A group of people (see list below) facilitated conversations around “Breaking Open” at the OER18 conference and again at the OE Global 2018 conference. Most information about these sessions can be found on a post on the Towards-Openness site; here is a brief overview.
These sessions focused on issues around equity and inclusion, specifically trying to include voices from the Global South. The blog post some of the facilitators wrote for the OER18 conference provides some background on the kinds of questions we were raising, as well as one overall, provocative question:
How do we use openness to exclude, overpower and/or oppress marginalized individuals, communities, knowledge systems?
We followed the same basic format for both sessions. For both, there were participants in the room as well as online. In one of the sessions there were so many people onsite who wanted to participate, and not enough space in the room, that some of the onsite folks participated virtually while sitting in the hall.
The format of these sessions was somewhat based on the TRIZ format of the OpenEd 2017 session, but with a twist by adding in several provocations.
1. We began with provocations by 3-4 people (3 in OER18, 4 in OE Global) that were read out by the session facilitators (links to each of these can be found on the Towards-Openness site). These were also available compiled together in a google doc for participants to follow along and refer to during the workshop. The provocations were meant to raise some specific issues around open education, equity, and inclusivity.
2. We then broke up into small groups to discuss questions related to the provocations. The groups took notes on a google doc and then one person from each group shared some of the highlights with the rest of the participants when we all got back together in the session.
- We asked the small groups to discuss the worst-case scenario with regards to the main question above, and in connection with one or more of the provocations. Then they were to consider what could be done to reach that worst-case scenario, and whether any of that is already happening.
- Google doc with notes from the small groups from OER18
- We didn’t have the questions for small groups on the google doc this time, and the conversation ranged a bit, but was still quite productive. We decided to put the questions on the google doc for OE Global 2018.
OE Global 2018
- Questions we asked:
- 1. What could be done to make sure that the worst result is achieved with respect to the provocation you have chosen? Make a list of actions, practices, structures, as relevant.
- 2. Go down the list from the first question item by item and ask yourselves, ‘Is there anything that is currently being done that in any way, shape, or form resembles this item?’ Be brutally honest to make a second list of all your counterproductive activities/programs/procedures.
- 3. Go through the items on your second list and ask, ‘What could be some concrete first steps to help stop what you know is likely to create undesirable results?’
- As you can see from the google doc of notes from OE Global 2018, people only wrote notes under the first question. But there were answers to all three embedded in those.
Breakout sessions with small groups: once or multiple times?
At the OpenEd 2017 session we had the virtual participants in and out of small groups online in a short time period (a few minutes for each of the three TRIZ questions). Some of the facilitators of the above session who had been on the OpenEd 2017 session had said that was logistically a bit difficult and confusing for the online participants. So we decided this time to just have small groups discuss all TRIZ-style questions in one breakout session (onsite and online) and then come back and report to the large group at the end.
This was much easier logistically, but it also meant that the conversations in small groups tended to focus less on the specific TRIZ questions and sometimes wandered a bit more. This did not lead to less valuable discussions, just different ones than if they were focused more directly on the TRIZ questions.
Facilitators for both sessions
Taskeen Adam (South Africa), PhD Candidate, University of Cambridge
Maha Bali, Associate professor of practice, American University in Cairo
Catherine Cronin, PhD researcher, Centre for Excellence in Learning & Teaching, NUI Galway
Christian Friedrich, Education & Science Advisor at Wikimedia Germany
Christina Hendricks, Professor of Teaching in Philosophy and Deputy Academic Director of the Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology, University of British Columbia-Vancouver
Jamison Miller, PhD Candidate, College of William and Mary, and Director of Teaching and Learning at Lumen Learning
Sukaina Walji, Online Education Project Manager, Centre for Innovation in Learning & Teaching, University of Cape Town
Martin Weller, Professor of Educational Technology, The Open University