Call for Proposals: "It’s About Time" for OpenEd24!

The call for proposals is open for the 2024 Open Education Conference, which will take place as a hybrid event on October 8-10 in in Providence, RI, USA and online around the world. The conference theme, “It’s About Time,” captures the essence of open education’s dynamic evolution, calling on us to learn from the past, seize the present, and build a future where education is truly open, inclusive and transformative for all.

Submissions are welcome for fully virtual, hybrid, and in-person sessions on a range of timely topics. Visit the Call for Proposals for details, guidelines, and review criteria.

The submission deadline is Monday, April 15 at 11:59pm Pacific Time (GMT -7:00).

Also…

Invitation: Become a Proposal Reviewer
The OpenEd Conference Program Management committee is seeking volunteers who would like to be involved with the proposal review process. Sign up here!


Judith Sebesta, Ph.D.

Board of Directors

2024 Open Education Conference

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I’m getting fuzzy on remembering my OpenEds-- 2009, 2010, 2012, 2016, 2020, 2023… but it’s definitely time for 2024.

Kudos to the planners for offering the hybrid format. What time is it? (repeat your answer out loud).

If you have been part of this conference in the past, please share a highlight.

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I attended for the first time in 2019 and was so excited to take part, only to learn that there would be a major shift in the conference. Then the pandemic happened and even though I’ve participated virtually whenever I can, it’s difficult to get the same experience virtually (when you’re being called to help at the reference desk or cover an instruction session, etc.). I’m looking forward to the chance to see people in person!

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This is a key observation. And it’s not only work that calls, it’s family responsibilities, walking the dogs, that calls for a different mode of participation. I go back often to this three part series by Dominik Lukes looks at the Challenges, Strategies, and Platforms for moving events online

The key part is where Dominic outlines the affordances, the environment, settings of a conference venue, like the time spent in hallways, that are not the same online.

Also, this PLOS article on Ten Rules to Host an Inclusive Conference is a broader look at the conference design/planning issue, reinforcing that inclusivity is built in.

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Agreed that there are SO many positives to a hybrid conference. In my position at the time, these articles would have been beneficial to set some boundaries to allow me to take part virtually in a much more focused way!

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You have heard me before on this, but making a “conference hybrid” is not nearly the only way to open the conference experience.

I am a bit baffled that mostly when this is discussed, the focus goes to “virtual presentations” but when you think about all the elements of a conference experience and what one gets out of it by attending, doing presentations is just one part.

So again I will add this important research by ITHAKA on the design of copnferences for scholarly societies after pandemic lockdowns:

It is too early to tell whether the virtual meetings of 2020-22 were anomalies, but a casual observer might reasonably describe the “new normal” as nearly identical to the old one. A closer view suggests a more nuanced picture. Virtual-only meetings remain visible parts of the conference landscape, annual meetings now routinely include virtual and/or hybrid programming, and many societies are now offering regular virtual content that might previously have been in-person events throughout the year. These changes do not amount to a radical transformation of the genre, but they do indicate that societies—never the most nimble and risk taking of organizations—are incorporating some COVID-era practices into post-COVID annual meetings.

As well as the statement that the format of a conference says something about the values of the organizers, as made visible by the Open Education Conference.

But again, a conference does not have to be the effort to try and give the same experience to distant and on the ground participants.

To your comment about the challenge of the experience, I also found a great resource in A Checklist for Conference Organizers

Between autumn 2019 and summer 2020 Antonia Sladek investigated several academic online conferences by means of digital ethnography / media anthropology.

In this presentation the author outllines what she considers key aspects for creating copresence despite physical distance: The visibility of audiences and individuals, the temporal coordination regarding time difference and everyday duties, and the navigation through multiple media infrastructures.

Based on her thesis, she lists some challenges, questions, and ideas that organizers of virtual and hybrid conferences could take into consideration. 

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What a great discussion and sharing of resources! I’m glad my post sparked it. Thanks, @cogdog and @heatherb.

Definitely these are all great resources, and I hope more conferences start having the interactive and flexible component that message boards provide. One of the best conferences I attended during the pandemic had a whole system for attendees to get points through participation, attending, presenting, commenting, and sharing relevant articles. It was actually super fun. That said, there is still something more electric about being able to video conference live that is especially enjoyable. I’m so jealous of all the people who will be at the conference in Australia- I’ve wanted to go there since 3rd grade, but haven’t been able to make it happen. Maybe I will get there in the next decade… In the meantime, I’m still making my way through the OEWeek2024 playlist on youtube :slight_smile: Probably will download a couple of the podcasts to listen to during my commute as well.

My favorite ‘affordances’ of online and hybrid conferences are increased access worldwide and the opportunity to meet new friends and associates. Connectivism in action!
Recent examples are the collaborative OERxDomains Conferences by Reclaim Hosting and the Association for Learning Technology.
As an independent lifelong learner, I don’t have institutional support to attend one conference, much less several conferences on different continents each year.