Dominique and Ewan will be there showcasing their work.
Some of us are on strike. (I may have mentioned this before). Academic colleagues are holding ‘teach outs’. What kind of activity would be the learning technology version of a ‘teach out’? I’m thinking ‘making OER ‘and ‘wikimedia editathons’.
I’ve asked a guru and been told that a ‘teach-out’ takes place outside the walls, has an informal curriculum, is activist focused and free!
Open education and OER is all about ‘beyond walls’, it is about sharing, releasing openly, deliberately, resources which can be re-used by others for free. There are whole conferences about how this is informal, disruptive, beyond the curriculum and underpinned by activism for social change in HE. There are even Declarations about it. Wikimedia is the largest online open educational resources platform in the world. Wikimedia is an activist organisation whose members support and campaign for changes in copyright, access, freedoms and disruption of traditional knowledge publishing models. There is also a well known issue with gender bias in the content.
I’ve looked up some UCU guidance. They say:
“Good reasons to do teach-outs include:
- They show students that their teachers aren’t just putting their feet up. We care about students’ education and are willing to educate unpaid — just not to do the kind of educating we’re normally paid for.
- We only go on strike when bad things are happening, but promoting the teach-out allows us to focus conversations on a positive activity. Attending allows students (and anyone else!) to show support for the strike.
- The teach-outs also give members a communal, productive activity to do on strike days that builds ideas, capacity, and community — and reminds us what higher education is really all about.
- Not all members are willing or able to be involved in picketing, but are happy to participate in teach-outs, broadening the possibilities for activism on a strike day.
Organising teach-outs is very easy! Almost everyone in UCU organises conferences, open days, meetings and talks professionally. Moreover, it’s in the nature of teach-outs that they’re ad hoc, a bit improvised, even carnivalesque. So basically, it’s about doing what we’re good at, yet no-one minds if it goes wrong “
This is exactly the kind of thing we encourage through our OER activities and wikimedia editathon events. It is #openeducationweek as well as #internationalwomensday and #ussstrikes. The best thing you can do is join a ‘tech-out’. You don’t have to cross a picketline, Wikipedia is definitely outside our walls, but conveniently adjacent, and differently owned, like a local pub or community hall. You can learn how to do OER from our handy guides. You can join our wikimedia editathon remotely with our helpful videos.
If you want a communal, productive activity to do on strike days that builds ideas, capacity and community, and reminds us what higher education is really all about, Comrades, join me in Open Education.
Information Services has more than 600 staff. Earlier this year more than 300 of them replied to a gender equality survey. The results of this survey are providing a starting place for the IS senior management to promote equality in the workplace and implement proactive plans for change. We are recruiting an intern to help us. This internship coincides with an exciting time for Information Services as we make plans to move to a new building and find new ways of working.
Opportunity and strategic alignment
Following our gender equality survey, within the context of the University’s commitment to Athena Swan, and in line with a broader approach to change management in IS, we have an opportunity now to make some innovative moves to address equality and diversity issues for our staff.
One of the key messages arising from our staff survey was that ‘equality involves everyone’. This indicates that our success will depend on ensuring that our plans target all groups and include a range of positive actions, in addition to those specifically designed for women.
Alongside the work we must do in HR and with directors and managers around policies and process, we will establish an innovative programme of staff workplace activities * and L&D opportunities focused on a general concept of ‘fair play’ called ‘The PlayFair Steps’**.
- To begin making our planned equality action areas into a SMART plan for 3 years.
- To recruit (using CIO innovation funds) a Phd intern to work with us for the first year to monitor progress against targets in these change areas.
- To establish a staff group to lead, shape and bring new ideas.
Proposed Equality Actions Areas for next 3years
- Deliver a communications plan to advertise, update and raise awareness of relevant university HR policies where they exist.
- Deliver a communications plan of concerted positive comms around ADR, L&D, mentoring, professional networks for career development.
- Dispel myths of inequality of access to opportunity by making visible stats which reflect the real uptake of staff development, training, conference attendance and rewards and recognition payments across ISG.
- Offer staff development sessions on ‘how to get promoted’.
- Review how ‘good citizen’ activities contribute to promotion criteria, reward and recognition.
- Do follow up surveys (from the University) on race, faith and disability.
- Ensure fair and transparent recruitment, promotion and policy-making processes.
- Ensure everyone involved in recruitment (JD, panels etc) has been on diversity and bias training. Showcase and share examples of JDs with gender-neutral language and positive action.
- More visible positive action to recruit to under-represented groups/areas including use of social media to advertise opportunities using appropriate hashtags and fora. e.g #womenintech.
Work –life balance
- Enhancement of family-friendly policies and improved communication of these.
- Ensure colleagues have an equal chance of a healthy work-life balance by not holding meetings outside core hours.
- Encourage work/social activities which are family friendly.
- Ensure colleagues have an equal chance of a healthy work-life balance by reducing management email sent outside core hours except re tier1 service incidents.
- Designate a separate (bookable) quiet room with a nice view for prayer, meditation, escape from sensory overload, breastfeeding and expressing.
Supporting gender equality more broadly
- Offer visible equality role models of both genders by ensuring that invited speakers, presentations, vendor presentations reflect a gender mix.
- Offer visible equality role models of both genders by working with conference organisers to reduce the number of single sex panels at conferences or events.
- Ensure that we have diversity in our decision-making groups.
- Provide opportunities for career development and networking through visible support/involvement/hosting of organisation events e.g Ada Lovelace Day.
- Offer visible equality role models by naming computer systems, servers, rooms etc after relevant famous women.
- Display more art by diverse (and women) artists.
- Ensure that systems which hold personal data offer a choice of gender neutral honorifics e.g Mx
- Build systems and applications which pass the Bechdel test for software.
- Promote to staff and students digital initiatives for gender equality in tech areas e.g coding and gaming.
- Engage with research in emerging areas around gender and the internet to inform the development of services to support staff and students’ safety online
* Similar to our ‘healthy working lives’ initiatives.
** As well as including the word ‘fair’ and ‘play’, the Playfair Steps are a well-known set of steps in Edinburgh which take you easily from the old (town) to the new (town) . Additionally, the engineer William Playfair invented infographics- bar charts and pie charts -and much of our gender equality business is done using these.
If you are doing a Phd at University of Edinburgh and you need a job, please feel free to apply to these two splendid vacancies. Work based learning guaranteed. Applications by 31 August.
Digital Skills for Research Intern (Employ.ed for PhDs)
The work of this internship will be to review research skills frameworks, map digital skills to the research life cycle, identify existing training resources locally and in other universities, identify good practice for researcher training programmes, highlight any differences in digital skills needs in specific discipline areas and make recommendations to Information Services senior management to shape their plans going forward.
Equality, Gender and Change PhD Intern (Employ.ed for PhDs)
Information Services has more than 600 staff. Earlier this year more than 300 of them replied to a gender equality survey. The results of this survey are providing a starting place for the IS senior management to promote equality in the workplace and implement proactive plans for change. This internship coincides with an exciting time for Information Services as we make plans to move to a new building and find new ways of working.