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Educational Design and Engagement

Educational Design and Engagement

Enriching the student learning experience & supporting development of on campus and online courses.

An OER Intern Going to OER24

Last week, I had the privilege to attend the OER24 conference at Munster Technological University, Cork. As an undergrad student and someone wishing to become an academic someday, joining a conference was thrilling and somewhat terrifying at the same time. However, OER24 was friendly and participatory, exemplified by the finale of the day, the Gasta session with strictly 10-minute informal presentations, agitations, or raising questions, and I was grateful for its welcoming environment. The parallel session style introduced for this year’s conference, where several papers were presented in different rooms at the same time, in a way has the disadvantage of un-enabling us to hear all the presentations. But, for me, without any presentation experience outside school/university (!), it eased the stress and created a welcoming and collaborative atmosphere where many participants were also speakers.

Red brick building with rectangular openings

A beautiful brick architecture at the venue, Munster Technological University, Cork


As such, many papers were presented throughout the conference, and the topics varied. It was, for example, fascinating to hear about an Erasmus+ initiative of the Digital Skills for Music Teachers project. Although I have looked at the Music Theory open textbook on Edinburgh Diamond as an example of Edinburgh’s OERs, my perception of OER was somehow limited to easily distributable online, such as theoretical textbooks, self-paced online courses, or perhaps ideas and instructions for art classes. However, this paper was about digitising music education, including playing instruments, and it made me realise the real privilege of being able to learn to play a musical instrument, not only financially but also geographically. I had been thinking about geographical aspects in education opportunities mostly in terms of higher education, but musical education is one of the kinds that might be impacted most significantly by geographical factors – the need for individual feedback on the subtlety of sounds or positions is more difficult to be fulfilled than more desk-based learning. It made me wonder about the limits of Open Education, both its kinds of pedagogy and the use of the Internet, and its importance in tackling regional disparity.


One of my roles here was to co-present a paper, “Empowering Student Engagement with Open Education”, with my manager, Lorna Campbell. Preparing for the presentation over the past few weeks, it was inspiring to learn how our past open content curator and other OER Services interns have learnt from their work and applied it after their internship, be it entrepreneuring or hosting a Wikipedia edit-a-thon. For me as well, the internship experience led me to choose a work placement project this semester as one of my academic courses, involving public outreach and educational content creation. It is inspiring to see how Open Educational Practice (OEP) can take different shapes and integrate into various activities depending on your interests and expertise. There is a Matryoshka doll structure here – we interns create OERs for others’ learning, and we also learn about OER and OEP during the process. Our presentation is to suggest the applicability and possibility of this model to other OE practitioners.


In terms of my speaking, I have a lot of regret – I was pressured by the tightness of time and felt that I could not articulate my points clearly. There is a long, long way to go to become an engaging and confident presenter like many others at the conference. But the experience definitely gave me some confidence, and I am happy that I unlocked a new skill – answering, not just asking, a question at a conference!


It was great that the university fully supported this visit to Cork and allowed me to gain experience from this rare opportunity. It was a hectic time of the year, but I am glad that I could participate even for half of the whole programme and gained much inspiration from those committed to open education from all over the world.


Header: Mayu Ishimoto, Munster Technological University, 2024 CC BY.

Image: Mayu Ishimoto, Munster Technological University, 2024 CC BY.


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