Collaborative practice is the way forward – together we can be resourceful and make things happen. Money for development projects has dried up and often, if there is any available, the big sharks get there first. If you are small and want to develop open learning opportunities, you might or not, have seed funding to go ahead. However, there are advantages to independent unfunded projects: you will be able to move faster and make things happen more easily. Weller (2011) called this little Open Educational Resources (OER) and includes small-scale open practices. Finding like-minded people to work with is no longer a challenge in the networked world. Digital practitioners know where to look when they need help and act (Bennett, 2012). They experiment and play with ideas, concepts and develop practices. However, social learning creates opportunities for all. Social and mobile media are bringing us closer together in networks and communities. We make stuff and make things happen together, with others in our networks, but most importantly we share. We share ideas, experiences and emotions but also creations. The reality is that there will always be limitations but there are plenty of opportunities for all of us to be imaginative and consider thinking inside-the-box, but we also have the option to break free from within!
A potpourri of mainstreamed OER innovations in the area of professional development of teachers in HE is shared where grassroots mainstream open practices attract more than just early adopters (Rodgers, 1983), digital residents (White & LeCornu, 2011) and digital practitioners (Bennett, 2012) and help individuals to develop, grow and play a key role in the social process of their own learning and development. Blending informal and formal learning is a key feature together with the flexible and collaborative nature from conception to developer offering, and related research. Informal cross-institutional collaborations that can be scaled up if we want to, have come into existence, new frameworks and models of and for professional practice are emerging that make CPD stimulating, invigorating and change practices. Are they changing cultures too? Could this be a way forward to normalise the use of open practices and develop sustainable solutions that can be mainstreamed in other disciplines or professional areas? Could little OER trigger big changes? These aspects will be shared by presenting real examples of open CPD and how it has helped to change practice.
Bennett, L. (2012) Learning from the early adopters: Web2.0 tools, pedagogic patters and the development of the digital practitioner, Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.
Rogers, E. M. (1983) Diffusion of Innovation (3rd ed.), London: Free Press.
Weller, M. (2011) The Digital Scholar. How technology is transforming scholarly practice, London: Bloomsbury Academic.
White, D. S. & Le Cornu, A. (2011) Visitors and residents: Towards a new typology for online engagement. First Monday 16(9), available at http://firstmonday.org/htbin/cgiwrap/bin/ojs/index.php/fm/article/viewArticle/3171/3049