conference,  oer,  post-OU

An OER24 transmission

I mentioned my visit to Cork to pull off One Last Job at OER24, which I am now safely and legally returned from. There I gave a fun presentation with Maren on podcasting and internet radio, and one on the afterlife of my 25 Years of Ed Tech book. The conference was excellent, with thought-provoking, engaging and warm keynotes from Rajiv Jhangiani and the double act of Laura Czerniewicz and Catherine Cronin.

We had a compact, full GO-GN workshop the day prior to the conference. I like seeing new generations of GO-GN scholars coming through, there were few of the attendees who had been before and it felt like a new wave of scholars now benefitting from the network.

The OER conference has long been my favourite one to attend, with its combination of quirkiness, critical perspectives and generous people. This was the first one to be hosted since Maren departed ALT, and much kudos goes to CEO Kerry Pinny and events manager Katie Johnson for making it such a success. It is always difficult when taking over from someone who has been at an organisation for a long time. Often the temptation is to make your mark and just change everything. Kerry and the team maintained the ethos and warmth of the OER conference, but also tweaked things and made it their own. It was an exemplar of how to move onwards sensitively, and yes, maintain that meticulous informality (I’m going to make that term a thing).

A couple of small things that I thought worked well (and it’s often the small things that make a conference). The format was generally three- 15 minute talks and then a 15 minute question period in one session. This meant the sessions all moved very quickly, there was never any sense of “I’m trapped in a never ending session that I zoned out from ages ago” which sometimes happens. The timekeeping was something Tom Farrelly had apparently drilled into the session chairs, and the use of the Tomato of Doom timekeeping apparatus kept everyone on schedule. This also meant you could reliably switch between rooms and attend different talks. The conference programme software was a bit confusing at first glance, but it really came into its own when sessions were live and you could see what was happening and upcoming.

There was also an ego-indulgence at the end, as this was possibly my last OER conference (certainly my last as GO-GN director), and Rajiv said embarrassingly nice things about me and everyone generously allowed me to babble on a bit. If you enjoy seeing reserved British men squirm, then this video is for you (watch the amazing Gastas first though).

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