Not so much the a case of the wrong trousers, more like a wardrobe malfunction my story for #oer17

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Nb this is not a picture of my wardrobe!

I’m really looking forward to hearing the keynote from,  and meeting in person, Maha Bali at #OER17.  As part of her preparation for the conference Maha has been using her blog to share ideas and to get contributions and stories from the wider community.  I did something similar when I keynoted at OER15 and it was incredibly useful).

To try an encourage some more sharing of stories, Maha has written a lovely blog post called Fixing the shirt but spoiling the trousers. I love this idea:

“There is a part of my keynote where I plan to refer to an Egyptian expression, which, literally translated, means “when you tried to fix the shirt you spoiled the trousers” (must remember to say trousers not pants in the UK or they’ll think I mean underwear). It conjures up an image of comedy of errors or such, where trying to fix a problem creates new problems.”

Like many people I often think that parts of my working life are bit like a comedy of errors – sometimes all you can do is laugh at some of the absurd situations that arise. However in relation to open-ness I have to confess that recently I have had feelings more akin to a Shakespearean tragedy ( well maybe not quite that dramatic but you’ll  get the idea from this post)

I commented on the post “somtimes feels like I have a wardrobe full for OER but nothing to wear”.  I am want to qualify that a bit more.

I really try to be an open practitioner, I make an a concerted effort to share my work, reflections etc via my blog. It’s probably my main open outlet.  In my institution we have an OER policy, great support and guidance for  creating and sharing OER , a growing OER repository (mainly due to the perseverance and hard work of Marion Kelt in our library).

However recently despite having all this support I don’t seem to have been making any kind of meaningful contribution either through sharing of OERs or reflections rants about open practice.   I do feel it’s kind of like opening your wardrobe, which is full of cloths but you still can’t find something/anything to wear.  That can be (well, for me anyway ) a pretty demoralising experience.

However, to extent the wardrobe metaphor a bit further as OER17 draws closer, I am finding a couple of things that I’ve forgotten about and on trying them on have started to feel much better dressed.

A case in point is Virtually Connecting. I have been aware of this great open, extension to conferences, for a while now, but haven’t ever participated. Partly because I have been fortunate enough to have been at many conferences in person, and partly because I didn’t really think it was “for the likes of me”.  It’s for “proper” researchers.

However on reading, and commenting on the excellent reflective post on the paradox of inclusion  from Autumn Caines about the history and some recent evaluation of Virtual Connecting,  I am changing my mind maybe it is for “the likes of me” after all. I am looking forward to participating in my first VC session during OER17.

I might not be able fully dressed in open everyday, but I am stating to feel better about my wardrobe options and choices and not worrying so much about wearing the wrong trousers.

9 comments

  1. Just read this post, Sheila, I will attend #OER17 too, Hopefully we can chat more about it too. I also feel that ‘openness’ is being challenged and while my research was about investigating the open/online space of Twitter for learning, I think there are increasing political/neo-liberal pressures that offset the authentic nature of open learning.
    Hopefully we will have time for a chat about this 🙂
    Best wishes
    Muireann

    • Thanks for the comment and would be great to talk more at the conference Muireann. The panel session I’m in on day one will be exploring some of these issues too.

  2. Someone mention shoes…

    I was having a similar reflection recently. A couple of years ago I would have perhaps described myself as as open education ‘evangelist’, as I’ve matured I consider myself more as an ‘advocate’.

    The difference is in my former eyes I would have preached that everything should be done in the open, now my thinking is more nuanced for various reasons (avoiding turning this comment into an essay the reasons can be captured by two words: vulnerability and freedom). Reflecting on where I’ve come as this quote by Joi Ito stuck in my mind “The Internet isn’t really a technology, it’s a belief system – a philosophy”. For me open education is less about the product and more about connecting to more people with the shared philosophy.

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