Putting it in black and white – Guest Post by Teresa MacKinnon


(Image CC0 Pixabay, created by Felix Mittermeier, 16 years old)

As 2017 Year of Open draws to an end, it is time to reflect on what has been achieved and to plan for a new year which builds on these achievements.

This year has been a challenging one and I’m sure that many of us drew strength from each other when we came together at #OER17 , clarity too emerged from the presentations and conversations which has helped us face the challenges with a clearer vision. Josie Fraser and Alek Tarkovski brought the community together in London to reflect upon the Politics of Open. We did not shy away from the difficulties we face in communicating the importance of the open message. Maha’s keynote helped us face some of the realities of open through a multi-cultural lens. In the “Mapping the politics of Open” session  Catherine Cronin and collaborators got us all engaged in making practical commitments to maintaining the momentum from the conference using the #oer17 #iwill tags. Now is a good time to check those promises out.

Alek certainly kept his. The Creative Commons summit was lively and positive, Creative Commons awareness is increasing and there are signs of interest from around the world, with searches from 70 different regions.

(Source: Google trends: Interest by region, last 12 months to Dec 1st 2017)

Maha Bali also kept hers. Virtually Connecting has consistently provided an open window into discussions around the world, bringing thinkers together to strengthen the bonds of open.

Many individuals around the world have set themselves personal goals which have in turn contributed to a stronger, more inclusive community with a clearer sense of shared values and a mutual support mechanism to enhance agency. The Open Education Sig held a webinar to connect discussion of those values with representatives from the various strands of open including open source, open research, open knowledge, open badges, OERs and more.

The reality for most of us who support open education is that we work away at our own tasks, often with little institutional or formal backing against what may appear to be mounting odds. Alex expresses this clearly here. To take the “battle for open” back to those who would oppose it we have to work together. We also have to be brave individually and become activists for open. What is at stake is much bigger than we may at first think. When we come together again for #OER18 it will be with a renewed determination to be more inclusive and to be more effective in advocating for a fairer society which will not tolerate injustice. If we are to achieve the challenge in the coming year, we will each need to be prepared to stand up and be counted wherever the injustice appears in our context, as demonstrated by Robin De Rosa recently.

Teresa MacKinnon