TEPL-SIG webinar

On 2st February 2012 isobel Falconer and I led a webinar for the TEPL-SIG (Technology Enhanced Professional Learning – Special Interest Group) on Open Practices which aimed to encourage participants to consider their own practices. We considered open educational practice (OEP) but also touched on issues around wider open practices with a focus on how this might differ for people in different stakeholder roles (learner, teacher, employer -or even a mix of these). We were keen to take a broad view to emphasise that open practice in one aspect of your life can lead to or influence openness in other areas. The level of participation was excellent and I left hoping for an opportunity to take this further as we only had time to touch on a few issues.

The group included people from around the world with several different roles and levels of experience with OER or OEP. It was nice to have some of the UKOER project team members there as we were drawing on their work and the work of the UKOER  programme to illustrate our discussions. We made a wiki page for participants to refer to prior to the session with specific reference to the new briefing paper on open practice across sectors. below are the slides that we used for the session.


Before talking about UKOER and findings we asked particpants a series of questions which really got the discussion flowing (see slides 2 and 3). We were basically asking if open practice is a new concept or if our existing practices are just changing – not rocket science to be sure but a useful way to get participants to reflect on their own practices and how these are impacted by organisational cultures. As expected we did have attendees from professional contexts where some organisational knowledge was seen as a commodity that shouldn’t be shared. We discussed issues around degrees of openness where, in some contexts, there were valid reasons for maintaining some restricted access – a good example of this being around patient data in the NHS.

Isobel offered some insights from the UKOER programme which led to discussion around the motivations for open sharing and the benefits in different contexts. We finished with by considering the challenges and barriers for different sectors.

What is always frustrating at events like this where you have a very fast moving text chat is that people say something really interesting and then chat moves on and you don’t have time to really delve into a particular aspect. The conversation touched on areas such as:

  • inequalities and whether OER adds to the rich/poor divide or actually helps to challenge it
  • issues around use – the differences between learner/teacher use and how the means of production impacts on quality and size of OER/OCW
  • organisational showcasing
  • notion of institutions paying ‘lip service’ to the principle of being ‘open’ online but not necessarily considering the value of this in a local community context
  • sustainability and embedding of tools to support open processes (and challenge of integrating these into existing practice)
  • issues around confidence of individual teachers
  • fears of litigation
  • questions about why we are even talking about this – are some initiatives already making our discussions obsolete (Coursera, Udactity, MITx)
  • how current initiativess around assessment and accreditation are going to impact on things

One of the people attending suggested that we hold the webinar again during open education week which has not been possible – but we hope publishing this post will at least provide some useful information to support the activities during the week and you can watch the recording of the session too. we would be delighted if you would like to continue the conversations we started here in the comments section too.