19th-23rd March is #ResourcesListWeek in the University of Edinburgh.
I am often asked about the value of lecturing ( and lecture recording). In my day, I was always told that the purpose of a lecture was to send you to the Library. A good lecture, given by an academic colleague who is passionate about their subject and actively researching in the area will inspire you to go and find out more for yourself. Lectures were never designed to be the way to cover and transmit all the course content. The reading list is as valuable to students as the lectures.
In a research institution the Library holds collections way beyond the reading lists and provides an environment for individual exploration and discovery.
We send our students to the library clutching their reading lists. If you want the books to be there when they get there, you need a Resources List. Sending in your resources list causes your librarian to order-in what is needed.
If you think our library should hold more diverse authors, if you would like to liberate the curriculum, if you would prefer we used more open access resources, this is one way to drive that change.
The Librarians are ready and waiting, give them something to occupy their time.
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.
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.
Happy news: OER16 Open Culture Conference was awarded Wikimedia UK Partnership of the Year. The conference was co-chaired by Lorna and me. In a letter of thanks Lucy Crompton-Reid, Wikimedia UK Chief Executive and Michael Maggs, Wikimedia UK Chair wrote:
We are delighted to award Wikimedia UK’s Partnership of the Year to the University of Edinburgh, for the Open Educational Resources Conference in 2016. The strong presence of Wikimedia UK at OER16 was only made possible by your support as conference co-chairs. It gave a high level of visibility to the charity within a prestigious international conference, which will have an ongoing benefit for us as we develop our work within education. On a separate note, we are also delighted that the University of Edinburgh is hosting the first Wikimedian-in-Residence in the higher education sector in Scotland.
Lorna has also been appointed as a Wikimedia trustee.
I am impressed that ALT have found my CMALT portfolio in their archives. I will share it as an example with colleagues engaging with our new CMALT programme.
When I wrote my initial CMALT application in 2008 I was just about to leave University of Leeds to embark on a new adventure in a new role as Head of Learning Technologies at University of Oxford. At that time there were so few CMALT persons in each university that the status of ‘University with the largest number of CMALT’ shifted from Leeds to Oxford when I moved. I stayed in that role at Oxford for 6 years, becoming Director of Academic IT as I expanded the teams, projects, scope and services.
Looking back at my portfolio submission from the time I am reminded of my commitment even then to blogging, learning design, VLEs, OER and my specialist subject: learning technology leadership.
In order to renew my CMALT portflio I am asked to reflect on how my career has developed over the past 3 years and how this relates to my work with learning technology.
I’ve been at Edinburgh for 2 years now. I know this because I’ve just attended my third elearning@ed forum. It’s been a vertiginous learning curve, and I’ve had to make some serious changes in the leadership of the Division. Grace Hopper said ‘ the most dangerous phrase in the English language is ‘We’ve always done it this way’. I think that is *especially* dangerous for anyone in an industry like learning technology which requires, demands innovation.
As a woman who arrives from somewhere else to take over the management of a department, I hear it a lot.
The investment of time and effort is paying off though, Senior Vice Principal Charlie Jeffrey described us as ‘gripped in the throws of innovation’. Which is good, I think. I’ve also just been appointed Assistant Principal for Online Learning.
Having an Assistant Principal as part of the senior management team in ISG will ensure that we can align even more closely the activities of ISG to the mission of the University. This will contribute to the success of our service excellence and digital transformation programmes as well as planning for learning and teaching technology. My new role will bring added complexity for me as I manage the challenge of keeping my teams on track with these innovations while also giving a renewed focus myself to online and distance learning. Exciting times.
It was lovely to see you all at #OER16 in Edinburgh. It was a great personal pleasure to host the conference and to listen to the papers and speakers. For me it provided an excellent excuse to have so many friends and colleagues here.
When Lorna and I passed across to next year’s chairs it was a relief to know that the conference will survive and thrive for another year.
I gave the last keynote, the one usually punctuated by the poorly stifled sound of wheely suitcases escaping from the back of the room. Jim, Catherine, Emma and John are hard acts to follow.
One of the benefits of being the last keynote is that the many flavors of openness had already been rehearsed and debated by other people in the room. And that many of my excellent Edinburgh colleagues had already covered the detail of our services and projects. The keynote offered me a chance to reflect on the themes of the conference and why it made sense to have it in Edinburgh.
If you get a chance to watch all the keynotes, which I hope you will, you will see 5 very different people in very different jobs/contexts taking different approaches to identifying the value proposition for open. But none of them are doing it alone. That’s the beauty of the thing.
My keynote is mostly written, I know who I’m going to introduce and where I am chair. I’m looking forward to see you all there. Got your ticket?
My presentation is called ‘Open with Care: contents may have shifted during flight’. Emma Smith’s is called ‘Free Willy’. Last year Josie brought the dolphins, this year Emma brings the orca. A whale of a time will be had.
It is a source of great pleasure for me that in recent years the celebrations of International Women’s Day have co-incided nicely with Open Education Week. This makes it easy for me to find authentic and useful things to do as my contribution.
I don’t find it difficult to see connections between feminism and open education movements. Both seek to give equality of access, challenge traditional structures and ways of doing things; and involve a diverse community of people in thinking about the greater good. Both also have outspoken advocates with strong opinions and sometimes end up arguing amongst themselves. Nonethless it’s been a fun week.
Monday: I ate retro sweets with Charlie and Susie near our #OpenEducationWk display stand and attended the launch of Jo and Peta’s Dangerous Women Project to which I have contributed a blog post to be published later in the year.
Tuesday: On IWD2016 I spent some enjoyable time searching the digital archive of Spare Rib at the British Library to find images to use in my OER16 keynote. I was surprised to find that Spare Rib itself is not particularly well described in Wikipedia, so I spent some time on that too. I added a section on design to continue the #artandfeminism theme.
It seems to me that the big libraries are missing a trick if they are spending time making digitised collections open to the public and not taking a moment more to get a good article on the topic in Wikipedia. They probably need a Wikimedian in Residence.
Thursday: I worked with Dominique, our ISG gender equality intern to refine once more our ISG gender equality plan and with Sonia, Yujia, Susan and Lauren to edit the ’embracing openness’ double page spread for our upcoming BITS magazine.
Friday: Today I am working from home, fortified by jam by Anne-Marie and coffee warmed by Maggie’s bespoke knitwear. I see that all but one of the women artists we were editing on Saturday now have their own wikipedia page, and Lorna, Viv and Catherine are giving it a bit of welly in an ALT OER-SIG webinar to promote our April conference.
Our Wikimedian in Residence (WiR) partnership is a result of a long term engagement and also a credit to the quality of the UK Wikimedians and their ability to support, impress and influence senior managers, who in turn, shape institutional strategies and investment.
I have been repeatedly impressed by the quality of the Wikimedians and the generosity of their host organisations to help at events. It seems to me only fair that University of Edinburgh which has benefitted so much from our local WiRs should now host a WiR to continue a sustained involvement with the scheme and the Wikimedia UK community. Once Edinburgh has shown the way I hope the other Scottish universities will follow suit to ensure that there is always at least one WiR for the nation.
When I was Director of Academic IT at University of Oxford my teams attended the editathon organised by JISC (June 2012) to improve articles on the Great War . Oxford holds an elegant collection of crowd-sourced and expert-curated content in the Great War Archive and we were keen to ensure, in advance of the centenary, that our collection of open educational resources (OER) could support public engagement and school teaching on the topic. Martin Poulter was WiR at JISC at the time.
In 2013 we hosted an editathon at Oxford for Ada Lovelace Day. Martin provided training for the event and brought several other wikimedians to help. Liz McCarthy and Kate Lindsay worked with Martin to make the whole event a great success and I was entirely sold on the idea.
Oxford hosted another editathon for Ada Lovelace Day 2014, but by that time I had moved job to become Director of Learning, Teaching and Web Services at University of Edinburgh. There had not yet been any wikipedia editathons at Edinburgh so I brought my new colleagues to the EduWiki conference to find out more. Ally Crockford spoke at the event and she highlighted the WiR scheme. I met with Gill Hamilton at National Library of Scotland (NLS) to learn about the job descriptions, support and work plans which would be successful for a WiR partnership.
Edinburgh University runs an annual Innovative Learning Week designed to enable staff and students to attend day long, or week long events outside of normal timetabling patterns. The first Edinburgh editathon ran during ILW 2015. Ally and Sara Thomas came to help. Ally was very bold and went for an event spanning the full 4 days.
We certainly couldn’t have done it without Ally and Sara but the striking thing for me was how quickly colleagues within the University took to the idea and began supporting each other in developing their skills and sharing knowledge amongst a multi-professional group. This inspired me to commission Allison Littlejohn and her team to do some academic research to look at the connections and networking amongst the participants and to explore whether editathons were a good investment in developing workplace digital skills.
This is the research I presented at Martin’s Wikipedia Science Conference which underpinned my business case for establishing a WiR at University of Edinburgh with focus on skills development as part of the University’s commitment to open knowledge.
This year University of Edinburgh is hosting an international conference on open educational resources : OER16. I am delighted to see so many papers accepted from wikimedia projects. We will also run an editathon alongside the event and hopefully convert even more OER practitioners to the joys of Wikipedia editing. Three of the keynote speakers at the event are from organisations with WiR: John Scally for NLS, Emma Smith for Oxford and me for Edinburgh. Each of these organisations are making big public commitments to open knowledge, sharing and public engagement. Partnership projects with Wikimedia UK is part of the way we do that.
WiR at University of Edinburgh
Ewan McAndrew has been appointed The University of Edinburgh’s Wikimedian-in-Residence.
His year-long residency will run from January 2016 to January 2017 and involves facilitating a sustainable relationship between the university and Wikimedia UK to the mutual benefit of both communities.
To do this, he will be an advocate of open knowledge and deliver training events and workshops which will further both the quantity and quality of open knowledge and the university’s commitment to digital literacy.
More practically, this will involve arranging and delivering skills-training sessions which will fit in with and, importantly enhance, the learning and teaching within the curriculum. He will also stage events outside the curriculum which will draw on the university’s, and Edinburgh’s, rich history and knowledge.
Wikipedia Edit-a-thons will be a large part of this; however, there are numerous ways staff and students can get involved and directly contribute their knowledge and expertise to develop Wikimedia UK’s diverse range of projects.
Ewan is based in the Learning, Teaching & Web Services Division within the Hugh Robson Link Building. You can keep up to date with the residency through Twitter, the WiR blog and through the Wikipedia Project page.
To contact Ewan McAndrew, to discuss collaborating together or just to find out more, email: Ewan.McAndrew@ed.ac.uk
In this week we will also be launching our new Edinburgh University OER showcase website Open.ed, and celebrating the ratification of our OER policy by University of Edinburgh Learning and Teaching Committee.
Next year in April 2016 University of Edinburgh will host 3 major digital education conferences back to back. The city will provide a stunning back-drop for leading educators, policy makers and learning technologists to meet, share ideas and present their research. The calls for papers for each of the conferences is open now and the lists of keynote speakers and themes offer a tempting menu for anyone interested in open educational resources, learning analytics or the challenges of learning at scale.