Instructional Design in the Open – Reflections on OE Global 2018

Welcome to the inaugural post for my first and long overdue I.D. blog. I can’t think of a better way to kick things off than to share some of my initial reactions the OE Global 2018 conference – an event that has renewed my passion for instructional design and reminded me of the importance of the work that we do every day.

The theme of the conference was “Transforming Education through Open Approaches” and my participation in this gathering was supported as part of my role as an eCampusOntario Open Education Fellow – So my objective for the event was to leave with a clear sense of how I, as an instructional designer at an Ontario university, can actively contribute to this important transformation. I’m still digesting everything that I saw, heard, and felt, at OE Global, but here are some beginning thoughts on what I learned (along with some invitations to any/all who might read this):

Little things can lead to big change

As Instructional Designers working in higher ed, our impact is often achieved through regular, focused micro-interventions with faculty and colleagues. We share out our knowledge and encourage practice through any/all channels available to us – social media, email, conversations, and, when possible, workshops and group engagements (both in person and virtual).

Open Educational Practice is a lens that we can and should bring to each and every one of these micro-interventions. This became clear to me through multiple presentations at OE Global 2018, including those by/about SUNY and CUNY OE Services, CCC Online Education Initiative, and the Australia OEP Special Interest Group. After all, faculty, even those with a passion for teaching and learning, will always have competing demands for their time, energies, and focus. Transforming teaching and learning should be the only focus of an instructional designer – yes?

In an ideal world, all of our educational institutions would be building towards a clear policy in support of Open Education, but for a host of reasons, we are not there yet. Isn’t it worth equipping ourselves and our collaborators with the knowledge and resources to be ready if/when this happens? (Not to mention, pointing any decision makers with whom we interact to the exemplary work of institutions like TU Delft – the host site of OE Global 2018)

Invitation: Think of three ways that you can build support for open educational practice into your instructional design work. How soon can you start?

Search out and amplify the voices that make a difference

As instrumental as our work as instructional designers might be, we know that our messaging really gains traction when faculty hear it echoed and see it reflected in the work of their peers – particularly those within their own discipline. At OE Global, Professor Jasmine Roberts (@ProfJasmine), shared a highly resonant observation that in some (if not many) academic environments OER and OEP has been stigmatized – even in the face of a burgeoning body of research supporting their quality and benefits. This message reinforced for me how important it is to seek out and create opportunities for our faculty collaborators to share their open stories – perhaps through forums and events that are not necessarily on their day-to-day “radar”.

Some great vehicles for these voices were shared at the conference, including the Open Pedagogy Notebook, an initiative kicked off by Open Ed heroes, Rajiv Jhangiani (@thatpsychprof) and Robin DeRosa (@actualham), and the Open Faculty Patchbook, the brainchild of eCampusOntario’s own, amazing Terry Greene (@greeneterry).

Invitation: Find two (or more!) faculty in your network who have used open educational resources or practices (whether they realized it or not :)). Encourage them to share their stories!

Open is part of a bigger and critically important puzzle

Top of mind for many, if not all participants at OE Global was the role that OER and OEP play in the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Goal #4 – Quality Education – has set targets to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. As instructional designers, we can surely contribute to this goal by moving our work, and that of our colleagues and collaborators, towards the open. Isn’t removing barriers to learning our raison d’être?

Invitation: Take some time to review all 17 of the sustainable development goals and find ways to integrate them into the work that you do.

With time to reflect, (and a chance to fully recover from the jet lag!) I’m sure that I will appreciate even more of the key insights shared through OE Global 2018 and by the amazingly supportive Open Ed community of which I now feel a part. Will post any ongoing epiphanies in the weeks to come!

P.S. Haven’t specifically called out here the amazing work of open librarians that was showcased at OE Global, because I could fill many pages describing their awesomeness. They represent a huge part of the wind behind the sails of open education and I hope to share more reflections about fruitful librarian/I.D./faculty collaborations soon!

(Photo by Angelina Litvin on Unsplash)

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2 Replies to “Instructional Design in the Open – Reflections on OE Global 2018”

  1. I’m glad you highlighted the UNESCO sustainability goals. I hadn’t heard of them before OEGLOBAL 2018, but I’ve been thinking a lot about them since.

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