Last week I was present at the yearly Global Meeting of the Open Education Consortium. The event took place in CapeTown, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Cape Town Declaration on Open Education.
To get an impression of which topics are currently in the focus of the open community at this conference, I have categorized the presentations that took place. In total there were 107 sessions (8 panel discussions, 15 action labs and 84 presentations). The distribution among the categories I distinguished was as follows:
The category “Miscellaneous” consists of sessions with a subject that was presented only once (e.g. business models). The categories are not disjunct, so for some presentations I had to judge what category was the best fit. But overall it can be seen that focus is more and more on adoption by (in Rogers’ terms) the early and late majority of teachers. Some presentations in this category also mention access for individual students (self-learners).
The overview of the program provides access to the information of each presentation and the slides that were used. At the time of writing of this post not all slides were made available yet. I expect they will be in the next coming days.
I was involved in three presentations, each about activities and research I am currently involved in with a focus on the Netherlands:
- Moonshot projects to support Dutch national policy on OER (together with Martijn Ouwehand from TU Delft). About the two flagship projects (that was the right term to use), initiated by the Dutch Ministry of Education to serve as good examples for cross-institutional creating and sharing of OER.
- Connecting OER to teachers via open pedagogy (together with Martijn Ouwehand from TU Delft). Background of and experiences with the toolkit for a workshop aiming at creating awareness on and application of openness in teaching practices for teachers
- Adoption of OER by Educators in Dutch Public Higher Education: A Long and Winding Road or Free as a Bird? (together with Ben Janssen). Presentation about findings and conclusions of the research on practice of sharing and reusing OER that was carried out in Fall 2016. The report is available in Dutch, but contains an English summary
The ROER4D project is nearing its end and the results are increasingly becoming available. The presentation of Cheryl Hodgkinson-Williams (Principal Investigator of ROER4D) titled The adoption and impact of OEP and OER in the Global South: Theoretical, conceptual and methodological framework for the ROER4D project meta-analysis provided an impressive overview of what was accomplished in the 18 case studies that were conducted in ROER4D. Glenda Cox and Henry Trotter presented Understanding lecturer’s adoption of OER: a multi-factorial approach. They have put me on the track of an alternative way to approach the question of broad adoption of OER, where Rogers’ Innovation theory was not sufficient. Unfortunately, I missed the presentation of Catherine Cronin (Openness and praxis: Exploring the use of open educational practices for teaching in higher education) about a similar research on adoption, but a paper of her in IRRODL about her research findings is in press (preprint).
Although all three research projects started from a different perspective, the findings were more or less similar and comparable with our research in the Netherlands. It may be worthwhile to expand on this in the coming period to see how the different perspectives can be joined into one framework to approach the question of how to increase adoption of OER among the early majority of teachers. We had an inspiring discussion with Henry Trotter on this as a start.
It was also good to see that more and more the narrow view on open learning materials is expanded to a broader view on openness, including open infrastructures (with Norway and the Netherlands as two fine examples) and open pedagogy. My opinion “We should be more open about open”, quoted by Tom Caswell already in 2012, is necessary to connect to the early and late majority. The presentations from Rajiv Jhangiani (Pragmatism vs. Idealism and the Identity Crisis of OER Advocacy) and Jamison Miller (The Constraints of Policy: A Critical Discourse Analysis of Open Education Policy in Virginia) hit the nail on the head.
Indications to be more open on open came also from my research project on adoption as was mentioned earlier, and I intend to go deeper into this the next period to find out in more detail how such a connection can be made fruitful. The toolkit Martijn Ouwehand and myself have developed, may support one of the approaches (connect to the core of the teacher).
And finally, the presence and achievements of members of GO-GN was wonderful to experience. Too bad, a virus catched some of them (we call this now the OERHub-virus), so they could only be partially present at the conference. GO-GN has developed into a vibrant community, both online and offline, which was intended at the start of this.
Next year the Global Meeting will take place in beautiful Delft, 24-26 April 2018. I am honoured to be appointed the Program Chair of that Meeting. Glenda Cox, the Program Chair in Cape Town, has set the bar high with an excellent accomplishment!