In natural ecosystems, complexity, high biodiversity and interconnectedness are required for a sustainable and resilient ecological system. Similarly, we can design open education networks that are built on diverse human infrastructure and invest in the relationships amongst individuals and institutions that promote resilience, vibrancy and long-term sustainability of open educational resources and practices.
Whereas organizations are typically more top-down, providing information, training, conferences, and other opportunities to members, networks are more relational, and their priority is to connect and distill the collective experience and shared expertise of the network members. Instead of the organization providing all the services, network members themselves identify and contribute/participate in creating activities and/or sharing information, with the organization providing the support and infrastructure to enable this. Members help create the benefits/value with support of the organization so there is a focus on give and receive. (Tener 2013*)
In this learning lab we invite participants into a conversation where we can explore the possibilities of open education networking at regional, national, continental, and global levels. There are numerous regional open education organizations in many nations across the world that serve the people in their local environments. However, many advantages might arise from larger scale networking that could connect organizations across regions, nations and the globe:
Provide more opportunities for collaborative projects and idea sharing
- Spur innovation
- Grow and leverage cognitive diversity
- Empower a wider diversity of participants to drive open education agendas
- Reduce redundancy, increase efficiency, avoid reinventing the wheel
- Provide support and fill in gaps so that each organization doesn’t have to do everything
- Increase the number of professional learning and other kinds of opportunities available to everyone
OE Global’s North American based Regional Leaders of Open Education Network (RLOE) educates, supports and connects individuals that are working as open education leaders at all levels within their institutions across the U.S and parts of Canada to especially support underserved and marginalized students. The RLOE model could be expanded and/or adapted to provide networking in other areas of the world. (For example, there could be an RLOE for Latin America, or Europe, or Africa, etc.)
To further support and connect the work of continental or national networks, a Global Open Education Network Hub could be created to connect these larger RLOE networks and their local regional organizations nested within them. The Global OE hub could centralize information flow and facilitate communication between networks.
During this session, we will grapple with the questions below (and other questions that participants may raise), spend time brainstorming, and draft models for global open education networking.
- In what regions of the world do we need to build more OE networks? Can we use RLOE as a model?
- How could a Global Open Education Network Hub support continental, national and regional networks? (A network of networks). What would it look like? What cyberinfrastructure is required?
- How can networks help support the needs of marginalized communities across the globe?
- How do networks help to nurture a diverse range of leaders that drive agendas for open education?
- How can networks help individuals who are not typically thought of as leaders to identify their sphere(s) of influence and empower them?
- How can we create robust connections between the large number of existing open education organizations, institutes and networks within and between nations?
- How do we create more centralized connections and communication among OE organizations that support and not dominate or erase the particular needs of local organizations and individuals?
- Can larger networks provide a roadmap to the services and opportunities of smaller organizations and therefore provide access to open education leadership training for more people across the globe?
How do we fund and support networks?
- Does the web monetization model discussed in the 2021 OE Global Rapporteur report** offer any possibilities?
*Tener, Beth (2013). A network vs. a professional membership organization. New Directions collaborative. A Network vs. a Professional Membership Organization - New Directions Collaborative.
**Karen Cangialosi is a rapporteur for the OE Global 2021-2022 conference
Presented by:: Karen Cangialosi
Conference Track: Learning Lab
Track Date/Time: 2022-05-25T12:00:00Z (your local time)
Pretalx link: Exploring Possibilities for Global Open Education Networking :: Open Education Global 2022 :: pretalx
Authors are asked to reply below with links to presentation materials, videos, and other relevant resources, as well as posting prompts for discussion.
Conference participants can reply below with questions, comments for the presenters or to share related resources. And please add anything relevant from this session as an annotation to a specific part of the UNESCO OER Recommendation.