Where would you start?



Newcastle Libraries

tl;dr: I started to curate a list of topics, trends, literature, people and conferences related to open education, open learning and teaching, connected learning and many more. Take a look here and please do add readings, comments and links. Thank you!

Over the last years, co-workers and colleagues have frequently asked me something similar to this: “I’d like to read up on the recent developments in open education. Which resource can you point me to as a starting point? Which blog or text, which author or publication is most valuable to you? Where should I start if I wanted to dive into connected learning (depending on the context, replace with: open learning, digital pedagogy, open teaching, online teaching, personalization of online learning…)?”

Depending on who asks and on their context, but also depending on the amount of time on my hands, my answer can turn out quite differently. I usually come up with 2-3 references for someone to start with – depending on their background, their assumed expertise and interests or regarding their specific question. Of course, these recommendations are biased by what I have read and what I care about on that particular day and, even if I tried, it would never be an exhaustive list or overview. It would not even come close to doing this question justice. Now, most recently, I was not only asked for some recommendations on the fly, but for an exhaustive list of publications, authors, conferences and the like. And while I still certainly have not reached the status of an expert in any of these fields, I wonder what would have happened if someone I trust had provided me with a list of resources and people she admired when I started out in online learning and open education four years ago.

Four years ago, I stumbled into the world of online teaching and learning. By coincidence and because I had (and still have) the privilege to work with great colleagues, we happened to take lots of decisions that we are okay with still today. Some decisions, or better: their results, still give us headaches today. However, all of these decisions were ill-informed and I would have loved for a trusted colleague or friend to point me to a couple of resources that set the scene for me.

So, today, I try to answer these questions with the best intentions. And in doing so, I still don’t do them justice. I should be able to try and introduce the complex world of online teaching and learning by lining out the key developments. When someone asks about online assessment and credentialing, it feels wrong not to introduce them to work on digital literacy, to learning analytics and its critique, to rhizomatic learning and learning in networks, to issues around privacy, security and safety in online learning, to digital identities. Try and fit that in a tweet, a two-minute conversation or in a short email.

This is why I started to collect and curate my recommendations in a Google Doc. I am doing it out in the open because I hope that this sort of compilation is of use to others, but also because I am hoping for you to help me (if you are still reading these lines). Please do add to the document itself, share your own list if you have one, point me to other resources that I missed, question my categorization of areas and trends. I would be amazed to hear from you. Thank you.