OERXDomains21 Conference Reflection ~ Ana Reina
Two weeks ago, our team had the chance to participate in the OERxDomains Conference organized by the Association of Learning Technology. Lorna, Kari, Ifeanyichukwu and I delivered a short presentation about our project and the conclusions we had achieved so far working with OER resources transforming pre-existent content into a textbook. Besides the technical difficulties, we finally were able to show the attendees how we were approaching this project and what we had done so far. We received very positive comments during the presentation about our work and some people liked fact that we, as students, were participating in the creation of a resource thought for future students. At first, I was very nervous as I knew all the listeners were professionals in the field, however, presenting from your room took off some pressure. We were the first group to present at the whole 2-day conference, so after that, we were able to attend some of the talks and learn from the experience of others working the OER around the world. Even though I would have loved to listen to most of them, I was quite busy with revision and, moreover, half of the presentations were happening at the same time, so had to select a few that seemed interesting or helpful to our present matter.
I would like to discuss shortly three of the presentations that I was able to listen to. The first was called ‘Contemporary Art and Open Learning’ by Neil Mulholland, who holds the chair of Contemporary Art at the University of Edinburgh. He described the adaptation process that they had to endure due to the distance learning on a course that aimed to teach about OER. A key part of the course was to share and learn in the same space, therefore this had to be changed to online workshops using OERs. The results were very favourable, and the project was reproduced in Glasgow and Canada. They proved that OERs is a perfect way of learning informal art, specifically for the new public that has never approach contemporary art. Art can be taught online using OERs, nevertheless, Neil emphasized many times that first of all, we need to create together. I think is a great outlook to apply to an art project like ours and makes me wonder about the options that we can offer for following discussions or comments in the text.
The second presentation was ‘Domains of Open Educational Resources in Spanish Universities’, presented by Gema Santos-Hermosa, a lecturer at University Pompeu Fabra awarded with a PhD in Information Science and Communication. Due to my background, I was curious to know if Spain was applying some of these resources and on which level of academic formation. She presented detailed research that finally showed that the universities have policies and funding to use these new technologies of learning. However, they are not still implemented in lectures. The majority are used for research or outreach purposes.
Finally, I would like to keep a note of the conference ‘Open course, open textbook, open teach’ by Orna Farrell. A group of presenters showed us the platform that had been created for professional development in open learning. They organized a Moodle-based course to teach how to work OERs which later was converted into an open textbook. They have been using it before the pandemic started and the feedback that they received was wonderful. This seems a great tool to use in case we need any specific support or advice. Their webpage is: https://openteach.ie/
Overall, it has been a great experience to participate and listen to what other colleagues in OER had to say. Every day I am learning more about OERs and the infinite possibilities and applications that exist!