Things Open

Generously shared by @greeneterry

How did I become involved in things open? Funny you should ask because I’ve been asked to contribute to www.101openstories.org to tell my Open Education origin story. I’ll be on a live video call on that site on July 27th telling this story. If my past video experience can predict the outcome of this one, it should be funny for you and embarrassing for me. Luckily for me I haven’t been in the open game long, so I seem to still have access to most of the memories. I’ll tell you the story here, too. Spoiler alert if you want to watch the video!

It was a dark and stormy night way back in the fall of 2015. And by dark and stormy night, I believe it was actually quite mild and the middle of the day. I was in the office of Judith Limkilde, then the Dean of General Arts and Science of Fleming College, for my performance review. As any good boss would do, Judith asked me what I would like to do for professional development over the next year. I knew this question would be coming and I had prepared an in depth answer that was probably something like: “Umm, I’d like to brush up on some, like, digital skills and stuff.” I had come across some weird, free thing that was called ds106 that promised to show you a thing or two about digital storytelling. I wanted to do it, but I wasn’t sure exactly why at the time. Judith said okay, go right ahead.

I know what it was that drew me in now. I wasnt looking for “open” or “free” or anything. Just some online learning. There’s a lot of learning stuff on the Internet: Coursera, Udacity, Lynda, whatever. It all looks slick and umm… what’s the word? Lifeless. ds106 was different though. It wasn’t all that polished looking, but here’s a lesson for all the other slicker than snot venture capital funded bore-o-systems: You could see the work of the students everywhere. What? I get to see what the other people do with these instructions? I can take their ideas and build off them? I could add my ideas for how to participate in the course? I might see my own stuff on this site?  That was my fire for open all lit up right there.

I’ve been opening up ever since.

Since then, and directly or indirectly from participating in ds106, I have been able to:

  • Grow a pretty darn good professional learning network on Twitter where I can actually ask questions of and get response from superheroes in Open Education. You can, too.
  • Volunteer with Virtually Connecting, where I get to be involved with and help others get access to educational conferences all over the world that we would not otherwise have access to. Another chance to connect with and have access to open thinkers around the world.
  • Participate and practice regular, reflective and creative open practice through a few different domains. These include one for my own personal professional learning banter (this one), a weekly professional learning blog for Fleming College faculty which adds about 500% more fun to my day job (The Teaching Hub) and The Open Faculty Patchbook. (More about that one in the next bullet point.)
  • Help create a how-to-teach manual for higher ed pedagogy called the Open Faculty Patchbook in which faculty from all over tell us how they deploy specific pedagogical skills. What we’ve collected so far is being published into the first iteration of the manual. You can see it on its Pressbook site here. All of the patches are wonderful tales of the trials and tribulations from people in the thick of higher ed teaching and learning. It’s a testament to the wonderful character of the people of open that these 21 people took the time to write a chapter of our book and share it openly with everyone for no incentive other than the desire to contribute.
  • Use and contribute to the Creative Commons by openly licensing my work and using the openly licensed work available. For those of you out there who openly license your photos, my blog posts and slide decks thank you dearly for the added panache!
  • Be added to the roster of Ontario’s Open Education Rangers by eCampusOntario. I believe this means I am able to deputize people into the movement.
  • Become known in certain open circles as the #crapbadge hander-outer. I wrote a reflective blog post after attending the Open Ed conference in Fall 2016: An Opening Move. In it I awarded a very poorly drawn badge to someone whom I thought did a great presentation. I now use my sub-par artistic skills and the Snipping Tool to award crap-badges for simple but awesome deeds on request. Sometimes on demand. Here’s my latest, awarded to Chuck Pearson for his amazing patch of the Open Faculty Patchbook. You can just see the artistry oozing out of it:
  • Oh and, to me, the ultimate sign of making it as a member of ds106 culture and open in general; look up and to your right and see that I am an Official Talky Tina character of the Internet. This fact will be on my gravestone or urn or whatever I end up in.

It’s been a pretty great time opening up so far. Join in! You can find me in twitter @greeneterry

“Open the door” flickr photo by hernanpba https://flickr.com/photos/hernanpc/15475728248 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license

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