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Archive for August, 2018

Introducing UCL’s open education initiative

Patrycja ABarczynska29 August 2018

Today, C. Yogeswaran from UCL’s Open Educational Resources (OER) project writes about open education at UCL.

What is open education?

Open education, like open access and open data, centres on a commitment to provide access to high quality education and educational resources to a global audience.

As the Open Education Consortium declares, “sharing is probably the most basic characteristic of education: education is sharing knowledge, insights and information with others, upon which new knowledge, skills, ideas and understanding can be built”.

Open education typically involves the creation and sharing of openly-licensed learning materials – open educational resources (OER) – that can be re-used and enhanced by the community. OER can include lesson and course plans, exercises, diagrams, animations, video or audio lecture recordings, presentations, handouts, mock papers/tests, reading lists, and so on.

There is also alignment with open scholarship, open science, and open society ideals which foster communication between academia and the public. It also inspires new ways of undertaking education by removing (economic, geographic, and other) barriers to usage, allowing anyone with an Internet connection to use published OER.

How is research relevant to open education?

Research papers, when openly published, can be used not only for further research, but also as a basis for teaching, providing practical, current, and tangible content to tackle discipline-specific questions.

Curating and packaging research-based studies, which include additional descriptive and support documents such as workbooks and educational guidelines, allows for focused and supported reuse for teaching. 

Such research-based OER can be used to teach research methods and, once embedded, can give students real-world and practical tools to learn with and use for inter-disciplinary study, increasing the use and impact of research.

Why share educational materials?

Publishing teaching/training resources (which can include student-generated content) will have wider global reach and impact, and attributing the UCL brand to your output should provide quality assurance for other users.

Published OER can be cited and referenced by others and can be included in publications (tying into the Academic Promotions Framework, which rewards open behaviours, for example), adding value to teaching and research, and raising professional reputation.

What are the benefits?

While the initial creation of educational materials from published research outputs can require some consideration, sharing these will allow the creators to promote good practise, collaborate with other educators and learners, and respond to UCL promotional criteria that require publication of educational materials.

There is some evidence that re-using high-quality OER is a time- and cost-saving activity, as one can edit existing educational materials to make content specific to a programme or class. OER use can also provide the chance to learn in different ways, i.e. a flipped classroom, and insight into the research-based teaching approaches of fellow practitioners in another field might lead to collaboration, inspire teaching and research, or contribute to original output.

Showcasing student content and feedback is also a great way to demonstrate the outcomes of teaching/training, promote courses for prospective students, and engage students in the publishing process.

Getting involved and learning more

If you have any content you would like to upload to the repository or if you require further information, please contact the OER team at oer@ucl.ac.uk who will be happy to support you.

To find out more about open education or to contribute to this practice at UCL, ask to join the mailing list by emailing  oer@ucl.ac.uk, or attend the next meeting of the open education special interest group (SIG). This will be held on Tuesday 11 September 2018 11am-12pm in room 712, Maple House.

We will also be present at RDM/RITS drop-in sessions if you’d like to talk to us or learn more about creating OER from your research data. Information about upcoming SIG meetings and RDM/RITS drop-in sessions can be found here.

More information about the project is available on the OER website, or you can follow us on Twitter @OpenUCL.

FORCE11 – reflections on afternoon workshops

Patrycja ABarczynska24 August 2018

This summer saw the second FORCE 11 Scholarly Communication Institute (FSCI) held at the University of California, San Diego, which I had an amazing opportunity to attend. Participants of the FORCE 11 summer camp selected three courses from an extensive course list; morning classes ran through the whole week, afternoon ones took place over two days.

Open South: The Open Science Experience in Latin America and the Caribbean

For my first afternoon course, held on Monday and Tuesday, I attended the workshop Open South: The Open Science Experience in Latin America and the Caribbean, which was taught by a group of librarians and researchers: Gimena del Rio Riande, Researcher from Instituto de Investigaciones Bibliográficas y Crítica Textual (IIBICRIT), April M. Hathcock, Scholarly Communication Librarian from New York University, Wouter Schallier, Director of Hernán Santa Cruz Library and Daniel O’Donnell, Professor of English at University of Lethbridge, Canada.

We learnt about the long history of Open Science in Latin America and the Carribean, and discussed national laws in Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and Peru that seek to make scientific knowledge produced with public funds openly available. The instructors also highlighted regional projects such as Scielo (collection of open access journals from 14 countries) and redalyc.org (another platform of open access journals, created by Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México). The projects play an important role in making open access the most established communication model in the region.

At the end of the workshop we discussed how to make the Open Access movement more inclusive, how to bridge the gap between the Global North and the Global South. The classes made me reflect on how limited my view of Open Science was, and I realised rich the movement is outside of Europe and North America. One of more interesting initiatives is South-South Programme ran by CLASCO that integrates a network of researchers from the Global South.

Public Humanities as Scholarly Communication – brainstorming

Micah Vandegrift, Open Knowledge Librarian at North Carolina State University and Samantha Wallace, PhD candidate in English at University of Virginia led my Wednesday – Thursday workshop on Public Humanities as Scholarly Communication. Discussion in the class focused on two texts: Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Giving it Away: Sharing and the Future of Scholarly Communication and Sidonie Smith, Manifesto for the Humanities: Transforming Doctoral Education in Good Enough Times.

The class turned into a brainstorming exercise; we are used to discussing Digital Humanities, but Public Humanities go further than Digital Humanities and securing Open Access for publications. There was a long and thought provoking discussion on nature of humanities, and the public, where we reflected on the role of the public in public humanities, and how public is intrinsic to humanities. The discussion in turn led to creating a new framework for public humanities, aligned with citizen science, and that would engage public and communities. Further reflections on the class from one of the instructors, Micah Vandergrift, are available here.

FORCE11 – report from Data in the Scholarly Communications Life Cycle workshop

Patrycja ABarczynska20 August 2018

This summer saw the second FORCE 11 Scholarly Communication Institute (FSCI) held at the University of California, San Diego, which I had an amazing opportunity to attend. Participants of the FORCE 11 summer camp selected three courses from an extensive course list; morning classes ran through the whole week, afternoon ones took place over two days.

Geisel Library – Main Library of UCSD

In the mornings I attended Data in the Scholarly Communications Life Cycle workshops. The class was expertly and entertainingly* run by Natasha Simmons, Program Leader, Skills Policy and Resources at Australian National Data Service (ANDS). The course was structured on the 23 (research data) Things, a self-directed learning programme developed by ANDS, suitable for everyone, regardless of their skills and prior knowledge. The programme is full of resources and fascinating data, have a look yourself here.

We started with an introduction to research data (of course!) and discussed data in the scholarly communications lifecycle – this offers a framework for understanding research processes, and a good (interactive) example is available here. We also talked about data sharing models, and challenges around data sharing.

For Tuesday’s session Natasha invited Stephanie Simms from California Digital Library, who presented an introduction to data management plans and DMPonline tool. We also heard some open data stories, from Australia Telescope National Facility that makes available images of the sky collected at the facility, and from The PetaJakarta Data Sharing Project that gathers data from social media (in this case Twitter) to collect information about flooding in Jakarta.

On Wednesday Reid Otsuji from UC San Diego talked about the Open Science Framework and The Carpentries – a way of acquiring new coding and data skills for researchers and librarians. We also talked about making research data FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable), and used FAIR data assessment tool to look at some openly available data. This provoked a discussion on how easy it is to make research data FAIR (not that easy!) and how institutions could provide the infrastructure and support that are required.

Data in the Scholarly Communications Life Cycle – Open Data Debate

 

The following morning we had guest speakers from UC Berkley, Rachael Samberg and Maria Gould, who presented on licensing research data. This was an extremely interesting talk, and discussed copyright and licencing of data both generated and used by researchers. Later in class we discussed issues around personal and sensitive data. On Friday Gustavo Durand introduced Dataverse – an open source platform developed at Harvard that allows researchers to publish, cite and archive their research data. At the end of the workshop Natasha introduced persistent identifiers and their use in data citation, and we explored different citation styles.

Hands on exercises throughout the course allowed me to experience working with research data, and see issues around data managment from researcher’s perspective. Guest speakers provided me with an opportunity to gain expert insight into many aspects of research data management, and the course structure allowed for numerous discussion and debates. This in turn made me reflect on how nuanced managing research data can be, not only when it comes to copyright and licencing.

*I learnt a lot about Australian wildlife too!

FORCE11 Scholarly Communication Institute (FSCI) 2018

Patrycja ABarczynska16 August 2018

A couple of weeks ago I attended the second FORCE 11 Scholarly Communication Institute (FSCI) held at the University of California, San Diego – a week long training course with workshops led by experts in their fields. FSCI was attended by librarians, researchers, students, post docs, and administrators from all over the world. This presented an excellent opportunity to learn about scholarly communication practices and processes at institutions not only in the United States but also in countries like Australia, Argentina, Canada, Chile, China, Nigeria, and Russia.

Participants of the FORCE 11 summer camp selected three courses from an extensive course list. All classes were very intensive, run in form of workshops and required high level of active participation and beforehand preparation from attendees. Morning classes ran through the whole week, afternoon ones took place over two days; this allowed for in-depth learning experience, and gave an opportunity for stimulating discussions. Evening activities included a slideshow karaoke (which was fun!), do-a-thon (a work-sprint where people with different skills work together on different projects), and a party at Scripps Institution of Oceanograhy that included Scripps Pier tours and famous fish tacos.

FORCE11 Scholarly Communications Institute at the University of California, San Diego

My morning classes, Data in the Scholarly Communications Life Cycle, were expertly and entertainingly led by Natasha Simmons from Australian National Data Service (ANDS). The sessions were based on the 23 (research data) Things programme developed by ANDS, with guest speakers that introduced specific topics related to data managment. The classes provided us with an opportunity to work with data managment plans, create metadata for existing datasets (which proved more difficult than we all thought!), and of course stimulated many discussions.

We discussed licensing, the approaches to signing the commitment and FAIR data assessment tool, and how the research data lifecycle offers a framework for assisting with how to understand research processes. The highlight of the course was the open data debate, in which we argued for and against making your research data openly available. The classes helped me understand the issues and challanges around making research data open, and the nuances involved in the processes and licensing.

Data in the Scholarly Communications Life Cycle

My first afternoon class, held on Monday and Tuesday, was on the Open Science experience in Latin America and the Carribean, and was taught by a group of librarians and researchers from Argetnina, Canada, Chile, and United States. We learnt about the long history of Open Science in Latin America and the Carribean, and discussed national laws in Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and Peru that seek to make scientific knowledge produced with public funds openly available. The instructors also highlighted regional projects such as Scielo and redalyc.org that have played an important role in making open access the most established communication model in the region.

Open South: The Open Science Experience in Latin America and the Caribbean

Micah Vandegrift, Open Knowledge Librarian at North Carolina State University and Samantha Wallace, PhD candidate in English at University of Virginia led my Wednesday – Thursday workshop on Public Humanities as Scholarly Communication. The class turned into a thought provoking discussion on nature of humanities, and the public. It made me reflect on the role of the public in public humanities, and how public is intrinsic to humanities; engaging public and communities should be a natural part of academic investigation.

Public Humanities as Scholarly Communication

Discussions in and outside of classes were inspiring, as is meeting people who are passionate about increasing access to knowledge and learning about the practices that differ from your own. The level of workshops delivery was excellent; observing different styles of teaching and how instructors engage with their audiences made me develop new ideas for training sessions that I provide for UCL academics. I found this intensive and demanding course, converstations with instructors and attendess extremely stimulating. And all of this in sunny California, where you see hummingbirds on your way to the class, on a university campus half an hour from the beach.

La Jolla beach

Further details on the workshops, including links to materials, will be available on the blog next week.