I have attended a handful of Open Ed conferences over the past few years. I’ve participated as a faculty member, doctoral student, campus advocate, and presenter. As with many Open Ed users, I wear many hats. I’ve participated in and reported data for NGLC Open Ed grants, I’ve studied and done reports on Open Ed movements (#EDUPUNK, #DIYU (http://diyubook.com), etc.), I’ve created OER for my courses (and program), I’ve advocated for OER on my campuses, and even did my doctoral research on faculty innovation and adoption of OER.
Although I am a user, practitioner, and advocate…I’ve always felt like an outlier…until #OER17. Maha Bali literally planted a seed in me first thing in the morning in her keynote. She spoke about how innovations are seeds. We need to nurture our seeds in order to produce valuable fruit (but don’t offer one of those apples to a person with no teeth…unless you’ve brought a masher).
My colleague Emily and I presented after the first keynote. We received very positive feedback and comments, so my nerves calmed down after that. I do need to stay on the clock though…oops.
The remainder of the two jam-packed days were a whirlwind of brains, brawn, and karaoke. The conference size really allowed me to interact with Jim Groom (who I have been amazed with since he occupied Open Ed in 2011), keynoter Diana Arce, and other amazing people from all over the globe.
I enjoyed sessions by FEMEDTECH, the Open Ed SIG, Catherine Cronin (who also studies faculty OER usage), and the lightning talks (goats, and tigers, and bears…Oh my!). For the first time at a conference I felt like the majority of the voices within and outside the sessions had feminist and social justice lenses. All three keynote speakers were women from different cultural and academic backgrounds. I think more educational initiatives could benefit from these voices and agendas. I know I did. I now feel that there is value to my perspectives on OER that wasn’t there before.
Thanks to #OER17, especially ALT and Reclaim Hosting, I’ve decided to create my own domain and use it to continue to advocate for OER & OEP. I am also planning a research study that expands on my doctoral research findings…just waiting on IRB approval. #Iwill!
My OER seeds were planted years ago. I now have the energy to continue to nurture those seeds and be mother nature. I hope to have a fruitful tree by #OER18 that will nurture others and spread its seeds. For now I have to catch up on grading. My courses don’t manage themselves.