Tag: OpenEdFeed

Equality and diversity in IT and libraries

BITS magazine artwork by Annie Adam, Graphic Design Intern

As our regular readers across the University will know, each issue of the Information Services Group BITS magazine has a theme. In this issue we have looked across all of our projects and services to highlight the ways in which we contribute to supporting the University values around equality, equity, inclusion and access.

https://edin.ac/bits-21

As usual, our feature article showcases work across each of our groups and directorates which support learning, teaching, research and engagement.

Working within such a large institution, we are able to attract a wide range  of staff to work with us in ISG. The richest source of new colleagues is our student community. Each year ISG hosts a large number of student workers and student interns. They bring fresh ideas and new thinking to our services. This issue of BITS magazine is designed by our Graphic Design Intern working alongside our established team.

When we did our gender survey staff told us that making equality real involved everyone. For this issue of BITS we asked staff to think about  how their understanding of equality and diversity feeds into their day to day work.  We got a lot of article submissions from across the organisation.  It’s actually pretty impressive, and is a clear representation that equality and diversity, openness and accessibility are part of our values as an organisation.  Many organisations are now choosing to recognise Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) expertise as a significant area of  valuable knowledge which contributes to the business advantage and has a direct and significant positive impact on reputation.

Our back page features some of the many events that staff in ISG contribute to at the Edinburgh festivals over the summer. I hope you will be able to engage with and  enjoy them.

If you would like to know more about any of the projects described in this magazine, or about the ways we aim to embed equality and diversity expertise which has a direct and significant positive impact on our organisation, please keep up to date with our celebrations and news via our websites, social media and events across the University.

occupy your librarian

Picture taken by me in the street in Mons, Belgium. No rights reserved by me.

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.

 

‘tech-out’, the technology version of a ‘teach-out’

Rosie the Editor

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.

 

take an EqualBITE

EqualBITE: Gender equality in higher education is an open access book to which I contributed a chapter.  My chapter is about the positive power of wikipedia editathons, but the book contains a full range of ideas and responses to tackling the real lived experience of inequality in higher education.

The piece I wrote I wrote a long time ago, before we even had a wikimedian in residence and before the Playfair Steps had really got going. The book has taken a while to come to fruition.  It began as an idea to develop a set of ‘recipies’, with each of the contributions having a witty pun-laden title styled as instructions, method and ingredients. I thought that was a cute idea, but seemingly the author team lost their resolve for this, decided that recipies were too girly and decided to adopt a more formal style.

The result is still good though.
It’s free to download, or you could buy it.
It would make a lovely Christmas present.

Wanted: Equality image intern

A cartoon in our archives showing Noreen Murray as a schoolgirl being reprimanded for making clones of herself in the laboratory (a reference to Noreen’s work cloning DNA)

University of Edinburgh Library and Collections has a huge number of image collections with a wide range of art, science, portraits, people, cartoons and photographs. We would like to open up some of these images to make them more discoverable and usable as images of role models, women in science, women in medicine, diverse groups and positive representations.

Job Purpose:
Your project will be to search our collections for striking, inspirational and engaging images and work with curators to describe, digitise, publish and share them in a way which makes them easy to find and reuse. Your work will be supervised by our collection curators and archivists who will help you to describe and interpret what you find.

This internship coincides with an exciting time for Information Services Group as we celebrate the diversity of our collections. Your work will be the starting point for future projects and give us vital information to help us plan new ways of working. This is an exciting opportunity to work with some of the UK’s most interesting collections and your work will have immediate and visible impact.

Working Hours:
Working hours are 6 hours per week. Flexible conditions (working pattern to be negotiated with the successful applicant).

 

Main Responsibilities:
•You will work closely with our archivists and curators to identify where in our collections there may be images (particularly of women and women scientists) which can be found, shared and re-used.
•You will take high quality scans and photographs of the images, create descriptive metadata, store files in line with agreed workflows
and regularly add the images with their stories to a library-hosted blog.
•You will work with our other interns to ensure that the images you find are quickly used.
•You will work under supervision, but on your own initiative to use your investigative, research and search skills to discover images with
stories and visual impact.
•Throughout the term of the internship you will find and share a steady stream of content that can be easily re-used in presentations and displays around the university.
•You will gain new skill in researching collections, understanding metadata, intellectual property rights and copyright, as well as using digital scanners and digital images.
•You will work as part of a large team and independently, managing your own work projects and time, reporting on progress, publishing your findings and attendingmeetings and presentations.
•You will gain a unique insight into the library andcollections and equality and diversity issues in that context.
•You will challenge us with new ideas and summarise these in an end-of-project report.
Person Specification:
Essential:
•A current PhD University of Edinburgh student (this post is designated for the purposes of student employment, therefore you must be a matriculated student for the duration of your employment).
•A background in a relevant subject area such as gender studies, art, sociology, information studies, literature, journalism, photography, science, engineering, education, humanities, library studies, archiving, curation, human resources, management or any other relevant discipline.
•You will have a keen eye for detail, be patient and accurate and understand the
importance, beauty and power of metadata.
•Experience of searching, researching and finding things.
•Initiative and judgment to resolve many day-to-day problems independently.
•An enquiring mind and an eye for detail.
•Strong written and oral presentation skills.
•Good IT skills for using social media, working with data and targeted communications.
•Ability to set, meet, manage and monitor progress against targets.
•An engaging interpersonal style and experience of successfully persuading and influencing colleagues.
•Ability to handle irreplaceable documents and objects with care.
Desirable:
•Understanding of relevant equality and diversity themes as they relate to equality in theworkplace and the importance of visible role models and positive representations.
•Experience of researching a topic in detail.
•An understanding of how cultural heritage collections can support learning and research at universities.
•This internship would suit someone with a background in equality or gender studies,change management or human resources or someone with a particular interest inpolicies and practicalities of gender issues in library, technology or STEM workplaces.
•Creativity and resourcefulness

OER risks: why not being open now costs us money in the future.

It’s that time of year again. OER17 conference will see a gathering of the OER clans in the UK once more. Together we will map the political landscape for OER.  I will be arguing that it is OER which will save the HE institutions from Brexit, Trump and possibly Indyref2.

It is clear that business models associated with OER are in their infancy and whether any institution pursues models[…….] will be highly dependent on any given institutions business strategy.’(1)

“The clear identification of ownership and copyright permissions is integral to managing open educational resources. This means that institutions become much more aware of intellectual property in relation to the resources they create and use. “ (2)

The senior management briefing papers and guides produced as a result of the JISC /HEA funding programmes (2009-13) offered suggestions to colleagues within institutions on how to best engage with senior stakeholders. They also offered suggestions to those stakeholders as to reasons why they might invest in OER as part of strategic planning.  And yet, at many OER conferences, workshops and events the questions are still raised: ‘What can we do to get institutional support for our open education practice?’ ‘ How can we persuade senior managers?’

What piece of the puzzle is missing?   In this presentation I will offer a view from the perspective of one UK HEI senior management which I hope will be of interest and use to colleagues working in large institutions at a time of Brexit and Trump.  Making a business case for OER is simple if it aligns that activity to institutional strategies for investment, market differentiation, student and staff satisfaction or IT, IP and mitigation of risk. The context of OER includes a range of views relating to the economics of OER . This short presentation will focus on just one, but one which identifies persuading budget holders within the institution as key to successful sustainable services.

This session is a presentation rather than a workshop but please feel free to bring  a copy of your own University’s strategic mission.

 

(1)Open Educational Resources infoKit JISC[online] Available at: https://openeducationalresources.pbworks.com/w/page/24838043/Approaches%20and%20models [Accessed 11 Nov. 2016].

(2)Compelling Reasons to Adopt Open Educational Resources [online] Available at: https://openeducationalresources.pbworks.com/w/page/45742558/Compelling%20Reasons%20to%20Adopt%20Open%20Educational%20Resources# [Accessed 11 Nov. 2016].

host a wikimedian: you can’t afford not to

wikimediaconf2017-Highton[1]This week I spoke at a Wikimedia Edu conference. I spoke about the value of wikimedians in residence (WiR) for higher education (HE).  Some people have told me they can’t afford to host a wikimedian. I would argue you can’t afford not to.

There are 3 main reasons why you can’t afford not to. They are:

  1. Universities must invest in digital skills.
  2. Gender inequality in science and technology is a real thing.
  3. Wikimedians will save us from Wikimedians.

Universities must invest in the development of digital skills for staff and for students. The senior managers in your institutions will be well aware of the recent HEPI report and numerous other reports. Which urge universities to pay attention to digital skills. It is widely recognised that digital capabilities are a key component of graduate employability. To stay competitive globally, ‘the UK must ensure it has the necessary pool of (highly) digitally skilled graduates to support and drive research and innovation throughout the  economy.’

Universities do invest- some more than others. Some employ IT skills trainers, information literacy librarians, study skill tutors, they buy a site-wide license for Lynda.com. For staff they invest in staff development units, learning and development teams. They choose writing for the web training, social media training,  data management skills,  public engagement training, they choose coding for all.

If you are in a university, go look how much those digital skills trainers are paid, that is what you should be paying your wikimedian. If you have a wikimedian hiding in your library, it’s time to come out from behind the stacks and engage with the real business of teaching and learning.

We can’t afford not to develop graduates’ digital capabilities; universities need digitally-skilled staff with digitally-enabled experience.

The formal recognition of students’ digital capabilities is also important. Technology can make it easier to develop authentic learning experiences that are relevant to the labour market and help  students demonstrate their skills to employers.

If you put your wikimedian alongside your digital skill trainers and learning technologists.  Their impact can be significant.

wikimediaconf2017-Highton[1]And it’s not just about editing skills, it’s about open data, replicability, re-use, understanding sources, spotting fake news, understanding analytics, understanding copyright, being part of communities on line. Writing in different styles. Understanding how robot editors and human editors work together- all that new ‘digital labour’.

With HE students and staff wikipedia leads to discussions about privilige and geographies of knowledge, transparency, bias, and if there is ever a ‘neutral’ point of view.  If our staff and students choose to participate in developing new tools, they are developing tools as part of a world-wide  open-source software development project, which is  a significant authentic opportunity.

Gender inequality in science and technology is a real thing, and that is the second reason why you can’t afford not to have a wikimedian in residence.

Your institutions will all be participating in Athena Swan initiatives to some extent.  To achieve Athena Swan awards departments must show how their workplaces and practices tackle the structural barriers for women working in academia, specifically in the STEM disciplines. The Athena Swan assessors like to see evidence of networks and activities, highlighting achievements, and role models and  visibility.

One of our early editathons at Edinburgh – focusing on the Edinburgh 7– the first women to study medicine,  was cited as an example of good practice by the institution in preparing our submission for silver award. Edinburgh was the first of the Scottish institutions to gain that award. The challenges of overcoming structural inequalities which mitigate against  women’s contributions  is an endeavor higher education shares with Wikipedia. It is not enough to say women don’t participate because they don’t have time or technical skills. It is not enough to say that if women learned to behave more like men they would be able to fit in or join in. It is not enough to say that the world of Wikipedia- and science in general- is ‘neutral and fact driven’ and thus free from bias.

wikimediaconf2017-Highton[1]The first step maybe to target articles about women, and recruit new female editors, but  as soon as you go a step beyond that, and apply some kind of Wikipedia Bechdel test –does an article about a woman scientist draw upon a credible source written by a woman? Do those credible sources about women scientists exist, if not why not?  You quickly come up against a wider structural issue about womens participation in academia and scholarship, and promotion, and publication.*

So I suppose my point here is that if you are making a business case for a WiR and you can’t get the funding straight away from the digital skills budget holder, you might be able reference your own institution’s Athena Swan activity and show how the kind of work activities a WiR would do would deliver successful, measurable outcomes for gender equality initiatives.

Which brings me to the third reason why you need a Wikimedian in Residence- is because dealing with Wikimedia is a job in itself.

Wikimedia has developed, in quite a short time,  a particular culture amongst its community. Also it’s tools , toys and projects are growing at a rate of knots.  It’s hard to keep up unless you are immersed.

Sprawling bureaucracy and policy labyrinth is very familiar to those in HE- particularly those in ancient institutions. We also know about exclusive language and communities of practice. There is some irony in the fact that Wikipedia cannot explain itself clearly. Its policies, its processes, its rules and community.

What I have learned from hosting a WiR to develop curriculum activities for students is that is it just not that simple. I was lucky to get one who is already a teacher, because he has had to do a lot of work to ‘translate’ Wkimedia’s policies and processes into ways we can engage.

wikimediaconf2017-Highton[1]Editing as an individual is a different activity than editing as a group or class. Classroom activities – learning and teaching activities- need to be carefully designed and structured and although this can be done successfully it takes a bit of work and that’s what we need a resident to help us with. So if Wikipedia can meet educators halfway and explain its process simply & effectively (e.g. a detailed lesson plans, a robust Visual Editor, easy to follow video tutorials etc) that would really help teachers and trainers in their workplace.

We can’t expect learners and teachers to bend themselves completely out-of-shape to accommodate Wikipedia when there are things we can do quite simply to which would bridge the gap: highlighting its rubrics, assessment criteria, word count tools, plagiarism & copyright detectors and past course assignments & materials etc. Modelling good practice and sharing exemplars will lead to takeup in courses.

Students come to classes and staff come to staff development sessions to learn in groups and that group work activity requires time, effort and resources before during and after. We are working towards that at Edinburgh, creating and sharing re-usable lesson plans and models for classroom activities, but it is that ‘translation’ role between the technology and the teachers which is missing.

‘Twas ever thus in learning technology. This is not new, this is what learning technologists do. It is timely for Wikipedia now.

And in return, we  will enrich content with our collections and expand the range of knowledge covered. We will contribute not only our research to Wikipedia but do research with and about Wikipedia. We will use the data sets being shared and study how the work of knowledge sharing and gathering is conducted.

And hopefully we will all end up pulling in the same direction.

 

  • Please read
    Heather Ford and  Judy Wajcman
    ‘Anyone can edit’, not everyone does: Wikipedia’s infrastructure and the gender gap’
    Article in Social Studies of Science, May 2017

 

the time is now

picture taken by me at Gartner conf. No rights reserved by me.
picture taken by me at Gartner conf. No rights reserved by me.

The Festival of Creative Learning includes a variety of events being run by staff and students across the University. The festival runs from 20-24 February and we are running, and collaborating, on a variety of events – do come along and join us! You can view the full calendar of events on the Festival of Creative Learning website: www.festivalofcreativelearning.ed.ac.uk

 

A Public Art Puzzle: A symposium on Sir Eduardo Paolozzi’s Tottenham Court Road Mosaic Arches at University of Edinburgh

Fragments of Sir Eduardo Paolozzi’s mosaic arches from Tottenham Court Road were donated to the University in 2015. Hear from, and engage with, the specialists tackling the art historical, curatorial and conservation challenges that this high profile gift has presented.

Board Game Jam: The Expansion

We’re taking board game jam design skills to the next level. We’re looking at prototyping and play testing as students take existing games from previous jams and give them an upgrade.

Crowdsourcing Conservation

A two-day event where 30 students will aim to rehouse section II of the Laing manuscripts – the University’s most important written collection.

Designing for you: Collaborative design techniques for better student experiences:

Collaborative design workshop to highlight the needs of students and look at how different course structures, layouts and technologies could deliver better experiences.

Design the Future of Digital Education

Automated tutors? Boredom sensors in lecture theatres? Analytics dashboards to help students map learning? Video-making instead of exams? Augmented reality lectures? Digital dissertations? All these aspects of digital teaching are already possible: but do we want them?

Gender, Global Health and Justice Wikipedia Editathon

Women across the University who work on issues related to gender, global health and/or justice are invited to participate in a day-long Wikipedia edit-a-thon.

History of Medicine Wikipedia Editathon

Focusing on areas under-represented on Wikipedia such as: the celebrating History of Nursing as it celebrates its 60th anniversary, the Scottish Women’s Hospital, the Polish School of Medicine and more.

Making history: a Feminist Craft Project

Historically, and in the present day, women’s achievements and contributions to society have been erased from history – let’s change that! Join us at the Lothian Health Services Archive to explore our materials on women’s history, and make our own history through a crafty zine-making session.

MOJO and Beyond (A guide to mobile film making)

An introduction to the mobile film making kit available for loan with a show and tell. Followed by a panel session with experts from the world of broadcasting and media.

Successes in Online Learning

Bringing together experience across the institution on delivering teaching online from MOOCs to Masters to CPD.

The Edinburgh IoT Challenge

The Edinburgh IoT Challenge is a week-long activity enabling students and staff to learn and build new applications and services using Internet-of-Things technologies.

grab some scottish pussy

If you feel the urge, as Donald Trump sometimes does, to grab some pussy, this 3D model of the skull of a Scottish Wildcat (Felis Silvestris) made by Dr. Tobias Schwarz, of the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies has been shared as OER on Sketchfab where it can be viewed, grabbed, re-used and re-shared.  It’s a cat with big teeth.

You and I both know that phrases like ‘grab ’em by the pussy’ does not go down well with Scottish women, nor with our national Bard,  Robert Burns. Even in 1792  he warned that such locker-room banter was old-fashioned.   Burns’ poem on ‘The Rights of Women‘ describes three rights we can expect from men: protection , decorum and admiration.   On decorum I am confident he would have stood with most men and scolded Trump bigly.

‘There was, indeed, in far less polish’d days,
A time, when rough, rude men had naughty ways,
Would swagger, swear, get drunk, kick up a riot,
Nay even thus invade a Lady’s quiet.

Now, thank our stars! those Gothic times are fled;
Now, well-bred men-and you are all well-bred-
Most justly think (and we are much the gainers)
Such conduct neither spirit, wit, nor manners.’

On protection of our rights, one week in to the Trump presidency, I’m not filled with confidence. The pictures from the White House of Trump’s all-male advisors gleefully signing executive orders is chilling.

‘While Europe’s eye is fix’d on mighty things,
The fate of Empires and the fall of Kings;
While quacks of State must each produce his plan,
And even children lisp the Rights of Man;
Amid this mighty fuss just let me mention,
The Rights of Woman merit some attention.’

At our Burns Night supper this week I was grateful to be reminded by Sian that it was Hilary Clinton who coined the phrase “Human rights are women’s rights, and women’s rights are human rights,” . That was more than 20 years ago (1995) at  the United Nations Fourth World Congress on Women in Beijing.

“What we are learning around the world is that if women are healthy and educated, their families will flourish. If women are free from violence, their families will flourish. If women have a chance to work and earn as full and equal partners in society, their families will flourish. And when families flourish, communities and nations do as well. That is why every woman, every man, every child, every family, and every nation on this planet does have a stake in the discussion that takes place here.”

If only that had been more important than how she managed her emails. This episode of ‘This American Life‘  Act 1: ‘Server be Served’ describes how Secretary Clinton was  scupperd by her own IT support.

The interviews “depict less a sinister and carefully calculated effort to avoid transparency than a busy and uninterested executive who shows little comfort with even the basics of technology, working with a small, harried inner circle of aides”.

( Act 2: ‘Knowing what we Know’, a dramatised conversation between Hillary and Huma is excellent too)