This week I attended the #OER17 conference in London. It was an inspiring event with practitioners from across the globe sharing how they have been using and developing both open educational resources (OER) and open educational practice.
One key theme that ran throughout the conference from the keynotes to the paper presentations and panels was the need for clearer articulation of open education. There is still a lack of mainstream knowledge and understanding of open education and the benefits it can bring to both individuals and institutions.
I was struck, once again by how much some of our GCU strategies, practice and activities align with open education, but how we don’t actually use “open” to explicitly define and share them. e.g. our mission “for the common good” and the developing Common Good Curriculum. They are are fundamentally about working with, and for the benefit of the wider community, which aligns perfectly with open educational practice. We already have some very good foundations in place with our OER guidance from the library and edShare.
The keynotes this year were all excellent. Maha Bali (Associate Professor of Practice at the Center for Learning and Teaching at the American University in Cairo), highlighted the need and nuances of inclusion and diversity. Artist/activist Diana Acre, reminded us of the power of social art, of creating art activism within communities to bring about change at a community level and to help us create meaningful interactions and understanding to and with our wider community. Lucy Compton-Reid (Chief Executive, Wikimedia UK) highlighted the powerful ways in which incorporating wikimedia into the classroom can bring about extension of knowledge, contributions to “real world problems”, internationalization, working for the common good, and develop crucial digital literacy skills. I will be writing a longer reflection on the conference on my own blog, but in the meantime I would encourage you to watch the keynotes, and share any of your thoughts in the comments.