Looking Back on a Year of True Fellowship – Reflecting and Reporting on the eCampusOntario OE Fellow Experience

You may have noticed recently that eCampusOntario has introduced the 2019 cohort of OE Fellows: Bill Ju (@NeuroscienceUT), Tricia Bonner(@triciaB67), Xinli Wang(@xinli_w), Krista McCracken (@kristamccracken), and Marnie Seal (@MarnieSeal). Having met with and followed the work of each of these exceptional educators I can say with confidence that some great research and insights are in the forecast for anyone interested in open education in Ontario.

As the 2019 group of Fellows energetically ramps up for a year of learning and advocacy, my own work as a member of the inaugural team of OE Fellows is drawing to a close. It was such a pleasure and an honour to work alongside Laura Killam (@NurseKillam,) Jessica O’Reilly (@Cambrian_Jess,) James Skidmore (@JamesMSkidmore), Helen Dewaard (@hj_dewaard), and Aaron Langille (@aaron_lucs ) as we discovered the meaning of this unique opportunity and shared out our learning as widely as we could, using all the ways and means we could find. Whether we were communicating through conference panels or professional development workshops (OE Global, CNIE, TESS, OEO Summit, ), collaborating on MOOCs (Making Sense of Open Education), facilitating webinars (Fellows Fall 2018 Series), or tweeting and re-tweeting everything in between (#OE Fellows), we were keenly aware that our intrepid gang was part of a much larger and determined group of educators.  The work of the fellowship introduced me to an educational community unlike any that I had ever encountered and encouraged me to bring the voices of that community back to my colleagues and collaborators. In my efforts to advance awareness of open educational practice, I found myself forging new and different connections within my own institution, as well as more widely across the province and beyond.

While it sounds cliché to say “What a difference a year makes”, the phrase rings clear and true when I reflect on my role and my work now, compared to 12 months ago. I have recently taken on a new role at Trent University – a growth opportunity that I may not even have considered without the deepening of perspective that was encouraged by the OE Fellowship. I know that a quick check-in with my “fellow fellows”, would, in most cases, yield stories of comparable, unexpected shifts in direction, whether it be professional, academic and/or personal pursuits.

I owe many, many thanks to @ecampusontario for their support of the OE Fellows. The work I began as an OE Fellow continues and will be an important part of my efforts in instructional design for many years to come.

I have compiled a report of my work and findings as an OE fellow, which I will introduce with a short excerpt from the report itself:

Now is the time for me to share my findings, not only from the action research that I committed to pursue at the outset of this adventure, but also from the many events and collaborations in which I participated over the past months. As such, this report offers a mix of reflection, results, and work products, which I hope might be embraced and re-purposed by the community in the spirit in which they are offered.

Here, for your review is a copy of the report: From the Side of Our Desks to the Centre. I welcome questions, comments and feedback anytime through the channel of your choice – maureenglynn@trenu.ca, or Twitter @MGtheID.

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