In April the OER16 Conference will be held at the University of Edinburgh, chaired by Melissa Highton, Director of Learning, Teaching and Web Services at the University of Edinburgh, and Lorna Campbell, OER Liaison at the University of Edinburgh and EDINA Digital Education Manager, see https://oer16.oerconf.org/ for full details.
ALT has been supporting the OER conference alongside the Open Education SIG for a number of years. Openness is at the heart of what we stand for as a membership body – sharing knowledge, collaborating, keeping up with technological change together, as a community. But at times when economic, political and social pressures are high learning, working or living in the open can be difficult. Convincing decision makers or colleagues of an open approach, making the business or strategic case for open education in the broadest sense can be a challenge. What are the benefits, why should we share what we have, what about keeping a competitive edge?
For me, questions like “why are not all publicly funded educational resources openly licenced” or “why are we re-inventing solutions to problems that others have already solved” are at the forefront of my mind when I look our efforts across sectors. That’s why I look forward to this conference that not only celebrates open culture, but also aims to ask some of the hard questions about how to make it scale, how to make progress on a national level and provides insight into how Learning Technology can support open education in all its forms.
If, like me, you are interested in strategy and policy, there is a lot in the programme to inspire: from a session on “Open Educational Resources implementation in schools: Strategic advantages and Return on Investment“, to “Images of Openness: A Kaleidoscope of Competing Discourses” or “Meeting the needs of disabled learners through OER and OEP: insights from the OE Research Hub dataset“. There’s a workshop about “Web Today, Gone Tomorrow: How can we ensure continuing access to OERs?” which will explore long-term sustainability of OERs and a workshop exploring readiness within an institution entitled “Are we Openness Ready? Towards an Open Learning Scale“. With examples from 29 countries, Scotland to Africa, there’s a lot to take in in a dense two day programme.
ALT has been very fortunate over the year’s with our community providing ideas and expertise at our events. OER16 is no exception and it’s great to see people offering some of their expertise and time help make sure resources generated at the event are openly accessible. For example, as well as live streaming OER16 keynotes we are fortunate to have Radio EDUTalk broadcasting interviews during both days (find out about adding your own voice) and also a Virtually Connecting session. So even if you aren’t attending OER16 find out more about remote participation.
We look forward to ‘seeing’ you all at OER16!
[Image Credit: ‘Open is Welcoming’ CC-BY Cogdog https://flic.kr/p/aSjJ8H]
Maren Deepwell, Chief Executive, Association for Learning Technology.
If you enjoyed reading this article we invite you to join the Association for Learning Technology (ALT) as an individual member, and to encourage your own organisation to join ALT as an organisational or sponsoring member