Web Magazine for Information Professionals

Events: OER16 - Open Culture.

Lorna M. Campbell introduces the Open Educational Resources Conference 2016 (OER16). This will be held in April at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, and will focus on the theme of "Open Culture". Participants will be looking at how open culture can be embedded into institution's learning, teaching and research offerings.

In April 2016 the University of Edinburgh will host the international Open Educational Resources Conference, OER16, which is coming to Scotland for the first time in its seven-year history.  The OER Conferences have their roots in the Jisc/HEA Open Educational Resources Programmes (UKOER) which were funded by HEFCE between 2009 and 2012.  Since the conclusion of the UKOER Programmes, the conference has gone from strength to strength and now attracts a diverse range of international speakers, delegates and keynotes. This year’s Conference Committee has welcomed members from the UK, US, Canada, Mexico, Germany, Greece, Saudi Arabia, India and Mauritius. 

OER16 is being co-chaired by Melissa Highton, Director of Learning, Teaching and Webservices at the University of Edinburgh, and Lorna M. Campbell, Digital Education Manager at EDINA and OER Liaison at LTW.  The Association for Learning Technology is supporting the conference. 
The University of Edinburgh has a long tradition of openness and civic engagement, a world class reputation for encouraging innovation in open education and a forward looking vision for sharing OER. The sharing of open educational materials is in line not only with the University of Edinburgh’s mission, but also with a global movement in which research-led institutions play a significant role.
The theme of OER16 is Open Culture and the conference will focus on the value proposition of embedding open culture in the context of institutional strategies for learning, teaching and research.  Conference themes include:
One aim of the conference is to start to break down some of the barriers between different open communities: open education, open knowledge, open data, open GLAM; and with this in mind, a diverse range of keynotes and invited speakers has been lined up. 
John Scally, Chief Executive and National Librarian at the National Library of Scotland, will focus on the Library’s new strategy: “The way forward: 2015-2020”, which lays out the path to turn the NLS into a digital destination making its 24 million items accessible online over the next 10 years. John will outline the range of approaches the NLS is taking to opening up access to cultural resources and discuss the challenges for leadership in this area at a national level. “Our role is to be the guardian of the published and recorded memory of Scotland for current and future generations. Our aim is to make the knowledge held within our collections as widely available as possible.”
Catherine Cronin, of the National University of Ireland, Galway, will be asking “If ‘open’ is the answer, what is the question?”, and exploring how we can broaden access to education in ways that do not reinforce existing inequalities.  Catherine believes that engaging with the complexity and contextuality of openness is important, if we wish to be keepers not only of openness, but also of hope, equality and justice.
Jim Groom, of Reclaim Hosting, ds106 and edupunk fame, will be asking: what would happen if we could imagine technical infrastructure as an open educational resource? How would our conception of OERs expand if we could easily and efficiently create and share applications across institutions? With the shift in web infrastructure to the cloud, and the advent of APIs and containers, we may be entering a moment where the open culture of networks, rather than pre-defined educational content, is representative of the future of OER culture. 
Melissa Highton, Director of LTW, University of Edinburgh, will discuss the challenges for leadership in open educational resources, the role of universities in open knowledge communities and reflect upon the returns and costs associated with institutional investment. Melissa believes that “there are shared areas of the internet, where we all have a civic responsibility to contribute and participate. The big cultural organisations such as universities have an important role to play.”
Emma Smith, Professor of Shakespeare Studies, University of Oxford, will reflect on her many years producing OER in her own discipline area, through initiatives such as Great Writers Inspire, and the opportunities it has brought for her colleagues, students and her own research.  Emma’s talk will provide participants with open educational practice inspiration just in time for the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death on April 23rd.
Further information about the OER16 Conference is available from the OER16 website and on twitter (#oer16).  Registration will open in early February.