I wanted to share some highlights from the amazing conference I was fortunate to attend in Banff, Alberta last week. It was my fourth Open Education Global conference
(formerly known as OpenCourseware Global) and I can say that it just keeps getting bigger and better. More than 250 registrants from 37 countries in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America and South America helped us to understand the benefits and challenges of open education around the world. The commonality of our educational concerns regardless of which continent we live on always surprises me.
The conference started off Wednesday with a warm welcome from Athabasca, our hosting university, who gave us an overview of the growing open education movement in Canada. An international panel in the afternoon lead by outgoing president Larry Cooperman of UCI featured open education projects from the Commonwealth of Learning, International Organization of Francophonia, UNESCO, and the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE). In the evening, James Glapa-Grossklag, CCCOER president and Dean at College of the Canyons was elected to be the Open Education Consortium board president for 2015.
Thursday mornings keynote featuring Dirk Van Damme from the Organization from Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) shared a vision for how OER can support innovation in teaching and policy to improve skill development and change the division of labor to be more equitable worldwide.
We enjoyed many great presentations from around the world on Wed, Thurs, and Friday but in particular I wanted to highlight presentations from and about community colleges.
On Thursday afternoon, we held the CCCOER panel on Promoting Student Success through Open Education featuring Phillip Davis, Delmar College; James Glapa-Grossklag, College of the Canyons, Barbara Illowsky, De Anza College; Richard Sebastian, Virginia Community College System, and Quill West, Pierce Community College who shared their OER projects and answered questions from the very engaged audience.
Phillip Davis, Delmar College, also presented Educating the Masses through MOOCs on Tuesday afternoon, sharing the Geographical Information Systems MOOC based on the TAACCCT grant that he developed and ran on the Canvas network.
Kim Lynch and Greg Rathert from the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities shared their exciting OER programs to engage faculty in OER adoption in Textbooks Can be Affordable?? Getting Faculty in the Game
I presented Faculty Motivation and Reflection on Open Textbook Adoptions featuring interviews with 13 community college faculty from the California Open Online Library (COOL4Ed) faculty showcases. In fact, two of the interviewed faculty attended the session.
Barbara Illowksy, De Anza College, presented with Mark Santee, WebAssign, Inc on the The maturing OER ecosystem: partners, expansion, and critical questions highlight collaboration between OER producers and business partners.
Thursday night was awards night and in addition to being inspired by the virtuouso violinist and speaker Kai Kight, many community college educators were honored for their contributions to open education excellence. Individual awards featured the following CCCOER members:
- Quill West, Librarian and OER Project Manager at Pierce Community College received the 2015 Open Education Excellence in Leadership award for her many OER projects in Washington State.
- Anne Marenco, PhD Sociology Faculty and co-author of several open textbooks, received the 2015 Open Education Excellence in Teaching award for her work at College of the Canyons in California.
Winners of Sites, Courses, and Research included the following CCCOER members:
- The Houston Community College Library lead by Angela Secrest, Library Director and longtime vice-president of CCCOER received an Open Education Excellence Site award.
- Boyoung Chae, PhD, and Mark Jenkins, PhD from Washington State Board of Community and Technical Colleges received a an Open Education Research Excellence award for their Qualitative Investigation of Faculty OER usage.
The Open Education Global 2015 conference ended Friday with a keynote from Mark Surman, executive director of the Mozilla Foundation, who offered: “the future is here, it is just not evenly distributed”, quoting futurist writer William Gibson. Various action labs allowed small interest groups to interact around special open education topics including Entrepreneurial Open Education, Open MOOC Development, Open Business Models, the Open Education Information Center, Open Education as an Inclusive Social Innovation, and more.
Although the conference was full of thought provoking presentations and panels, I believe the most compelling aspect may have been the hallway, mealtime, and evening conversations where likeminded folks gathered to have fun, share hard problems, and plan future projects with their open education colleagues.
Posted by: Una Daly, Director of Curriculum Design & College Outreach, OEC Consortium, email:firstname.lastname@example.org