The Open Education Network (OEN) extended community came together in June for the 7th annual OEN Summit, a five-day virtual event that prompted engaging discussion and exchange of open education strategies. Organized by the 2021 Summit Planning Committee, this year’s event featured a broad cross-section of OEN members who shared outcomes and insights drawn from their experience with open education initiatives.

Commitment to community

The week-long dialogue revolved around this year’s theme, “A Community Approach to Open Education.” Dave Ernst, OEN founder and Executive Director, kicked off the event with “Our OEN Community in 2021 and Beyond,” confirming OEN’s steadfast commitment to the guiding principles of common good, equity, inclusivity, action, humanity, integrity, and shared abundance.

The most important thing

Ernst also provided a glimpse of OEN endeavors planned for 2021. These include revamping professional development offerings to improve access, renewing focus on lowering barriers to success and equity, launching the OEN Data Dashboard for collecting and managing data, improving access to textbook authoring, and continuing to foster a welcoming community.

“The most important thing we can do together is make sure everyone feels welcome,” Ernst said, “no matter who they are, no matter where their program is at, no matter what type of organization they come from. We are nothing without our community; that’s who we are.”

Views from the Summit

Fifteen sessions were presented throughout the week, including the keynote address, “Open Education Initiatives at the Nation’s Tribal Colleges and Universities,” delivered by Al Kuslikis of the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC), which recently joined the OEN. 

Per session, an average of 102 attendees tuned in to listen, learn, ask, and interact with the OEN community. Attendee feedback was overwhelmingly positive, particularly with regard to session content and applicability.

The following comments were excerpted from anonymous responses to the post-event survey:

“It was an incredibly engaging online event. I was eager to attend as many sessions as I could. The speakers were fabulous and there was positive energy around our shared work!”

“These are the kinds of experiences that boost my advocacy and commitment to the Open community.”

“I truly feel that OEN is listening to community members and acting on the community suggestions. The sessions in this year’s Summit reflect this. Thank you!”

Summit 2021 sessions have been posted to YouTube.

With thanks

The OEN extends our sincere gratitude to all presenters, facilitators, participants, and our dedicated Summit 2021 Planning Committee:

  • Emily Frank – Louisiana Library Network (LOUIS)
  • Michele Gibney – University of the Pacific
  • LoriBeth Larsen – Central Lakes College
  • Amanda Larson – The Ohio State University
  • Jonathan Lashley – Idaho State Board of Education
  • Bryan McGeary – Penn State
  • Carla Myers – Miami University
  • Wayde Oshiro – Leeward Community College
  • Karen Pikula – Central Lakes College
  • Lauren Ray – University of Washington
  • Elizabeth Speer – The University of North Texas Health Science Center
  • Justin White – University of Texas Rio Grande Valle