Open Relationships: people and/or networks?

I previously referenced the intention to shift our attention to the connectivist relationships we enjoy in open scholarship. I very am excited by the keynotes at this year’s #OER16.

Jim Groom has been on my radar for a long time and #ds106 was groundbreaking in developing and delivering a real model of connectivist self-directed open learning. So I will definitely be in fan mode. The title of his talk this week promises to reposition our thinking on OERs: “Can we imagine tech Infrastructure as an Open Educational Resource? Or, Clouds, Containers, and APIs, Oh My!”

My immediate response to this is, yes we can and yes we have. For me OERs came out of the discourse on Reuasable Learning Objects at the turn of the century and much of this in the UK was associated with CETIS and the development interoperability standards for learning technologies. For a while I attempted to engage with everything CETIS was doing in this area. It became very technical and my job became less technical… anyway it is good to have experienced the pedigree of the CETIS special interest groups and been inspired by that work in the early to mid 2000s. Lorna Campbell from that time at CETIS is one of the co-chairs at OER16 and is now OER Liaison at the University of Edinburgh and EDINA Digital Education Manager.

For those who ‘get’ learning technology as an open and user-centred learning space it seems odd that the keynote will ask this question, though restating the question and reconsidering the answers is always needed it seems.

Catherine Cronin’s take on education is currently close and intersecting with my own interests. Catherine is another, like Jim Groom, who has pro-actively constructed open online connectivist learning spaces like CT231. Such work, including iCollab, is coherent and thoroughly informed as a learning space, exemplifying thinking about global connectivism and networked learning, communities of practice, learner-generated media, social media for learning and so on. I will be particularly interested to hear her reflections on the relationship of co-operation to collaboration and how she thinks we “might we build knowledge as a collective endeavour.”

Emma Smith and Melissa Highton have connections with the Openspires project at Oxford University. This connects with what I did in response to the potential of technology to connect with my own parallel exploration of the ‘digital voice’ and educational podcasting. I hold onto the ideas discussed in that work about open voices and connection and perhaps I should do more to articulate them in the context of open education.

Open Relationships: people and/or networks?

networkThe premise underpinning my ongoing work on the use of the recorded voice in higher education (e.g. “Reconsidering the role of recorded audio as a rich, flexible and engaging learning space”) is that learning in higher education is about being together. This explains my dual interest in digital media and social media. They offer an inseparable context for rethinking future learning spaces. This interest came from my initial interests around technical interoperability and my attendance at CETIS SIG meetings. The switch for me was that connections and networks were much, much more interesting when you focus on people rather than technology, but that usable technology affords the context as we have seen. So, yes, it is good to reconsider and “…imagine tech Infrastructure as an Open Educational Resource” and renew our understanding of “Clouds, Containers, and APIs” – Oh My!

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About amiddlet50

Educational developer working in academic innovation in higher education in the UK
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