New in 2022: OEN Summit Watch Parties

Published on September 26th, 2022

Estimated reading time for this article: 3 minutes.

The 2022 Open Education Network (OEN) Summit invited our community to connect July 25-29. The members-only virtual event provided an ideal opportunity to discover new tools, participate in key training, and strengthen ties with our friends and colleagues in open education. 

OEN Action Pathways

The week-long lineup kicked off with Executive Director Dave Ernst’s introduction to four OEN Action Pathways:
  • OER Adoption
  • Open Pedagogy
  • OER Revision/Collection
  • Open Textbook Publishing
Subsequent sessions all correlated to at least one of these OEN Action Pathways. Sessions included Creating a Socially Just Open Education, Intro to the New Textbook Builder Tool, Workshop Demo: Modifying & Creating Open Educational Resources, The Power of Community Data, and more.

Getting Together for Summit

Lauren Woolsey, Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC) attended OEN Summit virtually as did all 2022 guests. She did so, however, as part of in-person gatherings on the GRCC campus. Woolsey watched and listened in the company of GRCC faculty she’d invited to Summit Watch Parties, a new opportunity to share the virtual event with local colleagues in person.

As Woolsey sees it, the informal, summery get-togethers she hosted at GRCC were a win for all. “I wanted faculty to feel they could drop in at any time and not have to plan in advance if they didn’t know their summer schedule,” she recalls. “There were no specific expectations for attendees, yet being able to talk with someone else about the session helps everyone process content better and make connections to other resources or topics.”  

Summit Watch Parties are designed to enable guests to gather and participate in groups as they feel comfortable. The OEN launched this on-site/virtual hybrid as an option for members who miss the in-person interaction and personal connections sparked by Summits past. The new format is intended to address this while maintaining respect for those with accessibility issues, financial limitations, and social distancing concerns. 

Engaging Discussion

Like Woolsey, Jessica Kirschner also appreciates the benefits of Summit group discussion. An OER Librarian at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), Kirschner hosted her Summit Watch Parties on campus. The VCU gathering for Jasmine Roberts-Crews’ recorded session, Creating a Socially Just Open Education, brimmed with thoughtful conversation.

“…the discussion after Jasmine’s session definitely allowed those attending to think about the topics from a different perspective, whether a different role (librarian vs. faculty vs. support staff) or discipline,” Kirschner observed, adding that she has received positive feedback from faculty who have found discussion opportunities focused on teaching and pedagogy considerations to be rare outside their own department. “I think everyone who participated in that found it engaging and left with some new ideas.”

Watch Party Tools and Advice

Kirschner used the 2022 OEN Summit Watch Party Hosting Toolkit to create her sign-in sheet and invitation emails. Planning and hosting were accomplished collaboratively by VCU Libraries, VCU Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence, and VIVA, Virginia’s Academic Library Consortium. VCU’s Summit Watch Parties were open and promoted to all in the VCU community and the Virginia Open Education library community. 

For OEN members considering hosting a Summit Watch Party in 2023, Kirschner recommends trying it. “As long as you can reserve a room – do it!” she said. “It’s relatively low overhead and has the potential to create new connections, inspire new ideas, and strengthen the community.” She also suggests that hosts should be mindful about pairing sessions with intended guests so that content is applicable, and incorporating structured elements into the gathering to get the most out of it. 

Looking Forward to Summit 2023 

The OEN is pleased to see Summit Watch Parties providing value in response to our members’ concerns. If you would like information on hosting a 2023 Summit Watch Party, contact Barb Thees, OEN Community Engagement Director. 

We would also like to acknowledge this year’s OEN Steering Committee, presenters, volunteers, and guests who made the event an opportunity for meaningful personal and professional growth. In the spirit of Summit, please continue sharing your open education initiatives and experiences in the OEN Action Pathway Community Share Documents. Thank you!

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