The GO-GN Seminar and OE Global Conference 2018: Reflections and Experiences

Yay, I became a Dr and now what?

First off,  I would like to note that I have been extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to attend three GO-GN Seminars and three OE Global Conferences to this date. This year was particularly special for me as I passed my Viva about two weeks before participating and presenting my study in Delft to this amazing, collaborative and open community of researchers.

Yes, I am now officially a Dr in Education and this fact in itself bears an impact on how people perceive you and what they expect from you from now on.  I do often wonder if they expect me now to be some kind of “open” genius with incredible ideas on how my research or future projects in this field will contribute towards meeting UN’s Sustainable Development Goals numbers 4 and 10? Undoubtedly, these are very important goals to achieve and as an educator, researcher and instructional designer, there is not one day that goes by that I don’t think how the findings of my study can positively impact  the pedagogical practices of  K-12 public school teachers in Brazil so as to achieve at least one of these goals. The point being that I would very much like to see the professional development guidelines for OER for Brazilian public school teachers I developed based on the findings of my study put into practice. Yet, I still need to figure out to how to get this done.  There are no easy answers so another journey has begun.

OE Global Conference 2018: from OER and OEP to open approaches

The theme of this year’s OEGlobalConference2018 : “Transforming Education Through Open Approaches” appears to be aligned with the achievement of  the above mentioned goals through the use of OER, OEP and the shift now towards the concept of openness or ‘open’ as an important means for individuals, governments, private sector and society as whole to collectively undertake actions that will ensure a more sustainable future for us all, specifically in terms of  ensuring quality, accessible and equitable education for all.  I feel that as a movement we are maturing. We appear to be somewhat less caught up with  the semantics of the concept of ‘open’ and more open to embracing openness  in whatever form it presents itself.

While the use of open approaches may not solve all the educational problems in the world, they certainly do hold the potential to mitigate  problems by providing innovative, relatively low-cost teaching and learning opportunities at all levels, which ultimately will benefit all stakeholders. As Ingrid van Engelshoven, the Netherland’s Minister of Education, Culture and Science, stated during the opening of the conference “the decision not to share is a decision to stagnate”, and I could not agree with her more.  Her very touching statement resonates with the UNESCO (2017a) argument for knowledge and education being considered a common and public good, which emphasizes not only the possibility of each citizen to access high-quality available teaching, learning and research resources but also to freely use and repurpose these resources so as to add value to the knowledge chain.  It is worth noting that the concept of  the Commons ties back nicely to Freire’s (1970) work and UNESCO’s sustainable development goal number four, which aims “to ensure inclusive and quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all” (UNESCO, 2017b, para. 1).

Yet, there are distinct differences between the concepts of the Commons and public goods (Bollier, 2011).  Bollier (2011) upholds that the term commons is “a set of of ongoing practices, not an inert physical resource” (para. 1), which suggests that “the commons is really more of a verb” (para. 1) as opposed to public goods, which can be considered a noun to describe “inert physical resources” (para.1).  Bollier (2011) summarizes the commons as: “as a general concept describing durable, dynamic sets of social relationships for managing resources — all sorts of resources:  digital, urban, natural, indigenous, rural, cultural, scientific, to use some crude categories” (para. 1).  In essence, each Commons has its own unique character as it is “shaped by its particular location, history, culture and social practices” (Bollier, 2011, para. 2).  This helps explain why commoners (actual people) in Brazil have a different view or perspective of the Commons than  North Americans or Europeans (Bollier, 2011).  Thus, it is up to the commoners of a particular country to determine and decide what set of practices according to their geographical, historical, cultural and social norms should be implemented, managed and shared.

Additionally, I was very happy to learn during the conference that there has been a commitment to action to focus more efforts on the K-12 sector. In fact, this not only highlights the relevance and contribution of my study in this sector but also shows how the OE movement has progressed. In order to meet UN’s Sustainable Development Goals numbers 4 and 10, it is imperative that we start implementing reform at this level.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if by the time students gained entry into Higher Education they would all be naturally and effortlessly using OER and OEPs? But in order for this happen the K-12 public sector will need some kind of funding from NGOs or from HE institutions to raise awareness, build capacity, disseminate open practices and eventually mainstream OE, OER, OEPs and Open Approaches.

Finally, while all sessions I participated in provided me with new learning opportunities and excellent food for thought, one panel session I participated in is worth highlighting: How can we destroy the open education movement: Conversation about ethics.  This session was rather disturbing and extremely thought-provoking but so timely and invaluable because it afforded participants an opportunity to critically reflect on and debate issues, which are rather uncomfortable and nobody seems to really want to engage in such discussions. However, such debates enable a broader understanding of the inherent differences between the Global North and the Global South. If we are to move forward as a united and cohesive OE movement then it is necessary for us to engage in such conversations.

Presenting my Study to a Broader Audience

During the GO-GN seminar and the OEGlobalConference2018, I presented my study, its methodology and findings, and the professional development guidelines for OER I developed based on an intervention I undertook in one Brazilian fundamental education public school. Naturally, as a case study its findings cannot be generalized but its findings  may be transferable. Below are pictures of two distinct moments presenting my study and my guidelines (clap, clap, clap).  This was undoubtedly a high point in my career as a researcher. A real Milestone (yes, with a capital M) in my life and indeed the reception was warm even though there are great technological disparities between the Global North and the Global South. For example, in Brazil many K-12 public schools still suffer from limited or poor Wi-Fi connectivity, which is why some of my guidelines may not be more generally applicable.



Presenting at the GO-GN Seminar 🙂



Presenting at OE Global 2018 🙂


TPD Guidelines in OER

Professional Development Guidelines for OER

The Guidelines are also available in table format. Please see:  Professional Development Guidelines for OER

The GO-GN Seminar

About the GO-GN seminar. It was incredible to learn how diverse and how much this community and network has grown since 2015. Over the past two years, these seminars have enabled us to establish close ties with former participants and colleagues, who have been of central importance in providing rich information exchanges, collaborative learning opportunities and support during my own research process. The GO-GN seminar this year brought me new friends; exciting and innovative ongoing research knowledge and information; and invaluable opportunities for exchange and for providing support to those researchers who are either beginning their PhD journey or are in the middle of the process. There were certainly many informal exchanges during our “free” time, which are highly indicative that we tend to bond towards achieving our aspirations and goals. The PhD journey is indeed a lonely journey and we all highly benefit from this warm and welcoming network. My kudos also goes to @catherinecronin and @chrissinerantzi for a very useful and fun design thinking activity aimed at exploring PhD issues and brainstorming solutions.



Break time bonding with GO-GNers from different parts of the world.

Thanks to GO-GN, we are all afforded this unique opportunity to reflect upon our own core values, beliefs and practices and by doing so continoulsly refine our own work by exchanging ideas, concerns, doubts, challenges and even fears with regards to our research work in this field. I have certainly reaped countless benefits from participating in this network and now in the role of alumni I hope that I can continue contributing with my knowledge and tiny weeny expertise.

An enormous thank you also goes to @Nat_Kitkat for the impeccable organization of this event and to Drs. Bea, Martin, Beck and Rob for their patience, guidance and expertise during this terrific two-day learning and teaching opportunity.


Bollier, D. (2011, July 15). The commons, short and sweet [Web log post]. News and Perspectives on the Commons. Retrieved from

Freire, P. (1970). Pedagogy of the oppressed. Harmondsworth: Penguin.

UNESCO (2017a). Open educational resources. ICT in education [Web site]. Retrieved from

UNESCO (2017b). UNESCO and sustainable development goals. Leading education 2030 [Web site]. Retrieved from






A Year in Review: From Thunderstorms to Sunshine



“Lightning strikes a mountain northeast of Dos Cabezas Siding. Anza-Borrego Desert State Park- edit ” by Kevin licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

In December 2017 I finally submitted what I hope will be the final version of my dissertation. This last macro-level altered version contains 198 pages.  In 2017, there were more cloudy and rainy days, sometimes even days with severe thunderstorms, than sunny ones as far as my dissertation writing  was concerned. 2017 was the year I almost abandoned the idea of becoming a Dr.  Indeed there were many times that I thought  that all my hard work was insane and senseless and should be tossed into the garbage. If one cannot produce groundbreaking, earth- shattering knowledge then what is the point of doing research? Unfortunately, these were my recurring thoughts throughout this year,

Below I list some obstacles I had to overcome and the several setbacks I suffered so that the readers of this blog can better understand the challenges I have had to face. Please refer to this earlier  post made to see the purpose of my study, sample population, one out of two conceptual frameworks I used, research questions and contribution of my study to fields of curriculum and pedagogy.  By now, I have written and rewritten at least seven versions of my dissertation.

Obstacle #1: The school director, who was initially onboard with the TPD program, imposed time limitations with regards to my work with the teachers.  Thus, during the intervention that lasted one year I was only able to to be on site delivering the TPD program five times.  More time and face-to-face workshops would have been desirable to achieve better study outcomes.

Obstacle #2: The school’s pedagogical coordinator, who plays an important role in articulating the TPD program in the school, participated in only one face-to-face workshop and appeared to be quite uninterested in the OER Development Course (ODC). This may have negatively impacted teachers’ motivation during the ODC.

Obstacle #3: Although 20 teachers enrolled in the online course ODC I had developed and offered to them as part of their professional development, none of them took the course.   Therefore, I had to change my entire methodology from DBR to a single, exploratory case study.  This also meant that any reference to blended learning had to be eliminated from the dissertation. Despite this obstacle, I was able to collect a lot of  good qualitative data from the face-to-face design thinking workshops and the focus groups conducted post-intervention.

Obstacle #4: Altering the methodology entailed reapplying to AU’s Research Ethics Board. Once again I found myself filling out time-consuming forms to comply to the REB.

Obstacle #5: As Brazil continues in a deep economic recession, which started in 2015, 2017 was once again a financially challenging year for me. Therefore, I had high hopes that I would be able to defend my dissertation during that year so that I wouldn’t have to pay my tuition for another semester. At any rate, the job prospects are beginning to improve and I am feeling a little more confident that this year will be better financially speaking. Fingers crossed.


Perhaps this is a too optimistic view of my dissertation status now. But at least there is sunshine with scattered clouds 😉

In spite of these obstacles, thanks to the help and encouragement of several GO-GN members I have managed to thrive and survive this rather dark year. The sun is shining again and I am hopeful that this rather tumultous journey is finally coming to an end. I could not have gotten so far without the help of special people, friends and OE experts. A special thank you goes to  Bea, Chrissi, Javiera and Carina for their invaluable feedback on my professional development guidelines for OER uptake.  A big and warm thank you to Chrissi, Jenni and Penny for their words of encouragement during this year. And all my gratitude to GO-GN for taking me to the Netherlands this year. Last but certainly not the least,  I will be forever grateful to my supervisor Rory McGreal for his support, unlimited patience and guidance throughout this year.

About producing the groundbreaking, earth-shattering research I mentioned earlier on in this post I fear I have not achieved this. While scholars may not be talking about my research in the years to come, it is a small contribution that fills an important gap in the extant K-12 literature on OER adoption and is certainly an original piece of work.

A happy 2018 to all!  I am very much looking forward to reconnecting with you all in Delft! 🙂



Recent Projects

Member of initiative: #101openstories

Vetor Brasil : instructional design of online courses

Research projects carried out for Athabasca University/Commonwealth of Learning : B.ED Programs, Fair Dealing, Impact of OER

ITS – MIT- Brasil Lemann Seed Fund : Open practices in education – Class delivered on Open Educational Resources (OER)

Educadigital/CIEBOpenInovationEducation-EN : Research assistant of Brazilian Study on Open Innovation in Education

Partner of Iniciativa Educação Aberta 

Member of Consulting Committee of Curso REA (UAB/CAPES) (OER Course delivered by the Open University of Brazil/Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior)

A Work in Progress – Summary of Major Findings Pre ODC

The table below presents a brief but comprehensive illustration of the major findings of data collected from the UTAUT Survey Questionnaire and from the Design Thinking Workshops conducted pre online OER Development Course (ODC).  These findings address RQ1: According to the Brazilian fundamental education public school teachers, what are the factors that influence their adoption and use of OER in their professional practice?

Most findings are corroborated by extant literature. I am looking forward to the focus groups, which will be conducted in August, 2017 and that may help me answer what kind of TPD would foster OER (and ICT) uptake in this context. It will be a challenge to come up with a good coding scheme. Subsequently, all data will be triangulated so as to extract professional development guidelines for OER use in the context of Brazilian fundamental education public school teachers.

Factors that drive OER and ICT use · The potential of ICT and OER use to enhance and supplement lessons improving student engagement and motivation.

· The use of a variety of multimedia resources (i.e., audios, images, videos, music) to complement lessons, tasks or assessments.

· The ability afforded by the use of ICTs and OER for teachers to be up to date in their subject areas in addition to being more aligned with students’ learning needs and different learning styles.



Factors that hinder OER and ICT ·      Need for assistance and support from peers, from the computer teacher of the school or from experts in the field to handle and use digital resources such as ICTs and OER.

·      Lack or shortage of personnel to support teachers’ endeavors with technology and digital resources.

·      Lack of basic computer skills to carry out tasks such as downloading and embedding offline resources into PowerPoint presentations and navigating a LMS such a Moodle.

·      Need for ongoing, long-term TPD that is useful and applicable to teachers’ pedagogical practices. Short-term TPD that focuses on filling an immediate knowledge or skills gap is detrimental to the pedagogical practices of teachers.

·      Existing rules and regulations that prohibit access to external sites such as YouTube and the use of mobile devices on school premises curtails and hinders the use of technology for educational purposes.

·      *Innovation in this setting is usually top-down and teachers appear to be resistant to it since there are no policies or incentives that enable them to leave their comfort zone.

·      Lack of accessibility to local content since English is the predominant language on the Internet.

·      Limited knowledge or skills to search for materials on the Internet effectively, particularly material that is openly licensed or OER.

·      Limited knowledge or skills to use online translation systems.

·      Work overload and low salaries reduce teachers’ motivation to adopt and use new pedagogical practices.

·      Lack of leadership vision, a clear plan and core curriculum with specific objectives and policies or initiatives that promote ICT and OER uptake in this setting.

·   * Absence of a culture of collaboration (Venturini, 2014).

·      Age-related factors and *issues related to attitudes and behaviors appear to seek to preserve the current status quo.

·      Lack of equipment (i.e. computers in the classroom, multimedia equipment); obsolete and damaged equipment and unstable and unreliable broadband Internet connection.




A long overdue and quick update on the evolution of my thesis.  After a rather tough year (2016) on the field conducting research for my thesis, at the beginning of the year I decided it was time to make changes to it in order to achieve more effective results and better contribute to the body of knowledge in the field of open education.

I started out this project believing that my target population, Brazilian K-12 public school teachers, would be willing and able to take an online OER Development Course (ODC) that I would develop for them but eventually found out that I was somewhat blinded by my own personal ignorance and naivety  in regards to the reality and status quo of the Brazilian K-12 public school environment.

In my thesis proposal I had planned to use design-based research (DBR) to design the online ODC with basis on quantitative and qualitative data collected from Phase 1. Now I am using case study methodology and my research questions as well as the title of my study have changed. I am still using mixed methods for data collection and analysis.

The purpose of my study is to investigate what could be a set of guidelines for a teacher professional development (TPD) on OER uptake in the context of one Brazilian elementary public school by undertaking an intervention in the school. This intervention is aimed at planning, designing, and implementing a pilot blended-learning OER Development Course (ODC) for the teachers who participated in this study, and measuring its effectiveness in terms of awareness-raising strategies, content taught, and instructional approaches utilized so as to extract a set of guidelines for a TPD programme that may more effectively foster the adoption and use of OER in this unique and complex environment.

My research questions are (although they are subject to change):

  1. What are the factors that influence Brazilian fundamental education* public school teachers’ adoption and use of OER in their professional practice?
  2. What role, if any, can TPD play in teachers’ OER adoption decisions?
  3. Based on research findings from RQ1 and RQ2 what could be a set of guidelines for a TPD programme on OER uptake to be adopted by Brazilian fundamental education public schools?

*The fundamental education cycle in Brazil is equivalent to elementary or primary school.

I used the Design Thinking for Educators framework to conduct face-to-face workshops. Design thinking is quite an interesting approach as it enables the researcher to establish empathy, curiosity, constructiveness and a good rapport with the participants; see the problems and challenges through the eyes of participants; is designed specifically for K-12 schools; its structured approach through use of spaces and phases enables the researcher to raise awareness on the use of OER and ICTs in a more active and collaborative fashion; and this approach holds the potential to tap into the capacity of individual teachers to solve current school problems beyond conventional problem solving techniques and to bring out divergent thinking. Overall, the use of this approach afforded me an invaluable opportunity to understand better the problems and challenges the teachers in this particular setting face on a daily basis.

I have already developed the online ODC, which is focused on teaching teachers how to locate, use, adapt, remix and license OER using open licenses and Creative Commons licenses. The course is a very practical hands-on course and is currently being hosted on the Moodle site of the Federal University of Paraná (UFPR). The course is unique and the first of its kind in Brazil inasmuch as it offers teachers an opportunity to learn how to use and create OER through step-by-step video tutorials and other collaborative activities such as Wikis and discussion forums. The course was developed based on some effective practices for TPD and makes use of constructivist (project-based learning) and andragogy learning theories.

The duration of the online ODC is twenty hours and it is estimated that in order to complete the course in one month five hours of study per week is required. The course comprises five modules. Each module consists of an introduction, texts to be read, one or more videos to watch based on the specific module, a discussion forum for the exchange of ideas about the subject of the module and tasks to be completed. Complementary readings and links to relevant sites are also provided to aid the learning process. The main topics addressed in the course are:

  • Module 1: What are OER and the 5Rs of OER
  • Module 2: Open Licenses and Creative Commons Licenses
  • Module 3: How to find OER and characteristics of a good OER
  • Module 4: How to use, adapt, and remix OER
  • Module 5: How to assign a license to the OER, how to share your OER and how to correctly license your OER

If you are interested in checking out the course I have developed here is the info needed (Apologies but it’s in Portuguese):

User ID: 06382885843

Password: emotional61

Under the tab Cursos (Courses), choose CDREA – Curso de Desenvolvimento em REA, which stands for ODC – OER Development Course in English.

Here is how I hope to contribute to the fields of curriculum and pedagogy:  (a) by gaining new insights on TPD for OER implementation and uptake within K-12; (b) by developing capacity on OER use; and (c) by providing a set of guidelines for a TPD programme on OER uptake to be adopted by Brazilian fundamental education public schools.

In August I will be on site again to conduct focus groups aimed at assessing the overall quality and quantity of the intervention. Subsequently, all data will be triangulated and I hope findings will provide insight into what kind of TPD works in terms of OER uptake in this particular context.

By the end of this year, I plan to submit my thesis to my supervisor and committee members and hopefully during the first semester of 2018 I will defend it.

Will keep all updated with my future progress.

Fingers crossed and the journey continues. 😉

A Tale of Openness in Two Chapters



By @vvladi


I divide my professional history into two chapters. During the first chapter of my professional history, I taught intermediate and advanced ESL/EFL to Brazilian students and developed instructional material to supplement textbooks at a non-for profit bi-national organization in São Paulo, Brazil. This chapter of my professional history is marked by unaware yet spontaneous acts of openness. In other words, it was a common practice between all instructors to share, adapt and remix the lesson plans and activities we had created for a particular course, lesson or activity. We were all fully engaged in this activity, as our objective was to help each other improve the instructional materials that were within our reach and which the school curriculum made available. Naturally, this first chapter of my professional history happened at a time when no one even dreamed the Internet would one day exist. Nevertheless, there was a lot of sharing and collaboration taking place between instructors, which ended up having a very positive impact on student engagement and performance in specific courses or lessons.

Indeed, from time immemorial, teachers have mashed up textbooks, photocopies, pictures, games and graphics, to name a few. However, it is worth noting that just mashing up these instructional materials misses the point of being truly open since all these instructional materials that we used to mash up were proprietary and were not intended for a broader audience. What distinguishes these common mashing practices from the use of open, open educational practices (OEP) and open education resources (OER) is that the latter are intended to be mashed up to be: “free to access, free to reuse, free to revise, free to remix, and free to redistribute” (Wiley, 2013, para. 2) through use of open licenses, such as those afforded by Creative Commons that are within the boundaries of copyright law. There are therefore important differences between mashing up materials that are proprietary and are not created to be freely accessed, reused, revised, remixed, and redistributed and openly licensed materials. The inherent and intrinsic characteristics of what today we researchers and educators define as being truly ‘open’ instructional materials, learning objects or OER resulted in part from the advent of the Internet, the World Wide Web, Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), the Declaration of Open Education, the OER Movement and Creative Commons licenses.

This leads me to the second chapter of my professional life, which has been to this day profoundly marked and changed by all the factors mentioned above. I have always been passionate about technology and its potential to positively impact teaching and learning practices. The Digital Age has opened up all kinds of doors and possibilities for educators to improve their pedagogical practices. Consequently, in 2002, I decided to make a career change. I left the school where I was teaching EFL/ESL and was Supervisor of Online Courses, got a M.Ed. with specialization in distance education and founded a company that renders consulting, instructional design and training services to those institutions that wish to implement online learning, hybrid learning, mobile learning, and more recently, open educational practices. About a year after I had completed my M.Ed., I decided to embark on another journey, which was getting a PhD.

Since the very beginning of my PhD, I knew that I wanted to do something that would benefit public K-12 education in Brazil. My main goal is to build very specific bridges across very specific chasms between where we are in terms of K-12 public education in Brazil and where we ought to be in terms of bringing the concept of open and its practical implementations to this specific education sector. The focus of my research has been on finding ways to empower and build the capacity of Brazilian K-12 public education teachers so that they become more aligned and attuned with 21st century teaching and learning approaches and practices. Choosing open education, OEP, and more specifically OER, appeared to be at the time and still is today, the only natural and logical approach taking into consideration a public education sector that severely lacks physical, digital and human resources and social forms of support to improve education for its students. My thesis therefore is focused on raising awareness and building capacity on OER in this sector. As capacity building is fundamental for OER uptake, I am exploring how teachers experience open professional development opportunities and what factors influence the adoption of OER or OEP in practice. Hopefully, my study will contribute to the Open Education field by providing recommendations for a professional development framework for Brazilian K-12 public education teachers.

In conclusion, this has not been an easy objective to achieve. Throughout this journey I have had to learn not only how to assemble and repurpose OER so that I can understand the challenges the teachers themselves have to face when using and creating OER but have also had to deal with innumerous challenges, barriers and set backs along the way in regards to my own research. However, I feel confident that my choice and actions to go open will reap many benefits not only to the subjects of my study but also to the Open Education movement as a whole. I could have taken a different road during the second chapter of my professional life and undoubtedly today I would be doing something very different. Nonetheless, this particular road has brought me immense joy and self-fulfillment. As Robert Frost has so aptly written in his poem “The Road Not Taken”, “two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference”.


Wiley, D. (2013, October 21). What is open pedagogy? [Web log post]. Iterating toward openness. Lumen Learning. Retrieved from


Reflections on #OEglobal in Cape Town, March 2017


An open pathway to learning for all:  learning through making (OER) and by experiencing (OEP)

CC BY Chrissi Nerantzi & Viviane Vladimirschi


OEGlobal (#oeglobal) took place in Cape Town this year, 10 years after the Declaration of Open Education ( was signed there. With the Table Mountain backdrop, where the Atlantic and the Indian Ocean blend into each other and with a turbulent recent history, open educators met to discuss, debate, share ideas and design a better future for the human race through learning with all for all.

We, OE researchers, Viviane (@vvladi) and Chrissi (@chrissinerantzi), met for the first time at the OE Global Conference in Krakow in 2016 and then again at the OE Global Conference  in Cape Town this year… not so long ago. We are both PhD students and members of GO-GN ( and hope to contribute with new knowledge to the area of open education that will be of value for others to make our planet a more equitable place to live in  through the provision of accessible and free effective learning experiences and resources for all that bring us closer together. The conference was a fantastic opportunity to find out what is happening across the world in the area of open education, connect with ideas and people.

The first part of our stay in Cape Town was with our GO-GN colleagues. It was a great opportunity to share our projects, the progress we have made and  to continue providing ongoing support for each other and to get to know each other a bit better as well. A full set of presentations can be found at and a storify has been made available at with our Twitter interactions on these days.

Then the OE Global Conference started. There was definitely a buzz and so many interesting people there, with such diverse ideas but also a shared passion for open education based on democratic values that foster diversity and inclusion. Some we had met before, many who were new to us and some we had met online and saw for the very first time in the flesh so to speak. Among the presenters there were many of our GO-GN colleagues and their innovative research projects.

Learning through making (OER)

What we both noticed is that there was now more discussion about open educational practices, than last year. Is this a shift? Some years ago at the OER conference in the UK, I (Chrissi heard Darco Jansen (@darcojansen) saying “Content is not education. Interaction is.” This stayed with me and it does make a lot of sense. This doesn’t of course mean that we don’t need resources, materials for learning. On the contrary, what we do need, we think, is to engage more actively with materials and resources. This for us can means to seize opportunities for learning through making resources through use of teaching theories such as constructionism, resource-based learning and project-based learning for example. Authentic and contextualised learning is really important. As there is currently a revival of the maker movement and individuals rediscover the power of making in the physical world, the technology now also enables us to make stuff, including resources in the digital world as well and share via social media and other technologies. Is the time now ripe for OER 2.0? As educators we spend a lot of time preparing resources, far too much! In order for students to learn, we need to engage them more in learning through making approaches that will help them digest, discover and make sense of the world around them and learn so much more than when we create the resources for them. What are we waiting for? David Wiley talked about the concept of open pedagogy.  Open pedagogy as defined by David Wiley capitalizes on learning by doing using the 5Rs. He sees these as an opportunity to re-think how we engage with OER and maximise on the potential they have for student learning through active, critical and creative engagement with these. (

Learning through experiencing (OEP)  

Greater emphasis was played at the conference this year on open educational practices (OEP). Many related interesting and diverse projects from around the world were shared and discussed in a range of contributions. Examples from the Global North are the OER Hub ( and the cross-institutional collaboration Open Educational Practices in Scotland ( and from the Global South ROER4D ( I (Chrissi) had the opportunity to meet some colleagues from  ROER4D and especially valued the conversation with Tony Carr. A lot of interesting work is being done in Africa to support teachers to develop their understanding of open education and develop practitioner and researcher capacity in this area as they will be the seeds and spread open education further. We said that we would stay in touch and explore possibilities to collaborate in the future and bring individuals from the Global North and the Global South together. I am really looking forward to this.

Cable Green shared an ambitious vision and perhaps an opportunity for a new type of university [link to abstract:] which at the heart has authentic learning to solve the big problems we are faced with. We could say that Cable proposes an action or even activities orientated approach to higher education. There is definitely potential there to make a real difference and create a better and more sustainable world through developing a new type of university, especially as it is often hard to change the existing higher education from within. Change might indeed come from outside and have a ripple effect on existing institutions. What needs to happen to make it happen?  

Learning through experiencing in the open rethinking and redesigning learning and teaching approaches so that we create inclusive and diverse learning opportunities and experiences. David Wiley talked about the need for open pedagogies. Opening-up existing modules and courses has so much potential to transform how we learn and teach today with so many advantages for students and educators. But how prepared and willing are educators, students and institutions to embrace such approaches? Can academic development help? Chrissi’s work, see has shown that it can make a difference and that academics as students experiencing OEP has the potential to transform practices.

My own work so far has raised more questions than answers. Naturally, my target population is different from Chrissi’s. From my perspective working with Brazilian K-12 public school teachers, more awareness-raising strategies, ongoing teacher education and governmental and institutional policies surrounding OER, OEP are needed to bridge the huge existing gaps of lack of proper infrastructure and digital inclusion of the public education sector. Factors such as a systemic model for OER adoption, TPD, and open licensing as the default policy were addressed at the conference and hold the potential to promote OER and OEP adoption and use. We need to seriously take into consideration that giving away technology or resources for free does not necessarily lead to improved learning outcomes for disadvantaged learners. For effective learning and making meaning of new techs, OER OEP, and OEC considerable efforts should be placed on providing timely and well-planned physical, digital, human and social forms of support.

Take away: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together” African proverb.

Narend Baijnath said in his keynote “We need crazy visions for the future!” We totally agree! The time is right to put forward crazy visions that break free from conventions and present fresh pedagogical ideas that have the power to transform individual lives and the lives of all of us on this planet.

Imaginative and collaborative solutions are needed that will bring the Global North and the Global South closer together. Findings from the ROER4D studies in institutions in East Africa and in developing countries show that there is still a big divide as innovation is confined to a few converts and the use of OER/OEP is highly fragmented.

We can bridge this divide but it requires action from all of us. Cross-boundary collaborations will, we believe, lay the foundations for learning for all that enriches, unites and transforms institutions and nations across the globe.   

We found the conference valuable for our professional development as open researchers and open practitioners. We met old and new friends. I (Chrissi) particularly enjoyed the conversations with Christian, Anna, Carina and Rory. Thank you Jutta for your interest in my work and sharing your recent paper with me. I can see that we are on the same wavelength. I am looking forward to connecting with Paola and our GO-GN buddies. I (Viviane) particularly enjoyed my conversations and rich exchanges with Carina Bossu and José Dutra who have been following the progress of my work since last year and who always provide me with good solid advice as they know well the Brazilian educational context and reality. I look forward to connecting with them again and there are certainly plenty of opportunities for us to join forces and collaborate, which I am looking forward to.

Glenda and all the team organised a successful conference and congratulations to all OE Global Award winners.

We include below a few links to useful conference related resources

Insightful blogposts about the conference has been written by Catherine Cronin at (you will also find loads of useful links and resources there) and Robert Schuwer available at . All presentations can be found at

There is also a storify available at and Martin Hawksey has created a visualisation of actions and interactions on Twitter using the #OEGlobal and his wonderful TAGSexplorer. See

See also specific tools or frameworks that have been created to support openness and that received awards:

The next OE Global conference will be held in the Netherlands next year (see blog written by Willem van Valkenburg)

See you there!


The GO-GN Seminar and OE Global Conference 2016 Adventure

After flying for approximately 14 hours, I finally made it to Kraków, Poland on April 8 for the GO-GN Seminar and the OE Global Conference 2016. As soon as I arrived at the hotel my fellow GO-GN colleagues, who were already there, began twittering for us to meet up and explore the city before Sunday, the day the GO-GN Seminar was scheduled to begin. It was indeed a promising and very welcoming beginning to this adventure. 🙂 So after a good night of much needed sleep (well it was not such a good night due to the jet lag 😉 ) on Saturday  I  met Jamison from the USA, Chrissi from the UK and Bernard from Rwanda (an awesome, loving, warm and culturally diverse group of individuals). The four happy troopers set out to explore the city in the pm. It was a very cold and rainy day for this Brazilian from the tropics but as the company was excellent I didn’t want to seem like a bad sport so I trekked along dragging my newly bought umbrella with me. After seeing some cool sites  we stumbled across an amazing Polish restaurant where we had a lovely meal. We quickly bonded and at the end of the day I felt like we had been friends for a long time. Here are two photos of our first day together.

The GO-GN Seminar  – Day 1 of the GO-GN Seminar started with introductions and it was very exciting to finally  meet the heads of the GO-GN and other members face-to-face. After introductions, Bea de los Arcos, the lovely  and brilliant GO-GN Academic Coordinator, gave us a presentation, which was followed by a discussion, on being an open researcher. Subsequently, Martin Weller (acclaimed author of the “Battle for Open”) gave us an overview of the GO-GN Network and I discovered that I am the only member from South America, which made me feel extremely flattered and lucky for being a unique individual in this network. I guess other academics and researchers from SA will be pretty jealous once they find out! Rob Farrow, the intriguing and instigating philosopher,  presented the new GO-GN site to us that is a definitely a great improvement from the former site. After lunch, I presented my study for the first time to a real live audience. I really thought I was going to be much more nervous than I was but thanks to a really supportive group I felt quite calm as I was delivering my presentation (in hindsight most probably due to the jet lag). The same was not to happen at the OE Global Conference but more on that later. I received excellent feedback and high-quality criticism on my presentation from  the heads of the GO-GN network  and other members, which helped me rethink and refine my presentation later on. Fred Mulder, UNESCO Chair in OER Netherlands, also gave me some great presentation tips during the coffee break. My deep appreciation and gratitude to all! I also learned tremendously from Chrissi’s, Paco’s, and Zhu Jin’s presentations. They all delivered a wide variety of extremely invaluable presentations on studies that will most certainly contribute to the field of open education.

Day 2 of the GO -GN Seminar started off with more presentations delivered by fellow GO-GN members: Sujata, Glenda, Bernard, Nicolai, and Jamison. All presentations were brilliant and inspiring and the researchers made use of  a wide array of mixed methods and qualitative research method approaches to research OER and OE. These 2 days of seminar were indeed a fantastic learning experience. I learned about being an open researcher, about phenomenography, about the Chinese understanding of what openness means, about TPD in India, about the use of DBR to explore sustainable governance for OE in healthcare, and how to give a good presentation, just to cite a few. It was an intensive and really rich exchange of culture, information and knowledge. The GO-GN Seminar was wrapped up with some very fun activities:  group activities, one-to-one with the heads of the GO-GN and individual group recordings. Our 2nd day ended with a classy dinner at a Polish restaurant. My thanks also goes to Robert Schuwer, Nat, and Beck for making this a memorable 2-day seminar!



Scenes from the GO-GN Seminar

In the end- @The OE Global Conference 2016


Here I am on the 1st day of conference

I have reached the conclusion that to attend any conference you need to have some kind of super power that tele transports you from one very interesting presentation to another or that makes it possible for you to attend two or more presentations simultaneously. There were so many interesting topics being presented and unfortunately I was only able to attend a handful of them. There were participants from all over the globe, including some Brazilians.  I managed to attend varied sessions, most of which focused on OEPs, open data and OER, OER research in action, OER quality debates, open education, and action labs focused on OER policy, OER research agenda and The “Mind” Journey, to name a few.  There were many others that I wish I could have attended. I met a lot of very interesting people who work in this field and made some friends in the process. This was my first time ever at an OE Global Conference and I was amazed at how ‘open’, in the literal sense of the word, warm and kind all participants were. Most educators at this conference have been on the road to ‘open’ for a long time. I am a newcomer in this field and as such I felt extremely welcome by all these acknowledged and reputable scholars. My 3 day journey into the world of OE underscored the fact that I am where I belong and that I am doing what I should be doing. I have attended many conferences throughout the years but have never felt such empathy, support and connection.


With Andreia Inamorato, a Brazilian OE and OER researcher now working for the EU Commission

Now for the part you are all waiting for. How did my presentation go? I admit that I was extra large size nervous during my presentation. I guess by then the jet lag had somehow left my body. Well, that may be just an excuse. However, it was pretty nerve-wracking. First and foremost,  Andreia Inamorato, who is author of Open educational resources in Brazil: State-of-the-art, challenges and prospects for development and innovation and whose work greatly inspired my thesis, was kind enough to attend my presentation. Furthermore, after having attended some brilliant presentations, I felt that mine was just a rough draft of a work much in its very early stages of progress. All in all, I managed to somehow successfully deliver my presentation and did receive one or two compliments. Hopefully, by this time next year I will have more interesting things to report and will have acquired better presentation skills.

Finally, the journey goes on. On May 19th I will be doing the oral defence of my thesis. Please pray for me. As soon as that is over, I will apply to the AU’s Research Ethics Board and hopefully in August my research study will commence.  In this tale of the GO-GN Seminar and OE Global Conference 2016 it was only the best of times. My thanks to the GO-GN OER network for making this rich collaborative cross-cultural  learning experience possible. I am very much looking forward to South Africa next year and will keep you all updated on my research findings and progress. Last but not least, my special thanks to Chrissi for getting double-badged! 🙂


Polish Badges from Chrissi


Proud to belong

Count down for the Open Education Global Conference 2016 #OEGlobal

In 2015  my supervisor, Dr. Rory McGreal, strongly recommended I become a member of the Global Graduate Network .  After attending a few  webinars  last year on current and ongoing research in OER and Open Education, I soon realised that becoming part of this network has many benefits. First and foremost, we are afforded the opportunity to learn from experts in the field. Second, we are able to exchange ideas and practices with PhD peers from around the world. Finally, this networked community enables us to keep abreast of the latest research and development initiatives that are crucial for those of us, like me, who are just beginning to embark in the wonderful world of open education and OER.

At the end of 2015 all GO-GN  members received an email about an opportunity to get funded to share and present our research at the Global Open Education Conference , which will be held now in April 2016 in Kraków, Poland. I applied, not thinking that I stood much of a chance of getting funded, but after a few weeks the email of acceptance came. The possibility of sharing my research proposal with other GO-GN members, and perhaps the Open Education community at large, is extremely exciting. Therefore, I would like to thank the GO-GN Network immensely for making my presentation possible and for affording me this invaluable opportunity to participate in this conference. You rock! 1f3b8I am truly grateful!



I am currently now in the 6th semester of  my Doctoral studies at Athabasca University, Alberta, Canada. Athabasca University offers a a professional doctoral degree Doctor of Education in Distance Education (Ed.D.), which is a unique program as it caters to the needs of professionals and practitioners in the field of distance education by linking advanced knowledge and theory, research, leadership skills and teaching with practice. Consequently, the educational content and skills developed throughout the program can be directly applied to one’s workplace. Not only is the program unique, but also Athabasca University endeavors to be a world leader in distance education research via its faculty and graduate students. As a practitioner in the distance education field since 2002, the knowledge and skills acquired are invaluable in addressing critical, real-world distance education projects. In addition, the research component of the doctoral program will enable me to significantly contribute to the domestic and international distance education research community. The Ed.D. program has also afforded me the opportunity to have regular access to a wealth of information on online pedagogies and technological tools definite assets to my practice. Experiments undertaken in the projects I have developed and implemented have been constructed in an informed way, conducted in concert with practical theory and the existing stakeholder governance structure, thereby enabling me to reinforce lessons learned and to effect sustained improvement.

As far as my research proposal is concerned, I have written and completed Chapters 1, 2, and 3 of my thesis.  My committee members, Dr. Jon Dron and Dr. Constance Blomgren, have already read my thesis and have asked for several additions and alterations especially to the literature review section, which I have made. According to Dr. McGreal and the committee I am ready to go so at this time I am basically waiting for them to schedule my oral defence. As soon as that is concluded, I will apply to the REB and once I obtain their approval I will go into the field. Therefore, I will be presenting the still “draft” version of my study at the conference. However, it will be a very useful exercise for me since I hope to get all kinds of feedback  both negative and positive,  which I expect will help me improve the final version for my oral defence.

For those of you who are wondering what my research is about, in a nutshell, I plan to undertake an intervention in a Brazilian K-12 public school to plan, design, and implement a pilot blended-learning OER Development Course for the teachers who participate in the study, and measure its effectiveness in terms of awareness-raising strategies, content taught, and instructional approaches utilized so as to extract OER learning design principles. I will be using Design-based research and a couple of quantitative and qualitative instruments to achieve the outcomes of the study, which I will address more in-depth during my presentation.  My presentation, thesis, the pilot course that I will design and develop, and all data will be made available under a Creative Commons license.

Below is the spoiler opening slide of my presentation:


The Global Open Education Conference 2016 will undoubtedly provide a unique opportunity to learn and contribute to the growing field of open education.  Having said that, I really look forward to the week ahead and am very excited about meeting other fellow Doctoral students and expert open researchers and learning about the projects and innovative practices that they have been undertaking in different parts of the globe.

I have worked hard on my presentation so I feel that I am ready to deliver it. 🙂 I started this Blog when I took the course Digital Skills for Collaborative OER Development offered by OERu. So instead of starting a totally new blog to register the conference experience and my research study, I decided to use this blog as my oficial one. Hope it works! Time to start packing. It is a long trip from Brazil to Poland.

Bye for now and see you all soon! 🙂