What a joy and a privilege to travel to Inverness, Scotland to participate in the Open Education Conference #OER23 last week. For me, the OER Conference is always special – both because of the warmth and openness of the community as well as the critical focus on open education research and practice. I’ve loved participating in the conference every year since 2015, and particularly enjoyed co-chairing with Laura Czerniewicz when the conference came to Galway in 2019. This year’s conference, perhaps like much of our work in this moment, was inflected with the urgency of the multiple challenges and crises we face, as well as the gap (for most participants) of not meeting one another in person since before Covid. The programme was outstanding, and the joy of sharing work/ideas/stories/questions and our lives was real.
I’ve many thoughts and reflections following the event – which will require two blog posts. In this first short post I’ll summarise my presentation Higher Education for Good: Criticality, resistance and hope. In the next post (part two), I’ll share reflections on my experience of the conference as a whole.
Higher Education for Good #HE4Good
The book Higher Education for Good: Teaching and Learning Futures, co-edited with Laura Czerniewicz, is due to be openly published in mid-2023. In my #OER23 presentation (slides here) about the book, I described its genesis in pandemic times. After months of discussion and imagining, Laura and I published a global call for proposals in January 2022, inviting educators, students and scholars any/everywhere to respond. Specifically, we invited #HE4Good authors to share how they acknowledge despair, engage in resistance, imagine alternative futures for higher education for good, and foster hope.
The response was overwhelming, with nearly 100 proposals received. Just over one year later, after committed work by authors, reviewers and editors, the manuscript was completed. In February 2023, the manuscript, comprising 27 chapters by 74 authors in 18 countries, was sent to our publisher for review. Chapters are in multiple forms and genres: critical reflections, poetry, conceptual essays, speculative fiction, visual and audio, dialogue, graphic reflection; the book also includes artwork. Authors address a diverse range of topics related to “higher education for good: teaching and learning futures”, e.g. humanising learning design; data justice and design justice; decolonising knowledge; critical pedagogies and critical data literacies; ethics of assessment; infrastructures of care; models of collaboration and partnership; blended and open learning ecosystems; and more.
In our introductory chapter, we as editors sought to identify principles of good in higher education based on the depth and breadth of work across the book, as well as the wealth of global scholarship and experience on which it is based. We began to see emerging something akin to a manifesto for higher education for good – and we grasped this idea. In the book we offer five tenets towards a manifesto for higher education for good:
These five tenets are:
- Name and analyse the troubles of higher education
- Challenge assumptions and resist hegemonies
- Make claims for just, humane and globally sustainable higher education
- Courageously imagine and share fresh possibilities
- Make positive changes, here and now
I invited you to read Laura’s partner blog post Towards a Manifesto for HE for Good for further details.
If you’d like updates about the book’s publication and follow-on events, please bookmark this document which will be updated regularly: http://bit.ly/HE4Good_updates. You can also check the hashtag #HE4Good.