With over 350 presentations, posters, roundtables, lightning talks, panels, and symposia, this year’s OpenEd Conference in Niagara Falls, New York was the largest one yet! The conference took place on October 10-12, and like always CCCOER members were well represented.
On Thursday afternoon, CCCOER held a get-together and handed out Community Recognition Awards in order to recognize some of our amazing community members who have contributed to the Open community by promoting open educational policies and practices through their contributions to CCCOER’s email list and website. After the get-together, CCCOER members participated in informal dine-around-towns – dinners at three different local restaurants – in order to connect with other members and continue the open education conversation.
Below we have collected various perspectives from CCCOER members as well as a video update from Open Education Consortium Executive Director Paul Stacey. We also have links to slides and other materials from a multitude of presentations CCCOER members made at OpenEd18. A big thank you to everyone who contributed!
Image: Community Recognition Awards from R to L: Quill West, Tina Ulrich, James Glapa-Grossklag, Amy Hofer, Una Daly.
Originally posted on @oeconsortium’s Twitter
Open Education Consortium Executive Director, Paul Stacey recorded an update from OpenEd 2018. The update includes links to two publications released.
Dr. Meredith Moore, Instructional Designer, Distance Learning Department
“And what is the use of a book,” thought Alice, “without pictures or conversation?” (Carroll, 1964, p. 1). Alice was correct. An OER textbook is only the beginning.
Matthew Bloom, OER Coordinator, Maricopa Community Colleges
This was my fifth OpenEd in five years, and although it remains the most interesting conference I have attended, what was most meaningful to me this year was the opportunity to see two of my colleagues attend for the first time. The exposure to such a vibrant display of OER work happening across the world had a clear impact on them and I think they found the chance to network and share ideas very inspiring.
Sara Proffitt, Director of Instructional Design Services, Ivy Tech Community College
The keynote speeches were fabulous, really interesting ideas to reflect on before and after the conference. These speakers did a great job of inspiring participants at the conference to continue looking at all aspects of OER, and specific student populations as well. For our institution, we took away some great ideas for implementing SGA awards, looking deeper at OER assessment, and continuing to delve into OER efficacy and other analyses. Our librarians gathered important information on OER outreach and have already begun a communication plan.
Cindy Domaika, Manager of Open & Instructional Resources, Nicolet College
Wow, OpenEd18! Three days is not enough for me. There is too much to do, too many people to talk to, and too much to learn. Even in today’s world where we are so connected by technology, there is something to be said by being in the same place at the same time. Technology will never replace that. I loved the big topics that seemed to dominate this year; inclusion, equity, accessibility, and data/privacy. I hope the conversations continue. It made me think about the culture that surrounds open and what I can do on our campus (and beyond) to replicate that. Jess Mitchell’s keynote was amazing and the words continue to echo in the back of my mind as I go about working on projects. This is a good thing.
Una Daly, Director of Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources (CCCOER)
OpenEd 18 was a wonderful and sometimes overwhelming experience. Never enough time to speak with everyone and always multiple great presentations happening at the same time but still a treasure trove of ideas, promising practices, and conversations with and by my favorite community. This year’s format maximized opportunities to hear from diverse perspectives – I especially liked the lightning rounds and the roundtable conversations.
Sustainability has been an important consideration for many OER initiatives. How do you know when your OER project has shifted from a pilot to an operational activity on campus? Bill Hemmig, Bucks County Community College, and I lead a roundtable discussion utilizing a sustainability framework and program examples from Bucks. Bill shared his operating budget to include ongoing faculty stipends that provide a sustainable OER adoption growth plan. We also expanded the sustainability framework proposed by the rpkGROUP for Achieving the Dream’s OER Degree Initiative by including examples of campus activities for ensuring sustainability.
I also had the pleasure of moderating a panel on how OER Degrees transform classroom teaching, college governance, student counseling, course registrations, and bookstore operations at three of Achieving the Dream’s OER Degree Initiative grantee colleges. Gaye Lynn Scott, Austin Community College; Michael Mills, Montgomery College; and Vera Kennedy, West Hills College Lemoore shared savings, outcomes-based research, and student feedback to illustrate the impact on student success and reducing equity gaps. An inspirational video featuring students from all three colleges closed the discussion.
Amy Hofer, Coordinator, Statewide Open Education Library Services, Open Oregon Educational Resources
I have many pages of notes to comb back through, but the moment from Open Ed 18 that has stuck with me was one that had nothing to do with the conference content.
In a panel session on equity, diversity, and inclusion, somebody stood up and pointed at a presenter, saying “You’ve got that completely wrong” when they meant that they had a difference of opinion. They attributed a position to the speaker that she had been very clear was not her position. She cut in and clarified, but they didn’t listen and continued to demolish the straw man that they had set up.
It’s unfortunate but not surprising that the two people involved were an older man and a younger woman. This interaction fell into a gender dynamic that looked like sexism to me.
I gave a presentation thirty minutes later on “What to do while you wait (and wait, and wait) for your funding.” I was still unsettled and began my talk by describing what had just happened. I told the audience that this interaction had undermined my sense that I was safe and supported in the open ed community. Waiting eleven months for my funding during the 2017-18 fiscal year was very stressful; my morale was in the sub-basement. It was only possible to stay in my job because of the support I received from my colleagues in Oregon and beyond.
Some people that I talked with that evening said that they hadn’t particularly noticed the outburst because they see that behavior in their own workplaces. This mode of communication is not normal where I work. Now that I’ve had more time to consider, I realize that I can think of a similar incident at every Open Ed Conference I’ve attended, so maybe it is normal in more places than I would expect.
This week I was struck by something I read in the paper. The British Parliament was presented with a report on sexual harassment of staffers by members of Parliament (https://nyti.ms/2QPXsmK). The official who responded to the report agreed that sexual harassment is unacceptable, but concluded that change will “not be achieved overnight.” I think they meant to say that culture change is slow, but really? Who is going to come to work and harass their staffers tomorrow, and could they please stay home?
Along similar lines, we can take comfort in the idea that the people behaving badly will retire eventually and stop showing up at conferences. Maybe change won’t happen at Open Ed 19, but it will come eventually. The student panelists at this year’s conference showed by example that the future workforce is in very good hands – I hope that some of them will wind up working in higher ed.
However, each time that this kind of thing happens, I wonder whether I’m in the wrong room or at the wrong conference. Can we hold our community to a higher standard? Can we insist that people control their behavior? Can we agree that passionate feelings about the discipline of economics are not an excuse to abandon collegiality? Can we have a more feminist Open Ed Conference? The answers to these questions may mean the difference between people staying in their jobs or burning out and leaving the field.
On the other, other hand, I also have to wonder whether there are things that I say or do that might reflect the multiple and intersecting privileges that I benefit from. Would somebody say something to me if my behavior was harmful to them? Would they do so kindly? Would I be entitled to their kindness?
Quill West, Open Education Project Manager, Pierce College and CCCOER President
OpenEd, like always, was full of inspiring ideas, people who excite me, presentations that provoked me, and some moments that made me wish we could erase my efforts to date and start over with a new perspective. Since that isn’t possible, and since I don’t really mean that I would give up any of my experiences thus far, I’m going to instead focus this reflection on what I think are the most important takeaways for me.
Reflection Makes Doing Better
I have to admit that when I first got the call to write a reflection of OpenEd18, I let it sit in my inbox because I was too busy “doing things” to reflect. (I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve told both Una and Liz that I don’t have time to provide a reflection or blog post because I have to get something done.) In my haste to mark some tasks off of my list, I totally forgot one of my most important realizations from OpenEd; reflection is an important part of fostering meaningful change.
There was a lot of really valuable reflection going on at the conference this year. From the keynotes to the sessions on documenting our successes through research, a key theme was reflection. In some cases, reflection was more about how we continue to critically examine the effectiveness of OER in our core missions. I didn’t count how many times (but I know it was a lot) that I heard John Hilton and other researchers describe their methodology and encourage others to structure objective measures that will help us to reflect on the overall effect of OER on student learning and institutional effectiveness.
More importantly, in the keynotes and several panels, I heard people trying to reflect on the social justice issues that impact our movement and pretty much all of education from preschool through the highest levels of academia. I am continually thankful for people who are willing to ask hard questions about our movement, our roots in academia, and our overall privileges in hopes of building a more equitable and thus stronger foundation for people who want to participate in OER. Critical examination, and the reflection that comes with it, is sometimes uncomfortable. This isn’t me patting us all on the back for bothering to consider social justice. It’s me recognizing that we need to carry these conversations inside of us and reflect on them as a matter of habit. When we take on tasks, if we focus solely on doing the work, we’ll lose track of why the work is so important. In other words, don’t do what I did when I got the call to write this reflection. Don’t ignore the need to reflect on what is important in our work. We need thoughtful people – from all parts of our movement – reflecting on how we get better.
The Means Lives in the Ends
One of my favorite talks from the whole conference was delivered by Amy Hofer of Open Oregon Educational Resources. Amy talked about what an open education leader can do when she doesn’t have funding in place yet. She gave a lot of practical solutions for setting the groundwork for launching a statewide initiative. More importantly, she helped describe something that I think we often overlook. That is, “the means lives in the ends.” (Slides for Amy Hofer’s talk, Things you can do while you wait for funding)
This statement takes on more and more significance as I consider the relationships that I want to have with my colleagues, students, and with educational materials. I can’t help but think about this concept whenever I find myself tempted to use links to copyrighted material, rather than create something openly licensed. More importantly, I can’t help but consider this concept when I’m tempted to shorthand a conversation with a colleague by discounting their actual concerns, or by not listening carefully, or just by using momentum to push people where they aren’t ready to go. If we focus too heavily on the ends, and forget the process we take toward getting there, then we are doing ourselves, our institutions, and our colleagues a disservice.
I fully believe that reflection, planning, and empathy are the way to avoid making the easy choices that cause problems down the road. In a lot of ways, the many people leading the charge for critical reflection of our movement are asking us to consider the means we take to engage this educational shift, and I am hopeful that we can all take a CC-BY licensed page from that book and adapt it for use in our own professional practices.
- Paul Stacey, Executive Director, Susan Huggins, Communications Director – Open Education Consortium
- Gaye Lynn Scott – Austin Community College, Mike Mills – Montgomery College, and Vera Kennedy – West Hills College Lemoore. Moderator: Una Daly – CCCOER
- Amanda Coolidge, Lauri Aesoph, Krista Lambert, and Rajiv Jhangian – BCcampus OpenEd
- Barbara Illowsky, PhD – De Anza College and The Michelson 20MM Foundation
- Terry Greene – eCampusOntario
- Nathan Smith – Houston Community College
- Alexis Carlson – Indian River State College
- Sara Proffit – Ivy Tech Community College
- Regina Gong – Lansing Community College
- Dr. Meridith Moore – New Jersey City University
- Dr. Michael Mills and Professor Shinta Hernandez – Montgomery College
- Amy Hofer – OpenOregon.org
- Wayde Oshiro, Sunny Pai, Leanne Riseley – University of Hawaii Community College