I am now sitting in the plane in Cape Town, well, in the airport. In a few minutes the doors will close and this massive bird will fly us back to London. I hope so… As I am not a good flyer, distracting myself from the fact that I will be in the air for all these hours and flying around 1000 km per hour… well the (auto)pilot, I thought that it would be good to distract myself. I usually fall asleep watching movies, which I guess would be a perfect solution… if only I could get comfortable in this seat. So instead, I decided to make a start reflecting on the week we spent in Cape Town and draft this blogpost while the last few days are still fresh and alive in my mind… I also hope to get some sleep, as the flight will otherwise stretch even further.
Where do I start? Well, looking back, first of all, my colleagues GO-GN peers come to mind. Some of the relationships that started forming last year have become stronger and turned into professional friendships through which we support each other in our research. Before Kraków, I had no exchanges whatsoever with other PhD students and my journey has been very much a solo adventure, at times a nightmare. Everything changed since Kraków. It was, for example wonderful to get to know Viv from Brazil in Kraków and continue the conversations we started there about our work and support each other remotely. In between GO-GN meetings I had found Penny from GO-GN, via social media who is also a phenomenographer, just like me. I got to know Penny a little bit when I reached out for help on Twitter when I felt stuck with the methodology and just wanted to run away. I was so happy that we not only both researched specific areas within open education but also looked at the experience with a phenomenographic lense. Penny has been wonderful and set-up a social media support network for phenomenographers. Soon, others joined us in this network, including Margy and Åke who both have been of great help to me. I now know that I can reach out on Twitter or directly in the FB phenomenographers community when I have challenging questions related to this and also help others. And there have been such opportunities. While I haven’t seen Penny in real life,our paths crossed in VConnecting during the Go-GN event in Cape Town. That was such a wonderful surprise to see here and also connect with other open practitioners and researchers from other parts of the world. Thank you Maha for organising this.
Through a double webinar that was shared with GO-GN, I discovered Anne and her work around cross-boundary objects. I potentially could have found a boundary crossing buddy. When I found out that Anne would also be in Cape Town, I was excited. There, we started discussing opportunities to collaborate through creating joined-up academic development opportunities for staff in our institutions as well as research. These are really potentially exciting developments and I am really looking forward to collaborating with Anne and her colleagues.
After some sleep, still in the big bird, I woke up. I am still in the plane and we are currently flying over France… soon on the ground again. I will continue when I am in the train to Manchester. Hopefully, my eyes will stay open…. (later added… they were mainly closed).
The GO-GN event was a really valuable opportunity to find out what some of my peers in the network were researching and identify how we could support each other and collaborate. Jenni‘s work particularly seems to be the closest to my research in the area of collaborative open learning through inquiry-based learning approaches and I am looking forward to finding out how her thinking will develop and evolve and if the framework I developed as part of my study is at all useful for her. Lisa‘s research plans in Ghana around teacher education was also of particular interest to me and as she is at the very early stages of her research, I would love to help her if this is something Lisa wants too. ROER4D will also be a valuable contact point for her, I think. Tabisa‘s work also made me think again about the north south divide, as well as Judith‘s project and the importance of cross-boundary collaboration in the context of OER and OEP and the need, I think, to establish diverse communities that will bring the global north and south together and help us all grow. Sarah‘s works is also in the area of social inclusion. Catherine‘s research also triggered some new thinking especially around the spaces we occupy as well as Caroline‘s work and I could see linked to open learning ecologies. Michael’s ideas around exploring constructive alignment in the context of open sounded intriguing and I am looking forward to finding out how his ideas develop. Janesh‘s work around studying the experience of Indian MOOC learners and particularly their use of English was of particular interest to me. Jamison is exploring the transformative potential of open and I can see how his initial ideas from last year are shaping. Unfortunately I did miss Gino‘s contribution due to VConnecting but am looking forward to accessing his presentation on slideshare when this is available.
The two days provided a valuable opportunity to discuss a wide range of interesting projects and open research The two days also gave me fresh energy to continue and bring this project to completion. I am adding here my response to one of Rob’s activities in which he asked us to summarise our study in 7 bullet points. This really helped me focus on what would be important to communicate my research to others.
Seven points linked to my study
1 Teaching excellence framework in the UK to raise quality of teaching is based on a competitive model with financial incentives for universities linked to increase in student fees
2 I propose instead collaboration and openness to engage academics in CPD, change practices and innovate
3 I explored the collaborative open learning experience in two openly licensed cross-institutional academic development courses (collective case study approach to collect data) using phenomenography, how collaborative open learning is experienced and identify what design features influence this experience
4 I interviewed 22 study participants from the collective case study (FDOL + #creativeHE)
5 I found out how participants experienced collaborative open learning (as immersive and selective collaborators) and the design features that influenced that experience (design, facilitation, community)
6 boundary crossing was a significant factor of the experience
7 I constructed an openly licensed cross-boundary collaborative open learning framework (leaner patterns, learner needs, design characteristics) for other academic developers to adapt based on the phenomenographic findings and the discussion around this.
See below my presentation from the GO-GN event and explore there my colleagues’ research projects too!
As I love drawing, my plan is to create a visual story of the abstract and add it to the to the title page of the thesis, if this can be done and is allowed…
The advice and suggestions from my peers and the GO-GN team are helping me get there. Hopefully before the summer.
Thank you Bea, Beck, Nats, Rob and Martin for looking after all of us so well.
GO-GN has 8 alumni and 50 PhD students studying open education in 14 countries. If you are a PhD student in open education anywhere in the world, join his fantastic global support community!
Post 2 about OE Global will follow.