I am not sure why, but it took some serious licorice intake to overcome my inertia in order to write something reflecting the Towards Openness workshop I co-facilitated at #OER17. It might be that the impressions and ideas are hard to sort out, but you have to start somewhere. What this shows, though, is that we somehow seem to have hit a nerve. People I admire for their work have responded to the theme of safety in open online learning in ways that I would have never expected. We had provocateurs who took time and effort in coming up with mind-boggling provocations, we had fantastic onsite participants who came up with interventions to marvel at (find all resources on our website), Frances Bell and Jim Groom blogged about the workshop in retrospect, Bryan Mathers drew (Is that an accurate description of his magic?) a couple of images during and after the workshop. We had a Missed Conversation on Virtually Connecting with onsite participants, provocateurs and others who could not make it to our session (during which I accidentally set the frame to fixate on me, which only adds to the embarrassment of moderating an online session with people who are both smarter than me and are more eloquent conversationalists than I am). The twitter stream includes a wide range of educators. So this would be enough material, ideas and conversations to write plenty of posts about, which probably made it harder for me to start the first one.
tl;dr: OER17 made me think about the way educational institutions, initiatives and networks operate. Holacracy came to mind and I try to evaluate its use for these kinds of structures.
As I pointed out before: OER17 has not come to an end yet. I keep on remembering conversations, re-reading session descriptions, browsing through project websites, and I still have to catch up on some blog posts.
One theme that continues to make an impression on me is that of ‘organization’. Jim Groom noted that this conference is not driven by vendors or , but by “the people who still have real skin in the game”. I agree with that and I think lots of these people are re-thinking the way they have been working, be it in individual projects driven by grants and project funding, be it as educators and researchers in educational institutions, as employees of some vendor, lobbyist group or association (or anything in between).
The idea of organizing ‘open’ seems strange and people smarter and more renowned than me have been trying to define and claim open education, specifically, over and over. However, organizations and the way they operate, the way they interact within and without, can be drifting or steered towards openness or towards closedness. A structure or an organization whose members try to do things in the open while the organization remains closed itself, will create tensions within and without of itself, which is why we included administration as a driver of openness in our OER16 workshop; see the Towards Openness page for some more details. Continue reading →
#OER17 does not feel like it has ended yet. Most of its attendees left the conference site last Thursday but you can still see vibrant activity on twitter, there are plenty of blog posts coming in and a work day (and then some) could easily pass by following these activities. I know from experience.
I talked about some of the sessions that resonated with me with Markus Deimann in our podcast (a record, we talked for over 2 hours) but I still have a couple more things to say or to expand on. Continue reading →
tl;dr: I listened to a podcast and it triggered a possibly flawed comparison to safety in open learning. And because I will be on my way to facilitate a workshop at #OER17, I thought I should share my thoughts in a short blog post.
I listened to a recently repeated episode from 2002 of This American Life, one of the podcasts I regularly listen to. The episode is called “Testosterone” and you can find it here. One part of this podcast contains an interview that producer Alex Blumberg conducts with a transgender man, Griffin Hansbury. They talk about perceptions of gender and sexuality and the unique point of view that Griffin Hansbury has with regards to gender stereotypes. As a small example, he claimed that now, that he is seen by other men as competition, other men tend to veer towards him regularly as if they were marking their territory on the streets. Some of them even body check him. Walking down the street as a man opened a small new world to him that most other men have always been aware of. Continue reading →
tl;dr: I tried to pin down some thoughts from a podcast we recorded a while back and slipped into a comparison of OpenEd scenes in Germany and the rest of the world, especially the UK and the US. I then pulled myself together and even managed to link to my own work that I presented at #OER16
In the middle of December 2015 Markus Deimann and I invited Martina Emke as a guest to our podcast (we record the Podcast in German as it is our native language). While Markus and I usually just ramble on about what has been happening in between recordings (a theme we copied pretty much from the early concept of the mostly fabulous TIDEPodcast), we aimed to focus the discussion a bit this time. At the bottom of this page, I embedded the podcast recording.
At the time of the recording, the OER17 conference committee were still reviewing the submissions and it became pretty clear that this will be an inspiring conference which will send its delegates home with new perspectives, ideas and experiences on everything open in education. After last year’s OER16 which was themed around Open Culture, OER17 now tackles important questions around the Politics of Open. As many have noted before me, a theme that could not come with better timing.
Also, the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research had just launched a program aiming to foster and facilitate production and use of OER in the German educational landscape. In short, a project called OERInfo is supposed to make OER in Germany more visible to educators and other stakeholders while a decentralised effort to qualify educators is undertaken within educational institutions. Leuphana University, where I am employed, is part of a joint project with two other German universities that combines an approach of Service Learning with the use of OER. This program by the ministry is very much focused on content as well as training of staff. More far-reaching concepts like pedagogy, connectedness, a shift of dynamics in the teacher-student relationship or learning in networks find only little, if any mention in this program. I think you can safely say that most experts and initiatives in Germany are content-driven, while also considering licensing and infrastructure to host and disseminate the content. Continue reading →