Wednesday, October 26, 2016

#OER17 The Politics of Open

Image credit: CC-BY-NC-ND Jon Mould

It is that time of the year again - but it's that time in this decade when the UK probably needs to grasp open learning, before like our borders,  we succumb to our seemingly naturally conservative closed mind sets.  I'll not re-hash the Scottish Open Education Declaration.

If you believe the best education only happens in elite institutions and organisations and we just have to accept that or if you believe one day you will publish all of your teaching notes and naturally it will be a best seller.

Please stop reading here.

Worth noting that the first #OER conference was hosted at Cambridge University and if you are Scottish based have a look at how Edinburgh University is leading the charge .

But you don't have to be an elite institution or work in one to become an open practitioner !

Education is of-course a public good.

Please consider !

What could open practices do for learners ? 

Simply by making more learning resources more accessible in times of fiscal constraints
Encourage new forms of pedagogy and collaborative approaches to learning
Improve the overall quality and availability  of the learning experience
Reach into bits of the community and workplaces that need untoll gated access to learning materials.
Improve productivity and the exchange of knowledge and ideas .
Allow learners to be creators and to encourage them to lead in their own learning.
Prepare them for the real world - it is a sharing digital economy out here !
In time be the engine for much more personalised and non linear learning.

What could it do for teachers and trainers ? 

Improve content discovery,  creation , collaboration , re-purposing and publishing skills
Enrich both teaching practice and subject based knowledge and skills

Break down the artificial institutional barriers around school , college , work-based  and HE learning.

Re-light an enthusiasm for learning, if it is being extinguished by an ever diminishing pool of local resources.

What could it do for your institution 

Improve both the quality of delivery internally and allow institutional reach into many more places and allow you and your staff to become part of the global learning community  - rather than a wee local shop.

By embracing openness you are not giving away your crown jewels - you are helping your own staff and learners - and helping other people too.  Isn't that why you came into education ?

It's not just about opening up content it could be more open forms of certification and other practices too !

Who and what are the barriers 

It could be you if you are not already an open practitioner ?
It could be your institution if it does not have a policy on open learning and creative commons licencing ?
It could be your professional body if it gives no recognition for innovative practices or around the sharing of learning materials ?
It could be your : senior management team,  local education authority, your national government - but only because they don't yet see the benefits of open and need to be convinced.

Whetted your appetite ?   Doing some work in this area already ? 

The call for proposals to #OER17: The Politics of Open is now published at

The 8th Annual Open Educational Resources Conference will be held on 5-6 April 2017 at Resource for London, UK.

The conference will be chaired by social and educational technologist and Wikimedia UK Trustee Josie Fraser, and Alek Tarkowski, Director of Centrum Cyfrowe, co-founder and coordinator of Creative Commons Poland.

The conference themes this year are:

Local, national, and international policy and practice
Institutional/organisational politics
Participation & social equality
Open Party

The deadline for proposals: Midday GMT Wednesday, 16 November 2016. You can read the full call which includes session formats at

If you are interested in #oer/#oep the call for proposals for #oer17: The Politics of Open is published


Call for proposals - open
Submission system - late Oct.
Call closes - 16th Nov.

Review decisions and bookings open -  Dec.