Open Educators – pushing boundaries and crossing borders

I have to thank Eilidh Singh who asked her Twitter PLN, How they distill learning post-conference. Having replied that I would blog, I now feel that I should at least follow through 😉  In the interest of time, this post is a point form overview of some of the learnings gained from the people I met at the Open Education Global Conference April 21-24, 2015 in Banff, AB.

Part 1 People

Twitter is a great way to connect with people at a conference. My enthusiasm for Twitter as a tool for learning was exemplified by meeting leading Open Education researchers, educators and technologists.

My response to Leigh-Anne Perryman’s humourous Bear Spray Tweet led to the picture above. I was planning to attend Drs. Perryman and Coughlan session because it looked at grassroots OER creation, full article.  Dr. Perryman was also recognized with an award for her contribution to Open Research. I was already familiar with Tony Coughlan‘s vocational OER research and his #oeglobal award winning site, Free CYP Multimedia and eLearning Resources.

For the past two years I have been in awe of the open and transparent OER_Hub.  Meeting the researchers in person increased my respect for their work. I was amazed at Professor Martin Weller‘s tireless presence and engagement; Robert Farrow‘s humour and impressive speed of publishing his live blog of the keynotes; and Bea de los Arcos‘s professionalism and warmth with fellow researchers, doctoral candidates and interested tweeters 🙂 Sadly missed meeting Beck Pitt.

I only meet a handful of ROER4D researchers Cheryl Hodgkinson-Williams and Sukaina Walji, however the presence of the global south project was evident in the domination of their presentations on the OEGlobal Program and the many researchers in the Global OER Graduate Network. I look forward to following this project.

Cheryl overview slide showing the scope and complexity of the ROER4D project.
Cheryl Hodgkinson-Williams’ presentation slide showing the scope and complexity of the ROER4D project.

Prior to the conference I followed a Twitter link to the OERu’s mini course on Digital Skills for OER where I was introduced to the work of Wayne Mackintosh. His passion for sharing knowledge is embodied in his open and transparent online contributions and his face-to-face enthusiasm for Open. Also met Irwin DeVries, a participant/contributor/supporter in #ds4oer 🙂 Will look for Irwin’s video interviews of OEGlobal thought leaders.

Serendipity of Twitter, OER, #ds4oer and OEGlobal
Serendipity of Twitter, #ds4oer and OEGlobal, Picture of me with Wayne Mackintosh April 2015

I missed Domi Enders session on OpenAssembly however via Twitter I was able to connect and meet up at lunch where we had a lively discussion on the need for flexibility in learning and how that could be facilitated with technology.

Dianna Fisher asked the Twitter community who wanted to go for dinner. Had I known, I would have brought my notebook because I proceeded to learn about universities with land-grants, free choice learning, geocaching for citizen science, PressBooks Textbooks, and Oregon State University’s open textbook initiative.

I persuaded Peggy Lynn MacIsaac to join Twitter after sharing lunch with her everyday of the conference. Peggy Lynn will be one to follow enroute to her PhD 🙂

Had a nice lunch learning about Ohio State’s Fair, and the University’s journey to open with Ashley Miller and Stephanie Orr 🙂 Also had the opportunity to sit next to Una Daly, Anne Laurel Marenco, and Darla Lutness. I am looking forward to hearing from the Minister of Higher Education in Fiji about their OER policy implementation. Lynn Sutherland’s enthusiasm and knowledge of Banff and area is amazing; she also provided several great restaurant recommendations.  Looking forward to meeting in Winnipeg.

I had the opportunity to speak with Dr. Axel Meisen after his oeGlobal welcome and call to action to support the learning needs of families and refugees. The next day we reflected on Dirk Van Damme’s keynote OER and the Innovation of Learning and shared our experience with organizational effort to move beyond counting turnstile turns. Dr. Meisen assured me that I am not alone in trying to understanding the value and the impact of learning provided in my workplace context. Thank you.

The blog plan…

Part 2 #oeglobal sessions attended (if time allows)

Part 3 synthesis or application of #oeglobal to workplace context


  1. Claudie Graner

    When did you sleep!! Amazed that you can keep track of so many ideas and present them so coherently…thanks for the glimpse into ” a day in the life of oerers…..”

  2. Hi Claudie! The whole conference was invigorating because it was outside of our regular ESL conferences. It has got me thinking that perhaps we need to make an effort to bring other voices to our professional conferences just to allow brain ‘sizzle’.

    Last month, I was introduced to the concept of brain ‘sizzle’ in unexpected conversation with fellow parents at an 8-year-old birthday party. I was bemoaning the fact that after months of thinking I still do not understanding Heidegger’s concept of embodiment and hammer in-the-hand or present-to-hand. The parent, from Germany, explained that German philosophers used vague language and grammatical structures specifically to allow for ‘sizzle’, or as he described a process the brain goes through in making leaps between connections and sense-making.

    I am wondering what inspiration we may find if we included presentations outside of our everyday work life…what do you think? The next Realize maybe some sessions on…(insert random gerund).

    My sleep was definitely interrupted by random sizzles 😉


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