When @OEGconnect tags you - your’e motivated to respond
I’ve dedicated my life’s work to open sourcing education. As many OER practitioners know, there is a lot of hard, collaborative, but unseen work that goes on in the trenches behind the scenes. In 2020, I was fortunate to receive an OEG Leadership award for longstanding involvement in Open Education.
The OEG Award of Excellence is the only accolade I’ve received, that has a permanent and dedicated spot on my desk - I see it every working day and it is a motivation that work in open does get noticed. It is gratifying when a peer takes the time to submit a nomination for these awards. If you know of someone doing good work in Open Education - take the time to put in a nomination and reward their efforts for sharing.
In 2021, the OER Foundation’s FOSS digital learning ecosystem was also recognized through OEG’s Open Infrastructure Award for Excellence with gratitude to our very capable Open Source Technologist, Dave Lane (@lightweight) who keeps these systems running and shares technical recipes as OER for any institution to replicate these open technologies. Thanks Dave!
This award has inspired us to conceive a new emerging initiative - The FOSSDLE Commons which we hope will evolve to become a global cooperative for shared technology infrastructure supporting OER.
The OER Foundation Board of Directors recently approved the FOSSDLE Commons as a strategic project for the Foundation (with a little help from the OEG award for excellence). In the coming months we will be refining the concept for sharing and scaling the initiative. Thank you OEG for motivating us to sharing better with the world!
I was honored to accept the award on behalf of my former org., the Digital Higher Education Consortium of Texas, but particularly on behalf of the primary author of the resource, the amazing @carriegits. It really belongs to her. The recognized resource is Texas Learn OER, a ten-module, self-paced introductory course that has since been adapted by other states and institutions. I think that the OE Award was crucial for providing visibility to the resource. And in fact, I am currently adapting parts of Texas Learn OER to use in a toolkit on course marking I am developing on behalf of the Online Learning Consortium for one of Texas’ institutions, Tarleton State University! It continues to be an invaluable resource for me (and I hope others).
As an example of being part of an award recognized project, I was on the team lead by Tannis Morgan @tannismorgan (then at JIBC now at Vancouver Community Colleges) that created and delivered the UDG Agora, a program that earned the Professional Development award in 2017 (our own news story here):
This was an onsite and later online program in 2016 and 2106 developed collaboratively with and for several hundred faculty at the University of Guadalajara that emphasized open practices and materials openly shared aimed at integrating mobile technologies, web based media, and openness into their courses.
These were easily among the best projects I ever got to work on, both in terms of the collaboration and teamwork in creating and being on site to facilitate them, but more for the genuine and enthusiastic connections made with the participants, some of whom i was later able to make connections with for a Networked Narratives course I co-taught where we had students in New Jersey take a virtual bus tour visit to Laura Aguilar’s class in Puerto Vallarta. I still hear from colleagues in twitter via the #UDGAgora tag,
At the time I was working as an independent consultant… I guess the big followup to this story was I eventually joined the staff OEGlobal in 2020.
Also, when the original project management was going to drop support to maintain the web sites, I adopted them from my personal web hosting accounts.
Last year I was nominated for the Leadership Award, but to my big and pleasant surprise, I was awarded with the Lifetime Achievement Award. A big surprise, because it made me realize the impact I had on the open community outside of the Netherlands. I was not aware of this. For me, this award motivates me to continue my work in the open field after my retirement at the beginning of this year. At times, it is a conversation starter with newbies in this field to advocate for adoption of OER.
I strongly suggest to nominate someone who is your open hero. S/he will be boosted to continue their efforts for the public good and contribute to realising the UNESCO SDG’s
Somehow the OE Awards accompanied my exploration of Open Education since the beginning of my journey. I was at my first OE Global in Krakow in 2016 and listened to some of the Awards winners who inspired me while benefitting from the welcoming approach of the whole community.
Being a recipient of an Award of Excellence gives teams new energy to move forward with an open approach even when the context is still in its infancy. It also ignites opportunities for new collaborations, helping others do the same and providing visibility to the efforts and the outputs. The value of the community dialogue ignited by the Awards is invaluable for me!
BCcampus has been privileged to have been awarded 3 OE Global/Open Education Consortium awards over the years. The first 2 were in 2015 & in 2016 back in the Open Education Consortium days. Both the 2015 and 2016 awards were in the category of Creative Innovation. 2015 for the B.C. Open Textbook Project and 2016 was for our open textbook accessibility toolkit. We then won our third in 2021 in the Open Pedagogy category for the Open Education Challenge Series.
Pragmatically, these awards have helped us legitimize the practice of open education in our system with those whom may not have a deep understanding, or even awareness of, open education. This has been especially true with some of our primary funders who may not be aware that open education is a global movement and practice and the work we do locally on their behalf has a global impact. To be able to show them that the financial investment they make in our work locally has a global impact is a powerful story to tell, and the awards have been a tool for us to tell that story to them.
The awards have also been a reason for us to celebrate both the people in our organization and our collaborators from the higher education system who did the work that resulted in the award. The award has been an important tool to be able to raise the profile of people within their home institutions and to raise the profile of open education within those institutions which often introduces new people at those institutions to the idea of open education.
Finally, while we have won other awards for our work, these 3 are very special to us given that they were chosen by our global peers, and it always feels good to be recognized by your peers for the work you do. We are very grateful, not only for the awards we have received over the years, but for the global community of open educators that are part of OE Global.