OER23: Joy in the Open

There was a thread through the OER 2023 conference that I pulled on, tugged at, thought about.

This mulit-coloured and multi-faceted thread led me to interesting places and new spaces, where ideas and experiences emerged. This is my post-conference reflection. I didn’t physically attend the conference, but did register. Since I have commitments that keep me here, bound in place I rely on digital technologies to take me to conference venues far from home. Thanks to digital spaces like Discord, Twitter, and Mastadon, there were moments I felt connected and present in the conference rooms and conversations – even if these were liminal and ephemeral. The presentation I shared with Dr. Verena Roberts and Leo Havemann was particularly joyful, a moment when I felt present and in-the-room with others who were onsite.

But there were also many moments when I was wishing I was there! There were times when the reality of post-pandemic experiences set in – being together in person is still a dream for me in my current role as a primary care-giver for an elderly family member.

But what ultimately emerged in the aftermath of OER23 was an overall feeling of JOY – in making and connecting with people, ideas, experiences. The images shared by conference participants were reflective, personal, and eye-catching. Perhaps these examples will capture the lived experiences and feelings of the moments.

There’s JOY in shared moments.

There’s JOY in feeling like you belong.

I’ve been connecting and continue to connect to the Global OER Graduate Network (GO_GN). This group and it’s dynamic team of leaders has been a part of my doctoral journey. There’s joy in knowing that you belong somewhere when the dissertation and research work can be isolating and lonely. Feelings of belonging don’t just happen through official membership – it’s offered by others who see and recognize you – for who you are, what you do, and how you share. I have often reached out to others in this group for feedback, questions, and encouragement. Those who travel through similar processes, productions, and presentations in graduate networks can provide support through feelings of affinity. I have contributed to the GO_GN group to support others in the community. This valuable resource [The GO_GN Open Research Handbook] in research methods and conceptual frameworks, as well as research reviews, was shared at the conference and is open to all.

There’s JOY in making something together.

There is a thread in the OER 2023 conference [FemEdTech at OER23] that tracks back to the OER 2020 conference that I had planned to attend. In 2020, the plane tickets were in hand and accommodations where booked. In the months leading up to the conference I actively created and crafted with others in the FemEdTech community that had me stitching and designing a quilt square to be showcased at the conference [The Digital Quilt]. Then the pandemic happened and all joy in being present and in person dissipated. While my contribution is a small part of the overall finished quilt project [Contributions], there is joy in knowing that part of this FemEdTech Quilt fabrication and story contains my share in the making [Care in Community]. The reconnections with joy (thanks Lorna Campbell & Frances Bell) is the echo that resonates through this reflection. Perhaps with the tradition of quilting to share story and culture in Canada, I can hope that the FemEdTech quilt will someday make the trip across the ocean to an open educational space in the coming year(s). Perhaps a future OTESSA conference would be a great place to showcase this joy-ful exploration in connecting through openness in digital and physical discourse and story.

There is JOY in endings.

Conferences end. Events come to natural conclusions. As the OER23 conference concluded, a few final tweets and comments gave me joy.

As I approach the endings in the doctoral work, I stop to find joy in this moment of pause.

It’s as if I am caught in a crystal. I am reflective as I reflect. I am crystallizing my thoughts as I write.

My reflections focus on facets of my dissertation methodologies (cyrstallization and post-intentional phenomenology). [See previous posts on Playing with Crystallization and Post Phenomenology: An Exploration]

I know that this deep thinking and constant questioning in dissertation work will come to an end and this brings me joy! Not only since the hard work and constant efforts of reading, writing, thinking, and analyzing will come to an end, but in the feelings of accomplishment in completing a job, looking back along it’s trajectory and knowing you’ve worked through many challenges.

Where do you find your JOY? Be sure, as you venture through your life-experiences to take moments to feel and experience joy!