Reflections from the OER18 Conference

Myself and two colleagues (Liz Falconer and Denyse King) attended the OER18 Conference Yesterday.  They presented two case studies (VR Avebury, and VR Healthcare) and illustrated how VR (virtual reality) brings unique considerations for open access.  For example, considerations about whether settings, avatars, props etc are available to others; and indeed, the point that OE-VR assets can be beneficial to educators.  Just in the way that we frequently use images, presentations and video clips we find on the Web, parts of VR can also be recycled and used in different ways.


There was a diverse range of international speakers who discussed their projects and ideas including: the results of an EU wide review of OER practices (which concluded that countries are travelling on the same journey- though perhaps with different types and sizes of vehicles), an historical systematic review of OER practices (by Vivien Rolfe and her team- I have requested the link for this) and a presentation linking OER to music and David Bohm (youtube) talking about perception.


The end of day keynote was given by @mosallah who said that a major purpose of OER is to co-produce knowledge and help communities equalise imbalance.   And that the cornerstones of “Open” are: co-production, disruption, sustainability, accessibility beyond digital, tech knowledge sharing, counter-orthodoxy spaces.


Liz picked out a quote from John Casey, that there is a: “tendency to privilege text in education.”  Which she feels is very true and misses many opportunities for active learning.


Thoughts of the day

OER are key for girls and women in remote and developing areas.  However, OER cannot be the default.  We need to think when is it appropriate?  We need to consider privacy (we have seen the sharp end of that recently).  It is a difficult area to negotiate and we need to be sensitive.


Questions to come away with

We are trying to fit new tech into ancient institutional structures.  What can we do about this?


What is the problem that openness solves?


What is the problem that “closedness” solves?  Closed can be the right answer.


My own question- are there different considerations for academics at the start of their careers compared to later on?


The conference is still going on today, you can follow it at #OER18 on twitter


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