It’s been a busy period for the OER World Map team! There has been a lot of development work taking place – including a new brand identity and UI overhaul for the OER World Map (which has a great new landing page). The refresh was launched at OER18: Open to All – 9th Annual Conference for Open Education Research, Practice and Policy which took place in Bristol, UK between the 18-19th April. The event was used to assess the use of the map as a tool for collecting and visualising data about conference attendance and activity.
— OER World Map (@oerworldmap) April 19, 2018
Jan and myself also conducted a workshop at OER18 on the possibilities of using the OER World Map to understand and support OER activity in the UK using the successes of the OER Atlas as a template. Participants in the session included David Kernohan (chair of the conference and education policy expert); Michael Shaw (former journalist and Director of TES Resources); and Kelly Terrell (University of Southampton & EdShare). The OER World Map acted well as a shared artefact for the different levels of OER experience among the group, and we had a great discussion around vectors for developing impact. After the conference, Michael blogged about his changing understanding of himself as an OER pragmatist, building on a theme from David Wiley’s keynote.
You can see a round-up of OER18 blog posts at https://oer18.oerconf.org/news/blog-post-round-up-oer18/. Next it was off to the charming town of Delft in the Netherlands for Open Education Global 2018 (24-26th April). Here’s a picture of the Nieuwe Kerk.
Visiting another country was of course another chance to show country-specific maps!
— OER World Map (@oerworldmap) April 25, 2018
In the evening of day one, conference assembled in the Museum Prinsenhof for the Open Education Awards for Excellence. Here I am pleased to report that our project was announced the winner of the global award for Open Innovation, presented by Paul Stacy and Sophie Touzé of the Open Education Consortium.
In case you don’t know, these awards are voted for by peers around the world. You can see the full list of award winners at https://conference.oeconsortium.org/2018/oe-awards/. Here’s a picture of Jan picking up the award.
This was really an important milestone for the project, I believe, even if we have never actually set ourselves the goal of winning such an award. The OER World Map has been through many phases of development that the outside world won’t see: testing data models; building interfaces; mapping tools; graphical styles; collecting and evaluating data; thinking about practical use; debugging and so on. To receive recognition from peers who see the value of this work and understand the potential of our platform to support open communities of innovation I think means a lot to the whole team.
As pleased as we were we couldn’t celebrate too hard: the following morning, on day two of the conference, Jan, Felix and myself hosted an ‘Action Lab’ that was well attended by a range of stakeholders representing diverse roles and institutions from around the globe.
This was an engaging and stimulating session, and it was great to see new people discover the map for the first time at its current level of maturity. I think that the OE Global conference audience is well suited to the proposition of the OER World Map because of their diversity and desire to connect. We discussed many possible use cases for the platform, validating some existing cases as well as identifying possibilities for future work. We were especially grateful to the OER Program team at Hewlett Foundation for coming along to the session and sharing their time and thoughts on future directions.
Later in the day team members also participated in plenary sessions, including The OER World Map: Suddenly grown up – and now?; German OER Practices and Policy – from Bottom-up to Top-down Initiatives; and OER Librarians supporting open education in Europe.
The conference season has been a very stimulating time and a great chance to connect with friends and colleagues. We believe that the OER World Map is serving to shrink the size of the distance between members of the global OER community. If you are not already a member of the project please join us and take advantage of the opportunity to connect and learn more about the world of OER!
— OER World Map (@oerworldmap) April 27, 2018