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Open Conversations: Picking up Where we Left Off

After a long, hot, restorative summer, I’m thinking about Open Education again. Are you?    


I’m reminded of the Hub’s Open Day. It took place last May, right in the middle of all of the PD and planning that happens before most faculty break for the academic year. We had just moved into our beautiful new Teaching and Learning Innovation Hub space, so everyone on my team was busy with the transition, launching the department, figuring out how to make the space work.  


Meanwhile, I was wrapping up my first year of an EdD in Distance Education. I’d just returned from presenting at my first ever international conference, OEGlobal, on my first ever trip to Europe (amazing!), then I immediately jumped into the CNIE conference at Laurentian University, where I was slated to present three talks on the same day. While I was there, I was inducted into my first ever position on a Board of Directors. I don’t list all of this stuff to feed my own narcissism. My point is that last spring, I hit a moment in my academic career where everything just seemed to take off. It was an amazing time, a definite turning point.



However, by the time Open Day came around I was completely exhausted. In fact, I was so tired I slept through the eGrades submission deadline and had to request a grade change for every single one of my students. Not my shining moment, but proof that jet lag is a real thing. 


Faculty Showed Up

Then this awesome thing happened. People actually turned up to learn about open educational resources (OER), open publishing platforms, Creative Commons licensing, and all the great yet jargon-y foundational stuff that can feel like a bit of an initiation process when first learning about Open Education concepts. Despite the newness of it all, the Hub classroom was full all day.


We started something on Open Day, at the Hub’s first major PD event.


It could have been a one-off, but it wasn’t. I’ve been invigorated by all the faculty who came back, either before the break in June, or as soon as we returned in August. They’re wanting to know where to find OER for their courses, to chat about what open assessment might look like for their students. They’re starting blogs, joining Twitter, brainstorming how to collaborate and share with each other in new ways. 


Starting a conversation about Open Education has connected me with like-minded faculty on campus. Faculty who care about students’ resource costs, who demand the freedom to modify and adapt content as they see fit, and who want to empower students to take an active role in knowledge production. 


Will Faculty Come Back?

Starting tomorrow, the Hub will be hosting the first of a series of bi-weekly drop-in sessions about Open Education. Basically, we’re inviting faculty to come back and chat about what’s happening in Open Education, here at Cambrian, and across the province.


I’m looking forward to reconnecting with the faculty who inspire me, and to supporting Cambrian’s emerging Open Educators as they learn, implement, and evaluate all things Open! We’ll be populating this Google Doc. Please feel free to contribute.


Jessica O'Reilly
Instructional Developer

(705) 566-8101 x 6395

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