of Learning and UNESCO Guidelines on OER in HE.
  4. Recommends that 'States':

    a) Foster awareness and use of OER to widen access, improve cost-efficiencies and quality of teaching/learning outcomes. (If I were wishing for the world here I would ask that we consider that OER also helps with creativity, something for teachers to warm to).

    b) Facilitate enabling environments for use of ICT. This is a very wide-ranging aspiration from improving 'media and information literacy' to reliable power supplies and broadband. Mobile activity is specifically mentioned.

    c) Reinforce the development of strategies and policies on OER. This one (frankly) worries me a little. It talks of 'Promoting the development of specific policies for the production and use of OER within wider strategies for advancing education'. Fine if these are enabling, but could they also be (unintentionally) restricting?

    d) Promote the understanding and use of open licensing frameworks 'while respecting the rights of any copyright holder'. I'd be happier with 'respecting copyright' not sure what the distinction is between this and 'the rights of any copyright holder' is and concerned that not every rights holder is entirely rational (my experience), but I am happy that its 'rights' and not 'wishes'.

    e) Support capacity building for sustainable development of quality learning materials. Personally I like this one a lot as its about developing staff 'taking into account local needs and the full diversity of learners' however it also reaches into the trickier areas of promoting quality assurance/peer review and into assessment/creditation. So very ambitious and directly reflecting current community concerns (I feel).

    f) Foster strategic alliances for OER

    g) Encourage the development and adaptation of OER in a variety of languages and cultural contexts. Note that this talks of favouring production/use of OER in local languages.

    h) Encourage research on OER. No surprises here about the areas and all good (my opinion). Like specifically that one area is 're-contextualisation of OER'. Initiatives like Bridge2Success is one project that currently points at this even within English language resources reused UK to US, as does previous work in sharing RLOs. Re-contextualisation is not that easy to do (see also item e.).

    i) Facilitate finding, retrieving and sharing of OER. Open standards and user-friendly tools as you would expect.

    j) Encourage the open licensing of educational materials produced with public funds. Yes! As with e) this one is one which I am particularly happy to see. But I note that the phrasing is much gentler (more informercial than a) to i): 'Governments/competent authorities can create substantial benefits for their citizens by ensuring that educational materials developed with public funds be made available under open licenses (with any restrictions they deem necessary) in order to maximize the impact of the investment.'
So all good and sound and no unwelcome surprises. This is the DRAFT, so it may change but it seems to all good (to me) and I hope will be listened to. The full version is at:


What will come out of this?

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Promise and practice in OER: The need to move forward together

Tomorrow I head off for the joint OER12/OCWC conference at Cambridge. I am looking forward to hearing a mix of views on what it will take to continue and build the momentum of the OER movement. OpenEd 2011 was a fabulous event and as someone based in the UK it drew my attention to a new perspective on open education, particularly away from HE and into schools. There has been heartening news over recent weeks of regional and sector push towards openness, including in US schools as a result of pioneering work by David Wiley and others and the announcement last week from the World Bank about research.Next week's conference promises to offer an international mix of experiences to mine and learn from.

My own session is a short demo called 'Cartoons and Card Tricks'. At OER11 I unleashed v.1 of the reuse cards and its been great to hear how people have used these cards in the past year as a medium for exchanging views with novices to OER, to open up discussion and hopefully open eyes to the potential of sharing and using OER. The cards have travelled from seminar rooms and conferences to less formal venues - bars and dinner parties. They recently did a little detour to EUROCALL in Italy last month with Anna Comas-Quinn. Feel free to reuse, translate and adapt the cards yourself. The idea of reusing cards about reuse must make sense. I've spruced them up for OER12 and spring-cleaned the shop (see link above) a little.

One of the resources added is a new cartoon from Steve Davies, formulated as a worksheet but adaptable as you wish. It looks at the axis between promise and practice in OER activity. This one of the ideas behind the ORIOLE project. Practitioners have a lot to learn about the promise of OER, if they can find the time to look around. However those looking to the future, to the promise of OER and  increasingly open landscapes, or trying to formulate policy based on this new future, can learn from noting what practitioners need, what they use, and how they use it.This latest cartoon asks you to consider what your perspective is, promise- or practice-heavy, light, or balanced. Perhaps we need more emphasis on promise at this stage to capture the imagination, but if so when does the balance need to shift? The cards and the cartoons are trying to test how this might be achieved as gaining ground in the hearts and heads of practitioners becomes important to maintain the movement that we are all engaged in.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Open Education Week (March 5-10 and all year round)

5-10 March 2012 is the very first Open Education week. A great idea and the Open Education Week website list of webinars and events offers an amazing, exciting, heart-warming menu of happenings to celebrate and draw attention to what Open Education is. There is certainly a lot of open education going on. [Pause for thought]. 
There has been lots going on in the run up to open education week, interesting announcements about success in securing OER K-12 legislation in Washington State, OERu activity, a very visual cc-by licensed UNESCO-initiated logo for OER that works in countries where the words 'open education resources' don't mean the same as we think they mean (translations here). All evidence of hard work by lots of people over a long period. [Pause for applause well earned].

There will be lots of open education going on AFTER open education week. [Hooray!] Looking at the list of webinars. There will be one starting shortly, (featuring Patrick McAndrew, Martin Weller and Sandra Wills and organised by University of Leicester's TOUCAN project (I will be there) which will link to archived recording as well as being live.
The great thing about Open Education week is that it draws attention to the great openness that is happening all the time and all around. There will be sharing beyond this week. The resources, ideas and initiatives shared now will be used and referred to in the future by people who don't yet know what open education is all about. That is the great thing about open ed. Its out there, its in the air. Definitely something to celebrate and spread the word about. Perhaps think of what you can do this week that would be special and new for you (or someone else). Tell someone about open education who really does not have a clue. Sign up for a commitment to carry on with open ed after this week (SCORE has a nice simple resolution, and the OER Cape Town Declaration cannot fail to inspire).

A slogan comes to mind here that will be familiar to people in the UK: 'A dog is for life and not just for Christmas'. Well, open education is for life, beyond this week and beyond the people who are engaging in it this week. Open education is for life.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Happy New Year and thanks (again) for help with the survey

Happy New Year (this was supposed to be an end of year round up message but you know how these things go. ORIOLE plans to be a tad more lively in the next few months and I hope to catch up with people face-to-face at the OCWC/OER11 conference in Cambridge (UK) in March. I'll be demonstrating some of the outputs from ORIOLE there and have just been co-opted with Tim Seal (SCORE) to help plan a post-conference event at the OU on the 19th (i.e. the following day). So if you are planning to go to Cambridge and have the following day free put in a tentative visit to the OU in Milton Keynes (transport will be laid on). Further details will follow shortly.

So much happening in the world of Open Resources and I hope to get more information pushed out from the ORIOLE survey over the next few months. I'll be working on this with SCORE fellows Joanna Wild (Oxford University) and Ming Nie (University of Leicester). Now that we have a (mostly) full set of this we can also disperse the donations to the survey participants' three most nominated charities. These were

Cancer Research UK Registered Charity No1089464
Macmillan Cancer Support Registered Charity No261017
Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) Registered Charity No261017

These each receive a £100 donation. Thanks for helping that to happen.