Last week ended on a high note. We’d just wrapped up the OERxDomains21 conference a 2 day whirlwind of presentations, stories, shared moments, and lots of typing. I sat back in my “command center” in the Reclaim Conference room/studio and I was just amazed at the awesomeness that occurred over the last two days. Another conference in the books!
Over the years this conference has always been one of my favorite times, to come together as a community to talk about the work that we’re doing in the community and surrounding the conference topics as well. This year they were:
- Theme 1: Openness, care, and joy in the times of pandemic;
- Theme 2: Open Education responses to surveillance technologies and data ownership in education;
- Theme 3: Open in Action: open teaching, educational practices, and resources, how you might be using Domains and other tools;
- Theme 4: Shifts in agency and creativity as empowerment of learners and educators;
- Theme 5: Open Source Tools: infrastructure, cloud environments, targeted teaching tools.
There’s a lot to unpack there right?? There were so many amazing talks that I didn’t know where I wanted to jump in! Luckily the sessions were all set up to be recorded so they were all archived automatically. It’s literally like having a Netflix of OER to binge. I’m excited to catch up on it all.
OERxDomains21 took conferences to the next level– between the interactions in Discord, to the pre-recorded sessions that took the Domains to track to the moon, and the different topics of OER tracks 1&2 there was a blast of amazing work that’s been done over the last year and beyond.
This year, I stepped more into the role of staff where I produced the separate live streams behind the presentations. This was honestly such a fun experience. I’d taken video production back in 2016 when I studied abroad in London and spent time working in the UMW Production Studio as a DKC tutor and realized how much I enjoyed producing videos in general so I was super excited to be back in the back seat where I produced videos.
The planning went on behind the conference to ensure that everything was set up so that presenters and session chairs didn’t have to worry about recording the presentations was so smooth. That’s where myself and the Reclaim Staff and ALT Conference staff came in! We were the behind-the-scenes users where we coordinated and produced the presentations.
Working as the host for the conference turned out to be such an unexpected treat as well because I was on the schedule for a lot of presentations I wouldn’t have normally watched if this was a face-to-face conference.
One, in particular, by Virginia Rodés, described the digital divide that occurred in Uruguay when the COVID-19 pandemic swept the country in her talk: Emergency, Openness and Agency: Adoption of Open Educational Resources and Repositories in Overcoming the Education Crisis During COVID-19 Pandemic by K12 Teachers in Uruguay.
The second was done by Sundi Richard and Autumm Caines, called the Use and Misuse of Care. Sundi and Autumm built out a website and twine game to narrate the student experiences when working with proctoring software during the pandemic.
I think one of the best parts about the conference was the use of Discord. Lauren Hanks developed the coolest Discord server for the event, making it the central hub for over half of the participants in the conference, most of which are still a part of the server after the conference!
I’ve used Discord a lot in the past for a lot of gaming communities and use it often for game nights with friends so I was super excited to jump into the conversations happening within the OERxDomains21 Community! (P.S. there is talk about maintaining the Discord server after the conference!)
It gave me some ideas on how to incorporate a server into the Reclaim sphere as well, so stay tuned for more info there!
Next, I want to talk about new experiences within the Reclaim Hosting crew! Isabelle Attard is one of our newest members at Reclaim and fellow UMW Alum. She joined the team in December 2020 and jumped into the OERxDomains Community with both feet. We were both working from the same ‘command center’ at the Reclaim office, enjoying our hosting timeslots and dance parties for KaraOERoke to kick off the event.
Seeing the community welcome newcomers like Isabelle is so heartwarming and makes me realize how valuable the connections are, virtual or not.
Finally, the classic Remixer machine was in full force as well! Bryan Mathers created a virtual nametag so participants could create their own badge. Here are mine!
Finally, we wrapped up the conference by talking through the Reclaim Hosting experience and what that looks like for the community and the company as a whole. It was such a fun conversation and a great Reclaim Today episode. Take a listen: