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Openness, collaboration, heart: #ETUG conference reflection

Last week I had the pleasure of participating in the ETUG conference in Kamloops, Canada. It was a real privilege for me to be there, to have been invited to contribute a keynote to ETUG’s 25th Anniversary Conference, and also to have the honour of taking part in National Indigenous Peoples Day. I learnt a lot from my time in Kamloops and I want to share a few reflections in this post:

The event had strong sessions about openness, including a great workshop on ‘Fostering a culture of openness: a work in progress’ which was about: “factors including institutional norms, leadership, relationships, humility and criticality that were identified as being instrumental in fostering a culture of openness at the school, faculty, and university levels. It will share the tensions and conceptual, practical and technical challenges experienced in developing a culture of openness in a higher education institution that to date has no formal institutional open education strategy or open policy in place” and I found the tool and questions we explored extremely helpful. It was a great session that resonated strongly with work explored at the OER19 conference in April.

Also on the theme of open education I really enjoyed Amanda Coolidge’s talk on ‘$3 million, now what?‘ in which Amanda talked about how on “on April 17, 2019 the Ministry of Advanced Education Skills and Training announced their continued commitment to open education with the funding of $3.26 million toward open education in British Columbia and then outlined what the strategy looks like for the next three years of open education development and disbursement.” Coming from a UK perspective, I found this really inspiring and much food for thought when working with policy makers here.

The day before the conference I was invited to take part in a workshop hosted by Brian Lamb around the work of the OpenETC project, which launched a collaborative WordPress platform, with hundreds of new users from institutions across the province. At the conference, this work was further explored in this session. Closely focused on education technology and collaboration, this project really chimes with a lot of priorities we have in the ALT community.

There were many more sessions I found inspiring including a wonderful presentation from Tony Bates, who was sharing findings from the annual survey of online and distance learning in Canadian post-secondary institutions (and whom I very much enjoyed meeting in person for the first time), an unforgettable Gasta session which included not only Clint Lalonde but also the musical John Churchley (whom you should immediately look up online), a presentation about the ETUG Community Survey and a very engaging session on LightBoards for teaching.

I felt very much at home at the ETUG conference because just like the ALT community it is all about collaboration, reflection and sharing of best practice. After 25 years of working together (celebrated with a great donut birthday cake) this community has come to hold dear very much the same values as I do, recognising the power of sharing practice and research and working together to make change happen for students and staff alike.

And you could tell that this event was very much organised with heart. Little touches everywhere made participants and speakers feel welcome from the start and created a space in which the moving narrative from Elder Mike on National Indigenous Peoples Day found an equally receptive audience as the newest members of the community sharing research findings or #femedtech conversations about equality and women in #edtech.

Many people contributed to making this conference happen and many helped ensure that I had such a great experience – I want to say a BIG thank you to each of you. I hope I can come back to ETUG another time to contribute and take part and continue to build a relationship with this community that has so much in common with us #altc.

ETUG in pictures

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  1. […] Hawksey’s brilliant keynote at Domains19 as well as bemoan missing ETUG, as a way to nod to Maren Deepwell’s keynote while at the same time recognizing the month the Association for Learning Technology (ALT) ate […]

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