Guest Blog: “Planning to Make the most of OER19” by Lisa O’Neill


Image: “Youth Development Icons” by Lauren Beltramo is licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0. To view a copy of this license, visit:

I’m an OER19 newbie, though I’m not new to conversations and practices that support open pedagogy. I am a faculty developer, instructional designer, and technologist who has dedicated almost 20 years to researching and supporting the effective embedding of media in learning. I believe that resourcing learning effectively is married to the pragmatism of assuring resource accessibility (to any learner, at a time and place they are ready to learn). This belief has helped to clarify my beliefs around ‘teaching in the open’. My ability to connect with community has helped me to refine those beliefs.

I’ve recently moved to Europe so have moved away from my BC campus home community. This means seeking out for new places to have great conversations, and support open education. I enthusiastically held my hand way up to the call for OER19 committee participation, and am very excited that in just a month I will meet so many new (potential) community members, as we engage in open practice conversations.

As so many of us have already done, I perused the programme brief to interpret, through title only (full program with session descriptions will be available soon ;-)), suspected goldmines of potentially enlightening and crucial conversations. I’m definitely not at a lost for choice! I see the names of many dear friends, previous colleagues, and members of my current network whose sessions I will surely attend to keep abreast of the great work they are doing. I think I’ve come up with a two-day schedule that both reinforces and challenges my ‘status quo’. I’ve had to do some ‘sleuthing’ to get acquainted with presenters that are new to me. I love that I live in an age where I have the right, ability and access to do so.

One session on my schedule, chosen in order to connect with presenters that are new to me, and who intrigue: Sharing a Pragmatic Networked Model for Open Pedagogy (Speaker: Lee GrahamVerena Roberts).

Why this session? First and foremost… I’ll admit it… it had the word pragmatic in the title. After I got past my initial joy at seeing a session title written just for me I took a more sensible approach to refining my session selections. I sought evidence to support perceived usefulness so I took to the information superhighway to locate articles and biographies for session speakers. After I ‘met’ Lee and Verena on LinkedIn I read through their blog posts, and tweets to better appreciate the person behind the speaker.

The second reason; the world is SMA-all! It seems we have been 1-2 degrees of separation away from meeting up for many years. Verena Roberts works for my alma mater. I moved half way around the world to meet someone supporting an Institution close to my heart and home.

Roberts and Grahams session will outline processes for implementing their open hub model in ways that “allowing educators to generate content and develop their pedagogy and negotiated identity in a networked environment” (pp. 24).  The open hub acts as a hive where members interact with trusted co-learners, and receive support to participate in new informal learning communities (Roberts & Graham, 2018). After reading the article I saw Lee Grahams twitter account differently. I see now how it makes transparent the hard work she is doing to implement the approach I will learn more about at their conference session.

Although I work every day to support massively open online classrooms, I also support primary and secondary school teachers in my part time role as a Sessional at a Canadian University. I will want to apply what I learn from this session to the work I will do with my spring cohort who will be at varied stages of open readiness. Heads up to Verena and Lee, I’ll be coming with lots of practical questions;-).

Please share a session from your draft schedule, were the speakers are new to you, and why you are excited to attend:

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