Open Education Week 2021: A virtual trip around the globe

Happy #OEWeek! This week we celebrated with our WCET, higher education, and open education community on social media and learned through a wonderful guest post from Jenny Parks and Regina Gong. Check out their post for information on leveraging partnerships to create and develop a state-wide OER community.

Today we get to take a global journey through all the ways the community celebrated open education with our Director of Open Policy, Tanya Spilovoy. Tanya details the great events and highlights some of the learning opportunities shared by other open education experts. Thank you Tanya!

Enjoy the read and enjoy your day,

Lindsey Downs, WCET


Open Education is continuing to grow in spite of and in response to the challenges we’ve all faced in 2020/21.

“The event showcases projects, resources, and ideas from around the world that demonstrate open education in practice.”

– OE Global Website

March 1-5, 2021 was Open Education Week, a global celebration of all things open, spearheaded by OE Global. For those who work in Open Education, OE Week is like a holiday–a celebration of all the efforts and events, people and places—led by like-minded practitioners who have dedicated their craft to making education accessible, affordable, and equitable.

Global Perspective

This week has given me the opportunity to travel virtually to places around the world and see the good work being led by the open community even though I’m at home on my computer. To start my virtual travel, I explored the Open Education week schedule (to which anyone can add their OE Week events), and although events are listed in many different languages, I can see the countries, events, and start times for each submission. There is definitely something exciting about going to bed knowing that while I sleep, open education will continue to be celebrated at 2:00 AM in Slovenia, at 3:00 AM in Cuba, at 4:00 AM in Rome, and at 5:00 AM in Switzerland. A person could literally attend open education events 24/7 for the entire week! I’d definitely need more coffee.

Get Involved

Another great way to explore Open Education Week is by following the twitter hashtags #OER and #OEWeek. Exciting regional compact and state-wide efforts highlighted in the WCET Frontiers Blog written by Regina Gong and Jenny Parks about leveraging regional partnerships for a state-wide OER community provide a high-level overview of the vision for a National Consortium for Open Educational Resources (NCOER) , and virtual conferences offered by Colorado Department of Higher Education, the North Dakota University System, Idaho State Board of Education/Idaho State University (and so many other states) showcased the awesome impact of collaboration among regions, states, and systems.

My favorite thing is seeing Governors like Brad Little, ID and Jared Polis, CO endorse open educational resources and champion the benefits of Open. And a huge shout out to Open Oregon Educational Resources for their tweet encouraging gratitude.

Policy

“No matter what the circumstances are…there will always be things that we don’t predict or prepare for…the key to surviving all of these is to stay focused on work that has lasting impact. Leveraging the opportunities that do present themselves to you, and making sure that you use the privileges that you have to provide opportunities for those that don’t.”

– Sharon Leu

For those interested in policy, you will want to watch the recordings from Open Education Conference keynote speaker, Sharon Leu (who is now the Entrepreneur In Residence with Jobs For the Future Labs), ACRL, SPARC, and UNESCO. The ALA Copyright, Legislation, Education, and Advocacy Network (CLEAN), held a free webinar called “Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Open Educational Resources.” The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Coalition (SPARC) featured a webcast on “Open Education Policy in the U.S. and Canada: Trends and Opportunities.” And UNESCO held a webinar on “Open Education Week: OER Dynamic Coalition Webinar”.

If you missed any of these exciting and important sessions, don’t hesitate to reach out to the speakers for a recording; I know they’ll be happy to share (that’s what OER folks do.).   

Institutions

Many individual institutions also held events.  Campus events showcased OER initiatives, faculty champions, and student ambassadors. A must-listen is the Missouri A&OER Symposium’s keynote by Professor Jasmine Roberts which centered around care. Student perspecives are always impactful; the Open and Affordable Education committee at Iowa State partnered with student government leaders on a new project to amplify the student experience with course material costs. Watch their intro video here. I’m excited to hear student stories and learn more about this initiative. If you’re interested in reading more about student perspectives regarding course materials, read the new U.S. PIRG report “Fixing the Broken Textbook Market, Third Edition.” It was also fun to see Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU)’s tweets celebrating its magnificent Z Degrees and Open Education Faculty Champions.

What Are You Waiting For? Take Your Trip!

Open Education week has so many events, resources, activities, and people that there is no way to capture all of the goodness in one blog post. There’s enough content to get us through the pandemic (and then some). I’ve just barely introduced you to the awesome variety available for free to anyone who is interested. You are invited to take your own trip around the globe to explore all that open education has to offer. All are welcome.


Tanya Spilovoy

Tanya Spilovoy
Director, Open Policy
WCET – the WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies
@TanyaSpilovoy

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My name is Lindsey Rae Downs. I am the Assistant Director of Communications and Community for WCET, the WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies. I work remotely from beautiful Helena, MT.

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