This years OER conference: #OER16 Open Culture was held in Edinburgh, which was great for the Interactive content team. Now in its 7th year the 2 day conference was a very full and diverse one with people attending from all over the world. There were keynote speakers, presentations, lightning talks, Wikipedia sessions and posters. Many of the presentations were live streamed and can be found on the ALT (Association for Learning Technology) YouTube channel.
What do we mean by open?
There were lots of thought provoking topics. From letting students choose how they learn to letting them use their own tools. From research into the effectiveness of OERs, who has heard of OERs, to what are OERs? Different areas of openness, open to whom and how. The area of copyright, creative commons licensing and ownership to archives and collections.
Catherine Cronin, University of Galway, “If ‘open’ is the answer, what is the question?” the first keynote speech on day 1.
I am just covering the topics I attended on the day but there were other sessions in parallel to this. My first session was titled ‘Converging or diverging cultures of openness’:
- Awareness of OER and OEP in Scotland: Survey Findings from the OEPS Project: this covered the findings of the survey which covered higher and further education. Some of the interesting things from this research is the need for staff development and sharing practices.
- Veethika Mishra a student from India presented: GameEd Archive: OER for tabletop games: for such a large industry she emphasised that the educational value of table top games is underestimated and underutilised.
- Mosomelt: Mobile Social Media Learning Technologies, NZ
- Connecting Resources and Users – requirements for a federated cross-sectorial infrastructure for OER: feasibility study based in Germany around repositories, distribution and the needs of different educational sectors.
In the afternoon I attended the ‘Converging or diverging cultures of openness’ again which covered more aspects of OERs:
- Finding the open in the in-between: changing culture and space in higher education: In-between: Third space, Third place, Liminality. Reuse, Revise, Remix, Redistribute, Retain.
- Open Educational Resources and Tools for the Digital Student: collaboration between 2 universities one in Romania and the other the US, the students work together and share resources, using open educational tools and social media such as ThingLink, Google hangout, Voicethread and SoundCloud.
- Doing OER: Developing an institutional OER policy and how that policy might influence practice. Open.ed Stuart Nicol
- Converging Cultures of Open in Language Resources Development: Mining and data driven learning, linguistic data, FLAX project domain-specific language collections.
- How to set up an Open Online CPD course: 12 Apps of Christmas. We should try this!
There were 2 keynote speakers following the sessions on day 1: Emma Smith, University of Oxford, “Free Willy: Shakespeare and OER” followed by John Scally, National Library of Scotland, “Postcards from the Open Road” to finish the presentations of the day.
Day 2 started with an excellent keynote from Edupunk Jim Groom, Reclaim Hosting “Can we imagine tech Infrastructure as an Open Educational Resource? Or, Clouds, Containers, and APIs, Oh My!”.
My first session was called ‘Innovative approaches to opening up cultural heritage collections for education’:
- Bastille, a pop group or a French Fort? How the Research and Education Space (RES) is using linked open data to open up cultural heritage collections so they can be used in education: a project funded by Jisc, the British Universities Film & Video Council (BUFVC) and the BBC
- Learning Effectiveness and Perceived Value of Wikipedia as a Primary Course Resource: research based at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya which compared sets of students using Wikipedia
- Open education: “Runnin’ with the Devil”: are we critical in our thinking and writing? Paper citation, semantometrics and citation metrics
‘Hacking, making and sharing’
- Students Success The Toolbox, realistic temptations Dublin
- Open education on Wikipedia’s sister projects: Wikipedia is well known but there are a number of other equally interesting open projects such as Wikisource, Wikibooks where students can create their own textbooks
- An Open Ed Tech Collective: looked at a WordPress framework SPLOT, NS Cloner for WordPress, Sandstorm
- Building a Database of People in Edinburgh Throughout the Early 20th Century: student project, setting up a searchable database using old telephone directories
‘Strategic and reputational advantages of openness’
- Reflecting back on the diverse innovations and impacts prompted by an OER project: OERhub Bridge to success, Badged open courses, no time constraint, no support
- Reframing ‘open’ in the context of the Digital University: different levels of open, fuzziness, Third space thinking, ‘The Great Good Place’, Lead Scotland
- Modern slavery Stolen Lives a project aimed to promote awareness of modern slavery
- Need for a Culture of Sharing – A case study of Mauritian Educators: in certain schools there is a ‘culture of private tuition and fierce competition which inhibit open collaborative efforts’
The day and conference finished with the final keynote “Open with care” from our own Melissa Highton.