This global conference took place during last week in the beautiful city of Cambridge. The venue was not so historic as it may be anticipated but it was a nice place to gather and chat with many people on the latest developments of OER. Just outside the building was the famous Mathematical Bridge.
The conference theme was Innovation and Impact: Openly collaborating to enhance education and was organized jointly by the Support Center for Open Resources in Education and the Open Courseware Consortium.
The conferences main topic open collaboration was also a big part of the first keynote: Developing the Open Education Ecosystem by Eko Indrajit from the ABFI Institute in Jakarta, Indonesia. It was an informative and entertaining speech also I am skeptical towards the overuse of the term “open”. Or do you know what an Open Professor might be or look like?
Openness has certainly become a catchword not only in the realm of education (e.g. Open Innovation) and as long as it serves the purpose of education one should not bother.
Collaboration was also the goal of other projects that have been presented such as “Bridge to Success” which attempts to share open resources to help students acquire skills needed when entering a college. Materials are provided from the Open University UK and then modified to fit the context of community college.
On the last day, I had the opportunity to present my ideas on sustaining Open Education with the help of the theory of Bildung. Before and during my presentation (see slides below) I was not quite sure how the participants who came all from countries not familiar with the specific notion of Bildung would react. So I was excited when Patrick McAndrew who chaired my sessions invited people to ask questions or make comments. The first reaction was: “Do you have anything written on this subject?”. Then, other people joined in and an inspiring discussion evolved.
One of the things that emerged was the mismatch between the humanistic philosophy of Open Education and the current practices to convince, for instance, teachers to utilize OER. This is a transmission without acknowledging the person’s individual beliefs, motives and attitudes towards OER. In this regard, Bildung might step in as a reflective tool. Thus, questions such as how do OER change my teaching can be reconsidered.
Overall I was impressed by the positive and encouraging feedback to my presentation. Please feel free to add any comments you have so we can keep this interesting discussion ongoing.