May 29, 2018

Open Scholarship - being vulnerable

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash
I'm tagging along with Festival of Learning (#FoL18) this week. The first Virtually Connecting session was with Jessie Stommel who just romped through a keynote 'Centering Teaching: The Human Work of Higher Education' to open the conference. During the Virtually Connecting session he posed many questions, one of which was

How do we make our scholarship vulnerable?
How can we make our scholarship an act of trust? 

One way that I am evolving my open scholarship is through volunteering. Volunteering is also another form of Professional Development for me. Due to my isolated location, this happens online, openly and with a diverse group of fantastic educators (well they educate me) that operate in platforms of trust.

I'm volunteering with Virtually Connecting again this year and have accepted/formalised my work in that space by being listed as the "Australasian Lead". This means that people can contact me for links into conferences in my region. We operate a Slack channel for conference hookup organisation. There is a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes to finally get to have a conversation with those onsite at the conference. This has allowed me to be in touch with a wide range of people and be vulnerable and be open to mistakes (and aha! moments) as we try to connect across the globe. This blog post is a perfect example of intersections in the open and how I use that in my practise.

I also volunteer with the #CLMOOC crew (Connected Learning Open Options?). In the last year I've also been part of the Slack channel where we arrange pop-up events, throw around ideas and plan towards an annual event. Again, there is a support and trust here that allows me to throw ideas into the ring and support others in their ideas.

This year I've stepped up my involvement with an ASCILITE SIG dubbed TELedvisors (Technology Enhanced Learning "e" advisors). This means being part of a six-part leader group that thrashes things out in .... yep .... another Slack Channel. As our membership creeps over the 200 mark, this open group seeks to support all things TEL around Australian and New Zealand Universities. Putting up ideas also brings responsibility to bring ideas to fruition. It enables me to interact  and learn with my 'mob' throughout this region. There is another trust aspect with these other five people that I have never met face to face but work together on a regular basis.

Somehow I've chosen to be free for another volunteer involvement. I participated in #GovHack last year with a piece called 'Fabric4Life' and hope to lead the regional effort for the Northern Territory this year. With the byline Empower, Enable, Connect #GovHack fits in well with my open scholarship. This annual event seeks to get people using an open database for innovative ideas to help the community. There has already been an act of trust by the NT rep Shannon Loughton in putting my name forward for this position

Through these opportunities I have learnt to trust others, to ignore titles, to connect as humans and be vulnerable in the open.