Last week as part of Open Education Week 2018 the ALT Open Education Special Interest Group hosted the #OER18 Preview webinar chaired by Teresa MacKinnon.
This webinar, which I encourage you to watch whether you are able to attend the upcoming #OER18 conference in person or not, included introductions and a teaser of the themes of the conference keynotes by the keynote speakers themselves.
Lorna Campbell from the University of Edinburgh OER Service described how she became involved in open education in the UK. Lorna was one of the first prominent names I came across as part of my scoping study into the UKOER projects. Hearing about her involvement in those early days and seeing her now as one of the leading figures in the open education community is incredibly inspiring and gives hope to those, like myself, who don’t sit in the traditional academic or research career development path in academia. Lorna’s keynote summary really resonated with me, with themes on the need to go back to the fundamentals of open education resources, and that even though we talk a lot now about practice that there is still a lot to do here. Of course, with the question mark on what exactly a resource can be (materials, code, courses, a person …) this is a complex area. The whole concept of sharing, licensing, access, infrastructure, engagement, policies in practice of OERs requires so much more attention that I can’t wait to hear what Lorna has to say on this. Lorna also highlighted about the many voices that we have yet to tap into, in particular the student voice. Tying in perfectly to the themes of OER18.
We then heard from Momodou Sallah of DeMontford University and Chair of Global Hands UK who gave us many examples of excellent youth work being undertaken in The Gambia and how the principles of open education have been applied, emphasising that without this some of the achievements would not have been possible. Education is used not only to increase knowledge, but also for solving problems and most importantly for social transformation.
— Viv Rolfe (@VivienRolfe) March 9, 2018
Momodou will be sharing more about this, and how the principles of being open have influenced him and his work.
Finally we heard from David Wiley, Chief Academic Officer of Lumen Learning. David described the events in his early career that sparked his interest in open. Many will be aware of David’s work in the open education field, particular for his work around permissions of OERs, something again that featured prominently in my own MSc thesis. In his summary of his keynote David shared with us his passion for open content and the permissions that they grant for us to re-use, remix, re-purpose content. All things we are not normally allowed to do. David also shared with us a theme he will be covering that may be considered controversial around learning analytics. I too have my concerns about user activity is being tracked and used by companies. David described the potential for learning analytics to be used to identify or pinpoint improvements, and that in turn OERs grant us the permission to make them.
I was fortunate enough to attend OER17 for the first time last year and can highly recommend this to anyone who is interested in open education. I’m very excited to be presenting once more at this years #OER18 conference on my work with EdShare (preview blog post to come) and we are also sponsoring this conference. I’m really looking forward to meeting up with both familiar and new faces in April!