Opening up Spaces to Support Rural Business in Scotland

Macintyre, Ronald and Roebuck, Jeremy (2016). Opening up Spaces to Support Rural Business in Scotland. In: oer16: Open Culture, 19-20 Apr 2016, Edinburgh.


The Open University has a commitment to releasing core curriculum openly, while we have always edited for “the open” tailoring has been minor. Rural Entrepreneurship in Scotland is a different model. It is based on material to develop your business idea from across our academic programme. However, the material has been revised significantly to place it in a rural Scottish context. Setting up a business or social enterprise is a complex and personal undertaking. It is about more than knowing the right steps, it is about applying that knowledge in context. The module materials are designed around “real” case studies developed with key stakeholders within rural Scotland. One of the benefits of releasing curriculum in this way is the ability to evaluate how it works in the world and adapt it accordingly. For example, we are using the analytics to track topics of particular interest and looking at how we can enhance and improve those components. One of the benefits of low cost reversioning content for less populated curriculum areas is the ability to invest resources in supporting and understanding how resources are used in practice. Through these workshops with rural entrepreneurs we are able to assess how open education operates in practice for practice. We have learnt from working in the open, our analytics suggest the finance component is of crucial, while our outreach work suggests we need to develop a new component on generating entrepreneurial ideas.

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