Exploring barriers to participation in open, online learning

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Rebecca Ferguson
15 May 2017

Pete Cannell and Ronald Macintyre

Presented by Rosemarie Mcilwhan

Opening Educational Practices in Scotland Project (OEPS) is a three-year cross sector project supported by the Scottish Funding Council and hosted by the Open University in Scotland. The aim of the project is to understand why open education has had a limited impact on widening participation and to work with partners to develop effective practice designed to overcome barriers to participation.

During the course of the project the OEPS team has worked with more than 60 organisations, including universities, colleges, third-sector organisations, unions and employers. Using methods from participatory design, and insights from the discourse and practice of widening participation, the team has extended its understanding of Open Educational Practice. In particular, joint working with unions and third-sector partners, with shared values of social justice and collective activity, have enabled us to develop a deeper understanding of barriers to participation.

In this paper we will share some of our findings and present a small number of case study examples of how we have incorporated them into a number of free open courses, co-created with partners and hosted on OpenLearn Create. In the course of this we will comment briefly on the value that co-design of open courses designed for widening participation has for the partner and the university.

 

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