Framework for the development of open educational practices


Image of students siting on the grass with open written across the image


Academic Council has approved the Framework for the Development of Open Educational Practices. A copy of the Framework is available for download by clicking the panel below.

Framework for the Development of Open Educational Practices (v1.1)

The Framework is underpinned by the university's Open Educational Resources (OER) policy. A copy of the OER Policy is available for download clicking on the panel below.

Framework for the development of open educational practices

Open educational practices, in forms including ‘open digital’ and ‘open in the community’, are evident across the university. However open education is still an emergent area for the institution, and one that we have been actively developing over the last two years, for example, through critically exploring how the connected concepts of openness, space and place relate to our educational practices and provision, and through engagement in initiatives including OERu and the Open Education Practices Scotland (OEPS) project (Pitt and Smyth, 2017).

Building on our existing work as outlined above, the University of the Highlands and Islands is committed to further developing open education practices. Although implicit in much of the practice across the university this is made explicit in the Learning and Teaching Enhancement Strategy value 'Harnessing open education approaches', which states:

"Developing online and other open education practices and approaches to support and enhance learning and teaching, to use, create and share open educational resources, and to widen access to education including within our local communities."

Over the coming months the Learning and Teaching Academy (LTA) will be engaging with colleagues across the university by offering a series of events exploring aspects of open. Colleagues will be encouraged to contribute to the dialogue and the development of the university's Open Education Framework.

Opening up education has benefits for individuals, academic institutions, society, business and the wider learning community. Some of those benefits are:

  • To reduce or remove barriers to education
  • To allow people to upskill or reskill cheaply and flexibly 
  • To modernise education 
  • To bridge formal and informal education
  • To increase individual and institutional reputation
  • To create demand as a lead-in to further services
  • To unlock academic silos and paywalls
  • To increase audience reach

Open education takes many forms, and whilst the university will endeavour to encourage all forms of openness, the following 6 areas have been identified as a priority:

  • Open textbooks: use, creation and publication of etextbooks and building on the publishing processes and experience gained through the eTIPS project.
  • Open educational resources: use, creation and sharing of materials at all levels of granularity; from an image to an assessment.
  • Open pedagogic practices: aided by the introduction of HTML rapid development tools such as Forge, and the creation and sharing of online courses and content.
  • Open learning opportunities: inward and outward use and identification of open learning opportunities such as open webinars and open conferences.
  • Open scholarship: publication by staff and students in open journals such as the JPAAP and involvement in the entire open scholarship journey.
  • Open educational research: harnessing open scholarship opportunities to disseminate research that has been undertaken into our own educational practices, including sharing of educational research datasets.

You can read more about open educaional practices by visiting the Open Educational Practices resource page.


Pitt, B. and Smyth, K. (2017). Creative open everyday practice: Thinking differently at UHI. Case study produced for Open Education Practice Scotland (OEPS) project. [online] OEPS (Open Education Practices Scotland) Website. Available at: [Access 27th March 2020].