Although strategic open education policy drivers may be lacking at national and sector level and awareness of open education appears to be minimal at government level, a range of innovative open education initiatives have arisen across the sector.
The collaborative Open Scotland initiative, now supported by the University of Edinburgh and the ALT Scotland SIG, continues to raise awareness of all aspects of open education and lobby for policies that support open practice at the national level. Open Scotland also supports the Scottish Open Education Declaration, which, although it has yet to gain support at national level, continues to be influential within institutions as a tool to open discussions about the strategic benefits of open education.
Glasgow Caledonian University (Kelt, 2015) and the University of Edinburgh have approved open educational resource policies to encourage staff and students to use, create and publish OERs to enhance the quality of the student experience. Both policies are adapted from the policy developed by the University of Leeds, as a result of the UKOER Programme and shared under open licence.
This policy is one component of the University of Edinburgh’s wider vision for open education, which builds on the history of the Edinburgh Settlement, the University’s excellence in teaching and learning, it’s research collections, and civic mission (Highton, 2015). The University has also launched an open education portal, Open.Ed to disseminate and showcase OER and to help colleagues in making informed decisions about the creation and use of open educational resources, and appointed a Wikimedian in residence.
The Open University’s Opening Educational Practices in Scotland project (OEPS, 2015), the only nationally funded open education initiative in Scotland, continues to make progress in supporting open education practice and has been particularly successful in engaging the third sector.
While there has been considerable progress in many areas of open education, there have also been drawbacks. Jisc no longer provides sector level leadership and support for open education practice, and has closed the Jorum national repository and Scottish FE Re:Source OER repository (Campbell, 2015). The announcement of these closures caused considerable disquiet at the time, however it remains to be seen how significant the impact will be.
This paper will provide a critical overview of the progress of open educational initiatives across Scottish Further and Higher Education, reflect on lessons learned, and explore how we can continue collaborating to support open practice.
Campbell, L.M., (2015), Retire and Refresh: Jisc, Jorum and Open Education, https://lornamcampbell.wordpress.com/2015/06/25/retire-and-refresh-jisc-jorum-and-open-education/
Highton, M., (2015), A Vision for Open Educational Resources at University of Edinburgh, http://thinking.is.ed.ac.uk/melissa/2015/04/13/a-vision-for-open-educational-resources-at-university-of-edinburgh/
Kelt, M., (2015), Glasgow Caledonian University OER Institutional Policy, https://wiki.creativecommons.org/wiki/Scotland:_Glasgow_Caledonian_University_OER_Institutional_Policy
OEPS, (2015), Year One Update on the OEPS Project, https://oepscotland.files.wordpress.com/2015/10/oneyearreport-002.pdf