The third HEA Change Academy event for Embedding OER Practice took place on 19th June. Projects are now over half way through and teams are identifying the wider issues of support and resourcing needed to ensure their outcomes are sustainable. While each team is working on how OER practice can support generic aspects of the higher education experience, the overall project is revealing some valuable insights into how the principles of open education can best be adopted as a whole institution strategic approach.
Primarily it is highlighting how the processes of engaging with OER are part of a much wider picture. This is how staff and students are supported to work effectively within digital environments. You could call this digital literacies but again that’s only a part of the whole. It’s also about producing interactive, inclusive multimedia content, electronic submission, marking and feedback, plagiarism, eportfolios and pdp – all part of having the confidence and competence with digital working practices – and it’s into this mix that you’ll find the principles of open education and the use, reuse and repurposing of open educational resources.`
There are lots of terms which could encompass all this – elearning, blended, online or virtual learning, learning technology, digital academic practice or digital enhancement of teaching and learning. Multiple names which all basically refer to the same thing. The shift from face to face interaction to the internet. While coordinating this project I’ve been reminded of the great push towards embedding the virtual learning environments of the 1990’s where the focus was more on the technological systems and less on how they would be used. There is still much to be learned from these days. Open education is first and foremost about changing practice and do do this effectively requires putting in place the appropriate support for people as much as for machines.