Wikimedia UK and the University of Edinburgh are pleased to launch the new publication Wikimedia in Education, a collection of case studies from practitioners across the UK who have successfully integrated Wikimedia into their courses.
Wikimedia is a valuable tool for education, enriching the student experience as much as it does the open web. Learning to contribute to Wikipedia, or Wikimedia’s other open knowledge projects, teaches students key skills in information literacy, collaboration, writing as public outreach, information synthesis, source evaluation and data science. It also develops an appreciation for the role and importance of open education. Of the 14 examples in this publication, 13 are from the higher education sector; however the resource has been designed for anyone involved in education. It will be of particular interest to teachers, lecturers and learning technologists involved in open pedagogy and course design, or who have an interest in library skills, innovative learning, working on the open web, co-creation, collaborative working, or digital skills.
Speaking about the launch, Melissa Highton. Assistant Principal, University of Edinburgh says: “The University of Edinburgh has a long-standing commitment to open educational resources. We offer services, training and support to colleagues who open up their practice in a wide range of ways. Working in partnership with WikimediaUK is just one of the many successful projects we have. This publication serves to celebrate the great success we have had in embedding open knowledge activities into courses across the University. I encourage colleagues to take a look and think about how you can bring this sort of engagement with open information literacy into classrooms to encourage sharing, co-creation and real impact.”
Celebrating the importance of the work, Lucy Crompton-Reid. Chief Executive, Wikimedia UK, concluded: “As the national charity for the global Wikimedia open knowledge movement, Wikimedia UK works closely with the education sector to develop the use and recognition of Wikipedia and the other Wikimedia projects as valuable tools for teaching and learning. The University of Edinburgh has led the way in this work and we are delighted to have collaborated with them on the creation of this new publication, which features case studies from across the university as well as some of our other UK education partners.”
When I wrote this presentation originally, I thought the shift in pace and place I would be talking about would be the new online microcredentials – Micromasters ™ – courses we have been piloting this year.
Little did I know that we would, as a sector, experience a seismic shift to remote learning online in little more than a week. At University of Edinburgh we have all shifted place- we are now working from home or are stranded and trapped. We have all shifted pace. Things which we thought would take months and years to do suddenly gained urgency and we ‘flipped’ or ‘pivoted’ to remote learning and working outwith the university at very short notice.
I can tell you about what we have been doing at Edinburgh in online distance learning, because it is this previous work which has given us the capacity, capability and vision to respond quickly now.
We know that distance is a positive principle, not a deficit. It can generate meaningful learning opportunities and a positive student experience; it can build community; and it can advance a values-led and professionalising position of teaching, one that does not downgrade teaching into (mere) facilitation.
New futures? who knows what will happen next? I won an EduFuturists Award recently for an individual ‘who embodies a vision of where education could be 20 years from now’ , and suddenly it seems like I should come up with this vision pretty fast. This is a new era and a paradigm shift for ‘business continuity’. In the past i warned my colleagues to ‘expect locusts‘. I wanted them to think big. I asked them to think about what happens if for some reason we can’t operate as usual. I admit, I thought the challenges would be strikes, snow or rogue volcanos, but I like a bit of Biblical scale…..
Some of my emerging thoughts for possible futures:
After this current ‘panic pivot’ to teach out the current academic year. Universities will quickly start to think about semester 1 next year. Will university campuses re-open or will we teach semester 1 online?
The online learning landscape
A rush to online delivery by many universities will see skillful course design for accessibility, quality and learning communities become key.
Even if the on-campus learners return, this is not a one-off, they will need reassurance that they can go home, if called home and still complete their studies.
The undergraduate online market in the UK will be transformed. Things we thought impossible will become pragmatic.
Some universities will collaborate with peer institutions to develop courses and deliver together. Some will not.
Interoperability, licensing, IP, technical standards and open development will be as important for sharing, interchange, reuse, local adaptation of materials as they always have been. Expertise in this area will be prized.
Learning technologists who know about staff development, course design and open educational resources will realise they can work from home and work for any institution in the world. Their salaries will increase, and the work will be more flexible, more compatible with family life.
The (already) global market for academic colleagues who teach well online will thrive.
On campus service such as counselling, wellbeing, welfare, disability support, finance, careers will need to find new elements of quality in delivery online.
Students will want to watch their lectures online.
Traditional face to face exams will become antiquated, and the purpose and methods of assessment will become increasingly diverse.
‘Halls of residence’ will be forever known as ‘petri dishes’.
The global platforms ( Coursera, Edx, Futurelearn, Linkedin Learning) will finally see return on their business model and they will own all the student data.
Home-based learners will sacrifice privacy and personal data in the rush to use Zoom and Houseparty et al.
Vendors and suppliers will try to renegotiate the costs of VLEs, streaming video and virtual classroom tools.
Libraries will finally invest properly in digitisation and digital collections and no-one will believe publishers’ protests that they cannot offer open access any more.
I am so impressed by how well our teams and services are responding to this situation. We are seeing increased use of all our learning technology systems and receiving great, positive feedback on the support, training and expertise we are providing.
We have trained 800 staff to support remote teaching and offered online training in how to work from home.
The result has been:
1200 Media Hopper Create uploads in Week3 March in comparison to 400 in the same week last year.
Support calls for Media Hopper Create down on last year show that the training and guidance is good quality.
16-18th March 800 Collaborate sessions per day. 23rd March, 1400 sessions involving 6000 users
Learn Logins steady each day at 4,000 logins but this is fewer than an average day when everyone is on campus. We would usually see nearer 5,000 per day.
Our academic colleagues are working hard to play their part in tackling the Corona Virus. This is one of the very good things about working in a research university. We are providing services which support research and teaching and knowledge creation and dissemination.
Some top tips to keep in mind when planning to teach remotely:
It is important to remember that good teaching online brings with it some of the same principles as good teaching face to face. A strong teacher presence, engaged learning communities, contact time between teacher and student and for students in pairs or groups. The following tips are designed to facilitate that as simply as possible and minimise disruption both for you and your students.
Keep it simple. See the technology as servicing some core teaching function and only choose what you need. Video for lectures (if you lecture), discussion boards for debates and dialogue, a virtual learning environment for hosting your content, a well-structured reading list, maybe a blog for student reflection and group work.
Get professional advice and ask for help early on if you can. Speak to your school learning technologist and IT support; information services staff and librarians are here to help and advise.
Communicate with students. This is critical. Let them know we are trying something new and why. Let them know where to go and who to contact if they run into difficulty. Get them talking on the discussion boards with prompts and questions at regular intervals.
Discuss with your colleagues and networks of contacts at other universities how they may have used technology in similar situations teaching in similar disciplines. Many universities offer the same or very similar learning technologies, so sharing practice can be helpful to someone you know.
Your students may already know you, but you need to show them you are present online: a picture of yourself, some short videos, encouragement on the discussion boards. Videos don’t need to be perfect. Showing personality has currency in the online space.
Consider assessments. Do you need to rethink the assessments if you are moving online? You might. There are many ways to assess online and most aren’t too complicated.
Consider which parts of your course such as fieldwork, labs, studios and practicals may have to be cancelled or changed. Think about the adjustments you have previously made for students with disabilities, are those alternative versions appropriate for all your students now?
Do the best you can 🙂 we understand this will be new and different for many teachers.
The BSHS Ayrton prize recognises outstanding web projects and digital engagement in the history of science, technology and medicine (HSTM). The prize name was chosen to recognize the major contributions of Hertha Ayrton (1854-1923) to numerous scientific fields, especially electrical engineering and mathematics, in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The prize is awarded once every two years.
Given the remarkable strength of the field, they decided to supplement the main Prize with a Highly Commended category, to be awarded to two further projects.
I’m delighted to say that our University of Edinburgh Wikipedia project “Changing the ways the stories are told” is one of the two Highly Commended projects! The judging panel were particularly impressed with the initiative’s track record of contributions to the infrastructure of knowledge on which research and public engagement in the history of science depend.
‘Changing the ways the stories are told’: Engaging staff and students in improving the Wikipedia content about women in the history of science, technology and medicine in Scotland.
This project began 5 years ago and has been delivering more and more each year with wider reach, large engagement numbers and considerable impact in terms of public engagement and media coverage. This project is supported by University of Edinburgh and we work in partnership with science, engineering and heritage organisations in Edinburgh to run events to edit and improve Wikipedia content of topics specifically related to the history of women in science.
Our mission is to work with staff, students and members of the public to support them in developing the digital skills they need to engage in writing and publishing new articles on Wikipedia. We have a specific focus on the history of women in science and medicine. Our first ‘edit-a-thon’ in 2015 was based on ‘The Edinburgh Seven’- the first women to study medicine and our most recent was in conjunction with Young Academy Scotland at the Royal Society of Edinburgh. This work towards getting all students and staff in the university to be active contributors is unique in the sector.
The audience for our content includes any members of the public who look at HSTM articles on Wikipedia. The audience for our skills development training are staff and students who learn about how historical information can be brought out of the university (and other) archives to illustrate, enhance and improve the stories of historic development of science, technology and medicine. We work closely with librarians, archivists and academic researchers to bring their hidden content into the most modern digital platforms and give it new relevance for the public today.
Edinburgh staff and students have created 476 new articles, in a variety of languages on a huge range of topics and significantly improved or translated 1950 more. These articles have been consumed by millions of readers. All editors are supported to understand the impact and reach of their work, to find the analytics and reports which show how their contribution is immediately useful to a wide range of audiences.
By working closely with HSTM scholars, digital librarians and archivists we ensure that our staff and students learn the best practice in using digital platforms for public engagement. We ensure that information is accessible and navigable and make best use of both the archives and the new technology. Images released from our archive collections and added to Wikipedia as part of this project have now been viewed 28,755,106 times.
As well as learning the skills of editing, referencing and science communication, we are ensuring that many more of our staff and students learn about how information is created, shared and contested online. We work specifically to address gaps in coverage and improve information where it is poor.
We address the gender gap amongst Wikipedia editors by training large numbers of female students and staff and empower them to edit on whatever topics they choose and thus engaging in the use of digital platforms for their own study and work.
The University of Edinburgh is the first UK university to engage a Wikimedian in Residence to focus entirely on developing student and staff skills. The project fits with our missions for teaching, research and public engagement as well as the embedding of technology in our activities to engage in digital citizenship and crowd-sourced sharing.
The most innovative part of the project has been to work closely with academic colleagues to embed Wikimedia tasks in the curriculum so that students work on topics which have direct relevance to their studies. One example where we work with the students on the MSc Reproductive Biomedicine is now in its fourth year. The students are assessed and gain credit for the work they do in improving content of Wikipedia.
Five years on from our original work in changing the way the story of the Edinburgh Seven is told, the University gave posthumous degrees to the women who had struggled as pioneers in this area. The degree ceremony in 2019 marked 150 years since the Surgeons Hall riots and this new, updated history of women in science and medicine gained considerable media coverage and impact in Scotland and beyond.
We ensure the sustainability of this project by making it part of the ongoing digital skills and digital literacy training programme delivered to staff and students in the University of Edinburgh and we hold public engagement events alongside our partners in library, heritage and science organisations in the city.
The Wikipedia platform is maintained by the Wikimedia UK foundation and our contributions to improving the public facing content on that platform is part of ensuring that it is a sustainable, growing, open, relevant and useful resource for everyone. Working directly with the Wikipedia platform to add content ensures that we do not take on the long term costs of hosting such a platform for our selves, thus the work of training editors and contributing content can continue as long as the platform is an appropriate place to do it.
Last year this work won a Herald Higher Education Award for innovation in technology and we are expanding our skills training team in the coming year to ensure that we can meet the demand from academic colleagues and students to be trained as editors and as contributors to Wikidata and similar sister projects.
This project represents a clear statement by the University that we want to enable our staff and students to engage in becoming active citizens in the digital world.
In the long dark days of the Scottish winter when its tempting to hibernate it’s always nice to have a few things lined up to look forward to in the ‘Spring’. Here are some of the dates I already have in my diary. These are events and conferences at which I’ll be giving presentations or keynotes about a range of topics.
Over the the last few years I have cut down on my international travel for work, but still very much enjoyed the range of events at which I get invited to speak.
If any of these topics interest you, it would be great to see you there.
Strategic leadership of open and online learning
31st March- Keynote: Online Learning Summit ‘Growing your University online: Routes to student success’.
18th June- Keynote at University of South Wales Learning & Teaching conference. Thank you to Catherine for the invitation.
The future of libraries and learning technology
27-28th May- Keynote: CONUL Conference 2020 ‘Imagining the future and how we get there’. http://conference.conul.ie Thank you to Laura for the invitation.
Wikimedia in the curriculum
I’ll be presenting with Ewan about our work embedding wikimedia in the curriculum and LILAC and OER20 and we’ll be launching our book of case studies of wikimedia in UK HE reflecting 5 years of ongoing work. At OER20 Lorna and I will be reviewing 5 years of our Open Educational Resources (OER) service at University of Edinburgh.
17-19 March- Equality Diversity and Inclusion Conference 2020: ‘Courageous conversations and adventurous approaches: creative thinking in tackling inequality’ I’ll be presenting with Dominique about the experiences of making changes in our organisation and joining a panel about the the ‘taboo’ subject of menopause. https://www.advance-he.ac.uk/programmes-events/conferences/EDIConf20
I am also planning to complete and defend a massive piece of writing which is currently a bit of a monster, but i’m hoping that preparing these presentations will help me to hone my ideas.
You’ve been waiting a long time. The last one was written in 2006. Writing with Chris and Clara has been just like old times.
You’ll be thinking loads has changed in the techniques of learning design and use of technology to support learning and teaching……
For most teachers the main technology to support teaching on campus is still the VLE, but in this edition I’ve managed to include up to date examples from lecture recording, maker spaces, OER, online reading lists, diversity in the curriculum, inclusive design and learning analytics. Course leaders still need a really good grounding in learning design though, if their teaching is going to be successful. We have a Learning Design Service at Edinburgh which is growing from strength to strength.
Bridging the gap between theory and practice, this fully updated new edition of Designing Learning offers accessible guidance to help those new to teaching in higher education to design and develop a course. With new considerations to the higher education context, this book uses current educational research to support staff in their endeavour to design and develop modules and degree courses of the highest quality.
Offering guidance on every stage, from planning to preparing materials and resources, with a focus on the promotion of learning, this book considers:
Course design models and shapes, and their impact on learning
How the external influences of learning and teaching are translated by different institutions
How to match the content of a course to its outcomes
Frameworks to enable communication between staff and students about expectations and standards
Taking into account the diverse student population when designing a course
The place of Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), communication tools and systems for monitoring students’ engagement
The importance of linking all aspects of the taught curriculum and wider co-/extra-curricular activities to support learning
Ways to evaluate and enhance a course and to develop oneself as a teaching professional in HE.
Providing advice, illustrative examples and case studies, Designing Learning is a comprehensive guide to designing a high-quality course. This book is a must-read for any academic looking to create or update their course or module.
The OOFHEC2019 conference will focus on trends and high impact factors in the global and European higher education.
In a combination of plenary keynotes by key players in higher education at institutional and policy level and parallel presentations and workshops, OOFHEC2019 will cover latest developments under the following topics:
Blended and online education
Micro-credentials for continuous education and MOOCs
European university networks, internationalisation and virtual mobility
Equal opportunities and inclusion
It’ll be lovely to see so many European colleagues again. I’ll be keynoting about the progress we are making at Edinburgh in online and distance learning. There will be much talk of The European Commission’s eU.University hub for “online learning, blended/virtual mobility, virtual campuses and collaborative exchange of best practices” is now built by the OpenU consortium, led by Panthéon Sorbonne Paris1, in which University of Edinburgh is participating. This hub will connect European universities to facilitate ubiquitous access and free movement of students and learners. It will also empower European university networks for collaborative online education and virtual mobility.
Blended and online education is a main factor of innovation and change in European higher education, as is shown by the Changing Pedagogical Landscape studies. It creates new possibilities for teaching large groups of students and at the same time to intensify education in small learning communities. New learning formats support the mission of universities to link education, research and to enhance the quality of education. Innovation contributes as well to a balanced use of resources and cost-effectiveness if accompanied by organisational change and support.
(International) micro-credentials are already awarded to programs worldwide (Micro-Masters, nano-degrees ) organised by universities and MOOC platforms. Jointly with the growth of blended and online education, innovative modes for mobility are created as a complement to physical mobility enhancing the learning experience and opening new opportunities for intensive collaboration between universities.
The European Commission is supporting this innovation. In the Erasmus+ 2019 call, virtual mobility is defined as “a set of activities supported by Information and Communication Technologies, including e-learning, that realise or facilitate international, collaborative experiences in a context of teaching, training or learning”. Blended and virtual mobility is stimulated in many Erasmus+ actions, in particular in the “European universities” initiative, “strategic partnerships”, “knowledge alliances”, “sector skills” and “capacity building”.
Equal opportunities and inclusion in a diverse society are a continuous task in European society, especially with regard to gender, disadvantaged groups, migrants and refugees. This requires specific measures at all levels of education, last but not least in higher education. This is to be realized by specific organisational support for these groups, mobilizing expertise across the institution.Above all, this requires that equal opportunities and inclusion are considered as a core dimension in the design of courses by paying attention to enough flexibility and personalisation.
Open universities have a unique and long tradition in this, while they are also continuously innovating policies, organisational frameworks and teaching and learning in this respect.
At University of Edinburgh, now that we have near-comprehensive coverage of lecture recording facilities, we plan to give students across the University guidance on how to use recordings in their studies.
The excellent guide has been created by colleagues from other universities cited below. I recommend it. It’s available for adaptation and we have added to the ‘Do Not’ section: ‘Do not share, publish or sell recorded lectures outside the University of Edinburgh.’
Please cite these guides as Nordmann et al. (2018).Lecture capture: Practical recommendations for students and lecturers Preprint: https://osf.io/esd2q/
Emily Nordmann1, Carolina E. Kuepper-Tetzel2, Louise Robson3, Stuart Phillipson4, Gabi Lipan5 and Peter McGeorge5
1 School of Psychology, University of Glasgow, 62 Hillhead Street, Glasgow, G12 8QB
2 Department of Psychology, Scrymgeour Building, University of Dundee, Dundee, DD1 4HN
3 Department of Biomedical Science, University of Sheffield, Western Bank, Sheffield S10 2TN
4 IT Services, University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester, M13 9PL
5 School of Psychology, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, AB24 3FX