Tag Archives: oer17

04Jan/18

2017/2018, the turn of the year

A new year, starting quite differently to last year. Last January I outlined a plan for the year with the goal of submitting my PhD thesis by December 1st. I submitted on the Winter Solstice… close enough 🙂


Completing and submitting the thesis left me feeling mostly… exhausted and relieved. The Solstice/Christmas/New Year break has been a wonderful opportunity to recharge, and I look forward to my viva within the next couple of months. So this January it feels like I’m starting afresh — ready to begin a new job and to take on a few new projects. On January 15th, I’ll begin a one-year post in CELT (the Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching, here at NUI Galway). I’ll coordinate and teach a postgraduate Teaching & Learning module, contribute to professional development courses, and get involved in other projects related to my open education research. So before all that, I’m taking a cue from Lorna Campbell’s wonderful year-in-review post, summarising some highlights of the past year.

2017: year in review

Spring 2017 was a time of travel and conferences. In March I spent nearly two weeks in Cape Town participating in the Open Education Global Conference and the associated GO-GN workshop. I’d wanted to attend #oeglobal for a few years and it exceeded even my high expectations — a truly global perspective on open education past/present/future. The conference prompted a long reflective blog post and new ideas for my research, which I plan to share at #oeglobal 2018 (and in future blog posts!).

The 3-day GO-GN workshop for open education PhD researchers took place immediately preceding #oeglobal. It’s difficult to describe the power and impact of this workshop for me, and indeed for all of us who participated. To share research and deep reflections on the research process with open researchers from around the globe (six continents) was a powerful experience in itself. The creative and sensitive leadership of the OER Hub (Bea de los Arcos, Beck Pitt, Rob Farrow, Martin Weller, and Natalie Eggleston) facilitated the creation of a strong and lasting community. The GO-GN network is active throughout the year — a wonderful resource for all open education researchers and practitioners.

GO-GN Cape Town (almost everyone) March 2017, CC BY-SA

During my time in Cape Town, I was honoured to spend a day at CILT (the Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching) at UCT. Work by CILT researchers such as Laura Czerniewicz, Cheryl Hodgkinson-Williams, Glenda Cox, Sukaina Walji, Cheryl Brown (and many more) has been a touchstone for me since my first steps into open education. I have so enjoyed getting to know each of them over the past few years — it was a pleasure and a privilege to visit and to share ideas.

In April, Jim Groom came to Galway! Thanks to funding from the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, as well as Jim’s generosity, we hosted his workshop at NUI Galway, inviting participants from all other higher education institutions in Ireland. Jim, joined on the day by Mike Cosgrave from University College Cork, explored many facets of Domain of One’s Own and Next Generation Digital Learning Environments. Here’s a full summary of the workshop (Google doc), with links to many resources.

Jim Groom, Caroline Kuhn & Simon Warren, NUI Galway, April 2017

April also brought the OER17 conference in London… another highlight of the year. The OER conference is a gathering/community of open education practitioners and researchers from higher education and beyond. I love this conference for many reasons, but particularly for the way it continually pushes the boundaries — never failing to ask difficult questions and challenge assumptions. The 2017 theme, The Politics of Open, was prescient and made for an outstanding programme. I co-facilitated sessions with both Caroline Kuhn and Laura Czerniewicz, participated in the final plenary panel, and joined one of the many VConnecting sessions. Like many participants, I couldn’t resist blogging afterward 🙂

VConnecting at OER17 (@friedelitis)

It was, most definitely, a year of two halves. The latter half of 2017 was focused primarily on writing. The ‘key shift’ from blogging and informal writing, even writing academic papers, to writing a thesis was a challenging experience. As the year progressed, and the pace of thesis writing (and re-writing, reviewing, re-writing) increased, I found that I blogged less, as I was in a different mode of writing. I found it difficult to switch back and forth, although I did blog a couple of times about the process, which was helpful.

Although my focus was on writing, I very much enjoyed participating in various conversations and webinars during the year. Some of the highlights for me were the #YearofOpen conversation on Open Pedagogy, the EDEN webinar/conversation on How to Be More Open (with Lorna Campbell, Fabio Nascimbeni, Chrissi Nerantzi, and Lisa Marie Blaschke). I also enjoyed joining staff and students in several webinars based on my PhD research for the Open Education Tuesdays series, Royal Roads University, e/merge Africa, and OpenMed (all links on the Presentations tab above). End-of-year highlights included joining the NetNarr students in an Open Research (#ResNetSem) webinar facilitated by Alan Levine, and a visit by Laura Czerniewicz to CELT at NUI Galway in November. So many wonderful conversations!

Pleasures of the year included a week of reading in the sun in Portugal…

reconnecting with the best of friends in Galway…

making new friends and memories in Cape Town…

and being in their company for one of the most humbling and unforgettable afternoons of my life, on a tour of Robben Island…

 

I am grateful for all of the special times of 2017 with family and friends in Kinvara, Galway, Cork, Dublin, London, Edinburgh, Lochmaben, Estoril, Lisbon, and Cape Town.

Here’s to more wonderful work, more equality, more resistance, and more love and justice in 2018.

 

 

19Apr/17

#OER17: personal and political

So many important conversations, so much valuable work, so many new connections made and friendships celebrated. Thanks OER17.

Over the past 11 days or so since OER17 ‘The Politics of Open’ ended, I’ve read as many conference blog posts as possible. There are a remarkable number of interweaving stories and interpretations of the conference, all unique (see the list of OER17 posts). I’ve commented on many blogs but neglected to write my own post… so here I’ll link to some of the posts that have struck a particular chord with me, and add just a few thoughts.

One conversation immediately following the conference has stayed with me. I found myself in lively conversation with co-chairs from four OER Conferences: Martin Weller (OER15), Lorna Campbell (OER16), Josie Fraser (OER17), and Vivien Rolfe (OER18). Each (I think) has been involved since the very first conference. The conversation touched on the fact that each conference has pushed beyond the previous one in a considerable way, and indeed none would have been possible without the previous ones. This is something I have observed since I began attending in 2015, more so than with other conferences — most notably in the engagement with critical approaches to openness. This seems to apply to our work in open education also.

Many OER17 participants have remarked and/or written about the conference focus on criticality, equality, social justice. The conference created space for the personal and the emotional, described in wonderful posts by Sheila MacNeill, Kelly Terrell, Suzan Koseoglu, and Lorna Campbell. OER17 was also a conference of great generosity — in ideas as well as personal interactions. Maha Bali arrived from Cairo bearing gifts, and her keynote mentioned countless others whose words and work she has learned from and built on. She acknowledged and shared these while weaving her own unique story of openness. This generosity continued throughout the conference. Some presenters shared their slides before the conference, inviting feedback (e.g. Frances Bell & Suzan Koseoglu), and noting that comments and feedback helped them to develop their ideas even further. The work of Paulo Freire was referenced by many participants (e.g. see Javiera Atenas & Annalisa Manca) but so was the work of many other activists and educators, quite a few of whom were at the conference. Collectively, we knitted our ideas, publicly and generously, into a broader body of work.

OER17 keynotes: Maha Bali, Diana Arce & Lucy Crompton-Reid – photo by Josie Fraser, via Twitter

The strong and diverse voices of women were notable at the conference — from the 3 brilliant keynote speakers onward. Thank you, Maha Bali, Diana Arce, and Lucy Crompton-Reid. Helen Crump reflected on this in her thoughtful post, Thinking critically about women & care relative to openness. It was intentional that FemEdTech chose OER17 to share their/our collective and nascent ideas for an open network of feminists in edtech and open education, inviting conversation and participation. If you are interested in exploring, please check out current conversations at @femedtech and #femedtech and do get in touch.

All of these conversations move us forward: the tentative, the inviting, the declarative, the challenging. As David Kernohan notes in his brilliant post Roaming Autodidacts and the Neo-Reactionaries: “the will is as important as the tool… the will to collaborate, corroborate and develop”.

Finally, I want to thank all whom I collaborated with before, during, and after the conference.

I’d like to mention many, many more lovely conversations and thought-provoking sessions from OER17. Please check out the OER17 blog posts to explore some of these. These conversations will continue, there is no doubt. I am very grateful to two presentations in particular —  Beck Pitt and the OER Research Hub for illuminating international OEP and Sukaina Walji and ROER4D for exploring OEP in Global South contexts. You have sparked my thinking in new ways and offered exciting possibilities for collaboration. Thank you 🙂

Thanks finally to all OER organisers, keynotes, presenters, and participants. Every voice, every person, was part of creating this special happening. The ripples continue…

Image: OER17 Themes, CC BY 2.0 Beck Pitt

 

31Mar/17

Grateful for openness

Post-#OEGlobal and pre-#OER17, my mind is on fire. At the end of Open Education Week and Brexit week; working on another draft chapter for my PhD, yet pulled in the direction of events in Ireland, the US, Mosul, Venezuela and more, my mind is on fire. I have many posts to write but I shall write one, in gratitude.

To my GO-GN colleagues, including the OER Hub team who pull it all together so beautifully, I thank you for an unforgettable week of scholarship and friendship in Cape Town earlier this month. Together we shared meals, our work, our worries, our stories, photos of our families, our dreams for the future. We worked for hours together, we walked in Cape Town together, and some of us visited Robben Island together. I thank each of you for giving and receiving so openly. I look forward to learning from and with you all in the future.

To all who shared your work, your ideas, and your feedback at OE Global, thank you. I’ve blogged already about my initial reflections; your work is still resonating with me.

To Lisa Marie Blaschke, thank you for inviting Lorna Campbell, Chrissi Nerantzi, Fabio Nascimbeni and me to participate in EDEN‘s #OpenEducationWk webinar this week to explore “being open” with educators and researchers — so enjoyable to share stories and resources.

To the #101openstories team, thank you for starting something beautiful this week. I loved the#101openstories I read by Frances Bell and Sheila MacNeill, and hope to read more. Thank you all.

To Jim Groom, thank you for accepting our invitation to come to Ireland! You’re in Cork today, heading for Galway on Monday. A warm welcome awaits you here, from 40 people bursting with curiosity and ready to explore Student as Partner, Producer and Assessor: Exploring Domain of One’s Own. Can’t wait 🙂

To Josie Fraser, Alek Tarkowski, and the ALT team, thank you for organising and meticulously planning OER17. The conference is already facilitating some incredible conversations and collaborations around the politics of open. Next week’s conference, with so many ways to participate (looking at you Virtually Connecting at OER17), promises to be something special. Muireann O’Keeffe, Laura Czerniewicz and I are grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the plenary panel Mapping the Politics of Open – we’ve been enjoying our conversations as we prepare for that.

Also, thanks Laura Czerniewicz for jumping into the unknown with me as we combine our thinking for our OER17 session: Critical pragmatism and critical advocacy: Addressing the challenges of openness. And Caroline Kuhn, thank you for modelling open and generous scholarship so deeply at  GO-GN and OE Global, and for our extended conversations about what we have learned in our respective PhD research studies, which we’ll share in our OER17 workshop: Towards open praxis: Storytelling and narrative inquiry in open education research.

And finally, thanks to my PLN, i.e. all the smart, generous, courageous human beings who inspire me every day to do and stay true to this work.

I am grateful for openness.

Image: Revolución a la Educación es Aquí CC0 by @cogdog

…and with that image credit (yes, I know it’s CC0, but still nice to acknowledge the creator 🙂 ) a final word of thanks to Alan Levine for embodying the spirit of openness and open learning so completely (and with joy). Thanks @cogdog.

 

03Mar/17

Open conversations at #OEGlobal & #GO_GN

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Day 1, Cape Town – Flickr CC-BY catherinecronin

I’m currently in the final year of my PhD research study/journey/adventure, planning to submit my dissertation at the end of 2017. Over the next two months, however, I’ll be mixing up my writing time with a few much-needed opportunities to engage with other open education practitioners and researchers – in places slightly more convivial than my usual writing spaces. 🙂

#OEGlobal and #GO_GN

Firstly, I’ve just arrived in Cape Town for the annual Open Education Global Conference and GO_GN workshop. A long-time follower of #OEGlobal, I’m delighted to be able to attend the 3-day conference here on March 8-10. That sponsorship is thanks to the GO-GN network, organized by the OER Hub at the Open University. I’ll join 14 other doctoral researchers in the area of open education for a 3-day #GO_GN workshop immediately preceding the OEGlobal conference. I look forward to meeting and exchanging ideas and feedback with a global group of open researchers – some of whom I already know and others whom I look forward to meeting. Martin, Bea, Rob and Beck promise a busy few days. We are ready!

In preparation for discussions over the next several days, I’ve shared a post-print of a paper based on the first phase of my PhD research study: Openness and praxis: Exploring the use of open educational practices in higher education. The paper will be published this year in The International Journal of Research in Open and Distributed Learning. I welcome any feedback and/or suggestions.

#OER17

I’ll also participate in OER17 in London next month, April 5-6th. The theme of the conference, “The Politics of Open”, resonates with many of our collective concerns right now, both within and beyond higher education. The programme contains a wonderful mix of sessions, focusing on issues including access, equity, balancing advocacy and criticality, working within and beyond HE structures, addressing politics at multiple levels, and moving forward in open education. I particularly look forward to the keynotes by Maha Bali, Diana Arce, and Lucy Crompton-Reid. I’ll be participating in a few different sessions. I’ll join Laura Czerniewicz for ‘Critical pragmatism and critical advocacy: Addressing the challenges of openness’, and Caroline Kuhn for a workshop on ‘Using the power of narrative research to illuminate open educational practice’. I’ll also partner with Muireann O’Keeffe and Laura Czerniewicz in a final plenary panel at the end of the conference.

Learning, Assessment, and Reclaim Your Domain

Last but not least, many of us in Galway are looking forward to welcoming Jim Groom on his first visit to Ireland. Jim will facilitate a one-day workshop at NUI Galway on Monday, April 3rd: Student as partner, producer and assessor: Exploring Domain of One’s Own. The workshop is part of a year-long seminar series sponsored by Ireland’s National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching & Learning in Higher Education. Jim has already blogged about his visit – and I will post again closer to the time. For now though, please check out the workshop description and Eventbrite link and consider making the trip to Galway, or following on Twitter on the day.

And now, first full day in Cape Town, I am off to meet Cheryl Brown, Laura Czerniewicz and many more of the wonderful team at CILT at University of Cape Town. Can’t wait…

Image: Day 1, Cape Town CC-BY catherinecronin