Saturday, 9 February 2013

Looking forward to OER13 - Thanks for getting us here ...

As co-chair of OER13 (with the wonderful Jackie Carter) I have had the inside track for months now on how the event was shaping up. It has been quite a ride. I can recall when our realistic estimates for numbers attending was around the 80 mark on the basis that OER10, OER11, OER12, in fact the full set so far, had each been supported by well-resourced projects (RLO-CETL, JISC and later SCORE) and times and project funding are no longer to be relied upon. Once SCORE finished in July 2012 we would need to fall back on the generosity of OER friends, not only as members of the planning group, but also in working their socks off and attracting supporters (more active than simply sponsors) to make the event financially viable. Last week we had our penultimate planning group meeting (only 48 days to go) and now realise that we may well sell out (i.e. top 200) even before we get to the end of the Early Bird rate period.

My 'oriole' shoes for the OER13 gala dinner

In the lull before the event I would like to thank all of the planning group, an exceptionally active and willing bunch of volunteers, and also pass out some special thanks to some of those who have taken on additional responsibilities to push OER13 forward to the next level. Not three parallel strands but 5-6 each day, more affordable than ever before (£167 for the two days) ... I will rein in my inner saleswoman at this point. If you are interested in what we have achieved look at the website - oer13.org

Now the roll call: Thanks to Jackie Carter (MIMAS) co-chair, voice of reason and all a chair should be; Steve Stapleton and Andy Beggan (Open Nottingham) for offering Nottingham as a venue, with recording, logistics and even food tasting services thrown in; Andy Lane and Anna Comas-Quinn (OU) for running the paper/poster review side of things so well; Dawn Leeder (Cambridge and UCEL) for her (wo)manning of the website; Megan Quentin-Baxter, Victor Ottaway and many at MEDEV (Newcastle University) who are pulling together an interactive programme that will amaze and astound; Simon Thomson (Leeds Met) who is part of that programme team, provides the system we rely on for virtual meetings and will be 'Blingmaster' for the gala dinner Open Mic session; Terese Bird (Leicester) our OER13 blogging queen and David Kernohan (JISC) aka @oer13 on Twitter; Jonathan Darby (who thought that there should be an OER13) and Tim Seal who together have brought the OE SIG into OER13 planning and other valuable contacts besides; Terry McAndrew (HEA and TechDis) who agreed to be Treasurer when no sane person should have - i.e. when we had almost no money to build from; Stephen Gomez and Alex Fenlon (HEA) and Patrick McAndrew and the OER Research Hub team (OU) who have brought in supporters and new activity and actors into the mix. Finally the ALT people, Maren Deepwell who provided the base for the OE SIG, and hence OER13 and Caroline Greves who is supporting the event (aka organising us).

Not going to be there, or new to OER and need some funding help?
The event will be captured in many different ways and made open for those who can't be there, but if you can be there then do. If you have colleagues who are interested in OER but not yet, or only newly, engaged with it then point them in the direction of the HEA sponsorships which will cover the fees of the event and please circulate the link: http://bit.ly/OER13_HEA

From this experience it is very hard not to be impressed by the UK OER community. I'm not going to try :-) 

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