Note: This is the content of a guest blog post about the OER23 Conference, happening April 4-6, 2023 in Inverness, Scotland. I am writing during Open Education Week to demonstrate the connection between/across open education communities.
“All the OE Opens” image by @cogdog created with organizational logos licensed CC BY superimposed in a screenshot of Open/Closed flickr set of images all by cogdogblog shared into the public domain using Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication (CC0).
I am writing this just three days before the start of Open Education Global (OEG)'s annual Open Education Week March 6-10, 2023. And coincidentally (or not) we are a month out from the Association for Learning Technology’s OER23 conference hosted this year in Inverness, Scotland.
So much openness happening is between and beyond these two gatherings. As open does.
Just two years ago during Open Education Week we coordinated a live, open recording session between the leaders of OEG and ALT, published as an OEG voices podcast. Much has changed in that time span, including Paul’Stacey’s exit as OEG’s Executive Director at the end of 2022. And as we just recently learned, Maren Deepwell has announced as well her transition from a 15 year run as CEO of ALT. Open is always in transition.
In my role as Director of Community at OEG I think much about how we often talk about communities as things that are built in our physical, like they are constructed, defined places. But to me, especially aided by the affordances of online experiences, we float above, across, and between communities, often forming connections that are not bound by names or organizations, just common interests. Open is not contained nor constrained.
And that has been my experience in being a long time participant in ALT conferences participating in OER14 in Newcastle, OER18 in Bristol, then the online OER 20, OER21, and OER22 versions. Whether in person or online the OER conferences have an energy from its enthusiastic and interesting colleagues. Open has a vibrant pulse.
The week of March 6 when this post is published marks OEG’s annual effort to celebrate and bring attention to open education awareness and achievements from around the world. In its 12th year of Open Education Week, OEWeek is always a completely distributed event. All of its activities are planned and implemented first for the local/regional interests of — wait a minute, Alan, most people who are part of ALT and OER23 know what OEWeek is about! And they are already participating in related activities. Open sometimes is an inner voice.
And it is easy to find events this week to participate in via the OEWeek schedule (where times are always converted to your local time). ABeyond the scheduled events, Open Education Week also collects open assets– resources, open resources that are available at anytime. Also, we keep open the contribution form for OEWeek items, so it is not too late to add more this week. Open can stay open beyond deadlines.
This might be counterintuitive, but I would ask to perhaps find a slot or two this week to maybe look for something to participate in that you might nor normally choose to sign up for. Really? Yes! I made a habit a few years ago while at conferences to pick at least one block of time to attend a randomly chosen session, maybe a topic outside my scope or from people or organizations I was unfamiliar with. I nearly always found more than one bit of useful interest by stepping outside my usual patterns. Open expands via serendipity.
So here is the thing.
I am always looking for the (open) ways we can connect beyond/in addition to conference presentations, workshops, and all the webinars, so many webinars. Open expands in the in-between spaces.
That’s why “connect” in in the name and purpose of our OEG Connect community– which is open to view, open to join, and where many OER23 participants are already active. We have an area specifically for OEWeek that I hope can offer enough curiosity for you to explore more inter-event participation, or to share what you have experienced during Open Education Week. Just a few examples to pique your interest from the three main areas:
Know About OEWeek News and updates you may not find elsewhere, such as:
- OEWeek Live! I came up with this crazy idea to provide a twice a day webcast (watch via YouTube) that is more live radio show than webinar, to review current or upcoming activity, but more importantly, to engage in open discussions with OEWeek participants. ALT’s Maren Deepwell will be there for the first show and we are really going into the experimental end of the pool by bringing in OER23 planning committee representatives direct from their Discord space after the Thursday afternoon meeting.
Do OEWeek Activities Yes, we create a few activities open to participate in anytime, but also where anyone else can create/post one. As one example:
- Remix a Digital Postcard The art by Bryan Mathers is familiar to OER23; we put to use his Visual Thinkery Remixer to provide a fun way to share what you see and do this week.
Share OEWeek Activities There is too much going on during OEWeek for any one person to track, so here is we ask/offer a space to share a highlight/summary of a session or post more information a relevant resource related to about OEWeek. For example:
- Open Access Teaching Case Journal (OATCJ) Free to Publish and Free to Use Kim Carter from Conestoga College (Ontario, Canada) announces a new Open Access Teaching Case Journal that will be presented later in the week. Here is a chance to explore and give her feedback.
We hope whatever the OER23 community is doing during Open Education Week, that you can find ways to connect (there I go again with that word) with more via these other channels we are offering at OEGlobal.
And speaking of connection-- Maren Deepwell and are plotting some pre-conference online activities to take place before OER23.
2019/365/121 Open AND Awesome! flickr photo by cogdogblog shared into the public domain using Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication (CC0)
Hope to see you during this Open Education Week and beyond. Yes, open is awesome.