Looking through Twitter in preparation for the upcoming #OER22 conference I spotted an invitation on twitter to share our stories of serendipity and open. I followed this invitation and discovered that I had submitted back in 2015. Seven years on, what has happened? How has this story continued to unfold? What has a commitment to openness led to in my experience?
From little acorns..
Looking back at my website record of research and presentations you can see continuity and activity which continued year on year right up to 2022. The themes developped to give more detail and an arc of growth over that time – virtual exchange, critical digital literacy, open badges, eportfolio assessment. The confidence and experience gained through that life changing, serendipitous moment described in my earlier open story set me on the road to achieve a fuller, deeper professional presence.
An open story…
As I have found my academic voice in the open, it became clear to me that there is still much to do to support others in understanding this little word which is often misunderstood. I have had many conversations with my collaborators about why open licencing matters and fortunately in many cases they have recognised why I work as an open practitioner. We have had in depth conversations and, thanks to the Creative Commons blog and the community I have been able to influence choices in several important projects I have been involved in such as EVOLVE and Erasmus Plus Virtual Exchange. Last year I published this quick guide to help practitioners navigate the wide range of terminology surrounding Open too.
I have built on my research and explotation of open badges over the years, using them to address the sad lack of visibility encountered by academics and practitioners when they innovate and share practice. I have been able to support EuroCALL‘s use of badges to recognise the community effort involved in professional development though participation and more recently that of Future Teacher 3.0 UK .These newer, smaller initiatives are just as valuable as the larger scale ones I have been involved in such as UNICollaboration . Fellow badge enthusiast Deb Baff joined me to create a blog post for #OER22 to share Open love!
Moving on or bowing out?
December 2020 saw me retiring from my post at Warwick University. Those who were paying attention (and why should you?) will have noticed that many of my activities continue in the open beyond retirement. In this post in 2021 I reflected on the changes retirement may or may not bring. Looking back now I can see that the most significant impact of working in the open upon my personal and professional identity has been to endow me with the confidence to advocate and engage in values driven, meaningful actitivities. This has been life enhancing, the people I work alongside are precious and have helped me transition to a new understanding of what it means to be a scholar working outside the walls of an institution. Even when current events such as the war in Ukraine seem to erode all hope in a better, kinder world ahead, I have found networks and individuals who are committed to positive action. I look forward to #OER22 and many more open conferences ahead. Let’s keep sharing our stories!