I feel very fortunate to be a member of the Global OER Graduate Network since September 2015. Thanks to GO-GN I have connected with many fellow PhD students in open education from across the world as well as experienced and successful GO-GN scholars.
Until this happened, being a PhD student was an extremely lonely experience and while many will say that the internal motivation is a strong motivator to go on… external stimulation and feeling part of a community play a vital role in helping us feel stronger, and help us believe that we can do this.
In a few weeks time, I will be travelling to Cape Town. Not really looking forward to the flight… but I won’t be on my own and it will be mainly during the night, so hopefully, I will be able to close my eyes and just imagine I am somewhere else.
Can’t wait to see everybody in Cape Town for the next GO-GN event (just did my homework and the draft presentation linked to my studies is also ready). Planning to sprinkle local pictures over it when I am there. Will be exciting to find out about my peers research and the progress they are making. Last year, it has been such a valuable experience in Krakow. I had no idea what to expect when I arrived there. The GO-GN event was particularly successful as there were peers at different stages of their studies and that helped me position myself, realise that I had made some progress, but also see where you were hoping to go. They say it is not healthy to compare yourself with others, and I agree, but in this case, it just worked and motivated me to do more and better to get there. The selection of peers was therefore spot on, I feel. The Open Education Global 2016 that took place afterwards was also an enlightening experience.
flickr photo by wenzday01 https://flickr.com/photos/wenzday01/17820776192 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-ND) license
This year, I will have the opportunity to present some of the findings linked to my research at the Open Education Global 2017 conference which will take after our GO-GN event. I have just submitted the second full draft of my thesis to supervisors and am waiting for their feedback. The abstract I submitted for the conference is the following:
Opening-up the HE box through cross-boundary collaborative open learning in cross-institutional academic development
This contribution reports on the development of an openly licenced cross-boundary collaborative open learning framework for cross-institutional academic development, one of the key outputs of a doctoral phenomenographic study.
While competition and financial incentives seems to be the drivers for teaching excellence in the United Kingdom, this study proposes collaboration and openness instead. This includes practitioner led collaboration among Higher Education Institutions, as well as collaborative open learning among diverse academic staff, students and the public.
Two opened-up cross-institutional academic development courses developed and offered using social media were used to explore the lived learner experience in collaborative open learning in these settings through a series of semi-structured interviews which formed the basis of the phenomenographic analysis. The findings illustrate learner engagement patterns of the ‘selective’ and ‘immersive’ collaborator, their behaviours and needs. These were used to inform the framework. The findings provide evidence about the fluidity of open learning online and offline, and the impact cross-boundary learning experiences and community have for engagement in learning.
This study has shown that cross-boundary collaborative learning can act as a powerful motivator for engagement in professional and personal development. Can we afford to ignore collaboration and openness as drivers for teaching excellence and innovation?
Thank you to all colleagues from GO-GN and my peers whom I have met online and offline for bringing light into my PhD journey. The conversations we had especially with Viv and Penny about our studies have been invaluable! I am sure that many of the connections will last far beyond these studies and I will be forever grateful to Bea, Beck, Nat, Rob and Martin, the GO-GN team, for creating so many valuable opportunities and supporting me in such a fruitful way.
I hope to see you there 😉
If you are a PhD student in open education, check out GO-GN and join this valuable community!!!