The HE Academy/JISC UKOER Programme has encouraged cross-sector approaches to OER development, and is increasingly focussing on broader issues around open educational practices (OEP). Synthesis activities for the first two phases of activity have included cultural and institutional issues across a number of sectors. Activities to date include a UKOER phase 2 programme webinar on OERs across sectors , a presentation at the JISC Innovating eLearning Online Conference in November 2011 – Open practice across sectors and a recent TELP-SIG webinar on open practices. It is anticipated that phase three activities will continue to address cross-sector issues and identify good practice for the wider community. It has become clear that a significant benefit of engaging with the concepts and challenges of OEP and OER is in the way it encourages cross sector understanding, collaboration and outcomes.
The UKOER Phase 2 Synthesis report considered practice change in detail:
“Collaborative practice has emerged as important during this funding phase. Cross disciplinary approaches are beginning to have an impact at an institutional level and reveal a new benefit of open content – that it is easily shared and co-constructed across existing boundaries. Engaging with partners outside the academic sector has been challenging but has encouraged new partnerships, trust and levels of understanding. Several projects comment that working across boundaries to develop project outcomes (business/community/academy, staff/consultants, students/teachers) has been one of the most radical aspect of their experience and has the potential to change practice more widely.”
We invite you to read one of our new briefing papers which looks at the various motivations for different stakeholders across sectors in engaging with OEP and OER and it also identifies some synergies and differences between HE and HE in FE, NHS and employers.
One of the core questions around open educational practices seems to be around the terminology:
Recognising new or changing practice as ‘open’ or OEP has added to the complexity in the field as it needs defining and explaining – is existing practice becoming more open or does it require people to change their practice? During the JISC online conference discussions many people argued that some people have been engaged in open practice (and even producing OERs) for many years but do not use this terminology to describe it. Whilst some may prefer not to use new terminology, it can be useful to engage people with the concepts and generate institutional-wide understanding that can be fed into strategy, policy and practice. It can also be valuable to situate open practices as an extension of existing practices, which may generate less anxiety or resistence and establishing OEP as a credible and valid form of scholarship has been identified by projects as one way of normalising these practices.
What are your views on this? Are you already an open practioner?