The Global OER Graduate Network: Open Research, Open Community, Open Values

The Global OER Graduate Network (GO-GN) is a network of PhD candidates around the world whose research projects include a focus on open education (i.e. OER, OEP, MOOC). These doctoral researchers are at the core of the network; around them, over two hundred experts, supervisors, mentors and interested parties connect to form a community of practice. The Global OER Graduate Network is currently funded through the OER programme of The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and administered by the Open Education Research Hub from the Institute of Educational Technology at The Open University, UK.

The aims of the GO-GN are to:

  • raise the profile of research into open education,
  • offer support for those conducting PhD research in this area,
  • promote equity and inclusion in the field of open education research, and
  • develop openness as a process of research.

GO-GN engagement takes place online through monthly webinars and other online events and activities (social media, newsletters, etc.) with the main interaction being a face-to-face workshop which is organised in collaboration with one of the major international conferences in open education.

The Covid-19 pandemic disrupted the usual operation of the network, and when many members were distanced from their institutions the need for an informal network of support became even more pronounced. This presentation details ways in which the GO-GN pandemic response was coordinated around the concept of developing an informal - yet supportive - community of care, based on open values and practices. This included:

  • In encouraging members to explore openness in their own context, GO-GN promoted moral values including autonomy, criticality, representation, equity and commitment to sharing
  • Co-production of community resources, including The GO-GN Research Methods Handbook (Farrow et al., 2020) and The GO-GN Conceptual Frameworks Guide (Farrow et al., 2021) as well as a special issue of the Journal of Interactive Media in Education which shared a range of international perspectives on open education with a global audience (Weller et al., 2021)
  • A continuing focus on Equity, Diversity & Inclusion, particularly in Africa and Latin America (Bossu et al., 2019; 2020)
  • Developing a Fellowship scheme to provide enhanced visibility and recognition by which postdoctoral alumni can stay involved and share their expertise with other members
  • Co-chairing the OER22 conference in London, UK.

In reflectively exploring these activities this presentation will characterise GO-GN in its aspect of a ‘community of care’ which draws on open values to support and enable its members to achieve their immediate goals, move in the direction of open practices, and give and receive emotional support.


Bossu, C., Pete, J., Prinsloo, P., & Agbu, J. F. (2019). How to tame a dragon: Scoping diversity, inclusion and equity in the context of an OER project.
Bossu, C. & Vladimirschi, V. (2020). Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Latin America in the Context of an Open Education Initiative, presented at the Open Education Global 2020.
Farrow, R. (2017). Open education and critical pedagogy. Learning, Media and Technology 42 (2): 130-146.
Farrow, R., Iniesto, F., Weller, M., Pitt., R., Algers, A., Baas, M., Bozkurt, A., Cox, G., Czerwonogora, A., Elias, T., Essmiller, K., Funk, J., Mittelmeier, J., Nagashima, T., Rabin, E., Rets, I., Spica, E., Vladimirschi, V. & Witthaus, G. (2021). The GO-GN Guide to Conceptual Frameworks. Open Education Research Hub. The Open University, UK. CC-BY 4.0.
Farrow, R., Iniesto, F., Weller, M. & Pitt., R. (2020). The GO-GN Research Methods Handbook. Open Education Research Hub. The Open University, UK. CC-BY 4.0.
Jordan, K. & Weller, M. (2017) Openness and Education: A beginner’s guide. Global OER Graduate Network. Openness and education: a beginner’s guide - Open Research Online
Weller, M., Pitt, B., Iniesto, F., Farrow, R., Bossu, C. and Vladimirschi, V. (2021). Annual Review 2021. Global OER Graduate Network.
Weller, M., Farrow, R., Iniesto, F. & Pitt, R. (eds.) (2021). Special Collection: Global OER Graduate Network. Journal of Interactive Media in Education.


:eye_in_speech_bubble: Presented by:: Robert Farrow
:sun: Conference Track: Special session
:spiral_calendar: Track Date/Time: 2022-05-23T14:20:00Z (your local time)
:speech_balloon: Language: English
:calling: Pretalx link: The Global OER Graduate Network: Open Research, Open Community, Open Values :: 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.