Things I learned at opened09…

OpenEd09 sign - uploaded to Flickr on August 13, 2009 by mikecogh

OpenEd09 sign - uploaded to Flickr on August 13, 2009 by mikecogh

Brian Lamb, Scott Leslie and collaborators pulled off a fab Opened09 Conference in Vancouver!  Not only were many presenters engaging and thought provoking but participants held up the true spirit of “open” in their contributions to the conference.

On the downside – the “boys club” was supercharged and came across (at times) as exclusionary – which didn’t do much to “cross the chasm” unfortunately. Think this must be hard to avoid when a group of passionate, talented friends (who know each other well) get together.  Might have been mediated with a different presentation style though – less show and more involve – maybe sessions around questions for the participants to address (with a little context as background) might have been helpful to set a more inclusive tone? Something to consider for next time?

I went away with alot to think about.  Here are a few thoughts:

  • there are many different views of “open’. For some it means sharing resources across institutions in the context of a single course or project. For others it is sharing their work openly via the internet and a CC attribution license.
  • we need more thinking about process and OERs – otherwise we’ll have a repeat of the learning objects scenario. How are we supporting learners in making good decisions about using OERs (information literacy, digital literacy)? What are their goals? What does it mean to be an “open” teacher? How do we best support “open” practices – sharing within our own institutions and communities?
  • there seems to be agreement that learning requires environments and communities that are safe yet stimulating learners towards risk taking (where the learning actually happens). What do we do to create safe environments for exploration in our own contexts?
  • The flavor of the day (in terms of technology) is just that – the good stuff offers much in terms of a vehicle for collaboration and presentation and sharing.  The worst acts as a barrier to involvement. Might be helpful to have a shared framework for tech selection based on principles of openess and access.  Involve potential users in the decision making rather than offering the solution.
  • How do we shift our approaches when expectations don’t match reality (users of OERs are not currently – nor necessarily – sharing back)? Chris Lott shares an enlightening perspective about the requirements for gift giving, receiving and sharing. What might the community of practice approach have to offer as an approach to preparing us for the gift exchange?
  • Gardner Campbell’s narrating, curating, sharing: accessible concept for open ed.
  • Ecotones – love the word and the concept – Kyle Mathews reference to architect Ann Pendleton-Julian’s work

Thanks to everyone who participated in opened09.


6 thoughts on “Things I learned at opened09…

  1. As one of the organizers– and having spent a fair amount of time working on speaker selection and expectations– I appreciate your thoughts on the conference. I’d like to hear more about two areas you mention: gender equity (for lack of a better term) and session format. I’m happy to do so here or via email, just let me know which you prefer!

    And thanks for pointing to my blog entry as well…

  2. Hi CIndy – Catherine, Nicole, and Andre all expressed a similar discomfort to what you seem to be describing here. I’m interested in continuing that discussion with all of you (and anyone else who felt that way). Because you are right, inclusiveness is vital in any educational context, especially one dedicated to openness.

    Thank you for everything you brought to the conference.

    1. Thanks Brian,

      Yes, let’s definitely continue the conversation. Not sure it is totally a gender issue – though that’s part of it. Good to talk soon…


      1. Cindy, You may like to read this post: and also the comments

        In terms of the inclusion issues, I also don’t think it is totally a gender issue either.

        Even so, the conference still rated as one of the best I have been to. I loved the minimalist aspects. No conference books, bags, sponsors formality speeches, 90 minute lunches offsite nearby (but I did find it difficult to find company). 15 minutes between sessions to debrief and transition, open space sessions, continuous coffee/juice. I don’t think I am on the inside so to speak, but Scott, Brian, Chris etc al did give me a bit more of the time of day than the usual conference organisers, who are often rushing around still organising.

        The inclusion issue is just one of the themes emerging from the conference, and looking at some of the comments on twitter and the blogs I think we may have moved on just a little in terms of at least understanding there is an issue. Whether it ends with any change happening remains to be seen.

  3. Thanks for your comment, Derek, and the link to Darcy’s post and the conversation there.

    I have to say that since this issue has surfaced, I have been blown away by the thoughtful, considerate conversations happening face to face and in the blogosphere. I feel fortunate to be associated with (dare I say INCLUDED) in a community that doesn’t shy away from dealing with the messy stuff that naturally surfaces when grappling with issues of openness, community, sharing and involvement.

    I am reminding myself (as much as I am asking of others) to consider that it takes a different kind of listening when we want to really hear voices that are different from our own.

    Thanks for continuing the conversation and I look forward to seeing you at the next event!

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