Estimated reading time: 4 minutes, 21 seconds

In the Space of a Public Hangout

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes, 21 seconds

Yesterday I felt great during and after what I consider to be one of the most valuable and enioyable hangouts I have ever helped organize. It was the one with on Emerging Trends in Open Scholarship. Watch it, it was awesome conversation among awesome people πŸ™‚ particularly because I couldn’t interrupt much as my kid kept calling me to her bedside.

As I listened to the recordng this morning, I kept getting new epiphanies, beyond those I got last night when I was in there live, talking and tweeting. A million things I could blog about it, but then this morning I saw the #clmooc week 5 prompt to discuss public spaces and I thought I might do a sort of discussion of that particular hangout as a public space. It’s a little meta, because we were discussing open scholarship so it’s also a public space discussing public spaces – during which we had a lot of backchannel private conversation πŸ™‚
I’m going to reuse the image produced by the Project for Public Spaces (arguably very physical-space-oriented) to look at our hangout…
I’m looking at the 4 dimensionsof sociability, uses/activities, comfort/image and access/linkages

Starting with sociability, the hangout was definitely friendly and hopefully welcoming. All of us knew most of the others in some capacity beforehand, and  the diversity in our backgrounds (from differnt countries, disciplines, stages of our careers) added richness and yet there was harmony in our common passion for open learning, and our seemingly unified front against rigid systems of academia that may hinder love of learning and access to new and young scholars and ideas. It was interactive mainly within the hangout itself but also on email beforehand and on Twitter DM during – private spaces that nurtured the public space. The PPS diagram mentions neighborliness – not something obvious in online spaces, but in this one situation I would comsider the ways in which we influence each other and exist in some ways adjacent at each other’s “borders” to be like neighborliness. Suzan for example may have felt she had not pioneered any of the initiatives on the table, but she actually

A. Influenced the topic of the hangout and choice of people, and helped lead the discussion with her interpretatiom of technologies of emergence

B. Influenced #tjc15 into becoming a “thing” after Laura livetweeted an article response spontaneously (something Laura Gogia mentioned in the hangout)

And here is where i want to jump to the “comfort/image” part of the chart. Because during the hangout both Alan and Rebecca mentioned their lack of institutional affiliation. IN an earlier email I had said that one of the key things about open scholarship is that it doesnt care much for that affilitation. It made me thnk again about the untro we did for #clmooc week 1 and how one could define oneself wothout one’s affiliations. I looked at my twitter profile and saw it full of @ signs to all my “things”. The first line is my official affiliation. The second line are all my open scholarship affiliations. Things I do. Things and people I love. And then a couple things about me like MOOCaholic and Writeaholic but also having been a #PhDmum “not just a PhD, not just a mom, and another affiliation. Show off. And you learn very little about who I am unless you follow thru on whayt HybridPed, Edcontexts, Vconnecting and JPDUOB are. But they represent a lot more about who I am and what I do than my university affiliation. People like Alan and Rebecca contribute a lot more to open edu and to my personallearning than many others with all the institutional affiliations. The main difference is that I can more easily invite them to a hangout online than as guest speakers at my instiution. That is the catch. It means that certan people are less likelly to appreciate their contributions, but it’s the loss of those who don’t open their ears to listen. This builds on a point brought up in the hangout – openness is not just in sharing what you have to say, but listening to others, and opening your work to be transformed by others.
Then there is the “access and linkages” part, i already talked about how we were all connected in some way before the hangout. The hangout itself WAS accessible and allowng connection, being onlne on a free tool that worked well enough from Egypt to UK to Mexico to all across the US. More convenient than trying to meet in person.
Finally, “uses/activities“. It felt celebratory even while it was critical and fun and warm as we spoke about prodessional passions.

This hangout was aspot in a bigger space of interconnected opennes. So much good conversation came out of it, and I think it was just a good mix of difference and similarity to remain interesting. I hope those watching felt the same or at least enjoyed and learned something from the ways everyone was dissenting and challenging the status quo in generous ways. We need these spaces to support each other as we question the boundaries current systems place on us.

15 thoughts on “In the Space of a Public Hangout

  1. lenandlar says:

    Hi Maha, thanks for sharing. I like the visual. Why not try to map it as if it were for the digital? This might be a good start to see if there are parallels to be teased out. I like the “Social” quadrant because i see potential for it with “Hospitality” in the online public space.

    1. Maha Bali says:

      Ah good thinking Len! Right that’s our new little project as part of the hospitality!

  2. lenandlar says:

    I see “cooperative” and not “collaborative” in the “Sociability” quadrant. I wonder if it’s just a play on words or there’s something that’s native to “online openness” at play here.

    I am liking a lot more this hospitality angle of the project.

  3. Michael S. Weller says:

    “…particularly because I couldn’t interrupt much as my kid kept calling me to her bedside.”

    Is that why you kept going off camera? πŸ™‚

    I was about to post a question, but it was less than 5 minutes to the end and I thought that might not be enough time to discuss, so I held back. Now I’m wishing I had asked, so I’ll ask it here: Most, if not all (I’m not sure), of the participants in the hangout are teachers in higher ed. What does the concept of open scholarship look like in, say, a high school classroom in California, an elementary classroom in Finland, or a middle school classroom in Eastern Washington (to draw on three contexts from this year’s CLMOOC group)?

    Suzan touched on this in her last comment, when she argued that we should design learning spaces that allow emergence to happen, but I would like to talk more about what this looks like, especially in a K-12 context.

    Maybe that should be a blog post for me…maybe this is the kind of conversation that we need to multiply across contexts? For example, I need to talk about it with other high school teachers, elementary teachers need to talk with other elementary teachers, and so forth, in addition to the cross-context conversations we are already having?

    1. Maha Bali says:

      Hey Michael, I think you answered your own question: since all of us don’t teach school we can’t speak for that context with much accuracy. I used to teach ed tech to teachers here in Egypt and the value of open ed for THEM (the teachers) was clear but much more complex for their students, especially as they were not from privileged backgrounds and here in Egypt that’s a long way away from what it means in the US. So yes – teachers of k-12 need to contribute to the conversations with their own context. I am sorry that the group of people I chose are all higher ed or adult ed… In the next hangout I am hoping to have someone from corporate edu sector so that should also add a different perspective. Let’s see…
      It’s interesting actually coz i do know a few ppl who work in k-12 like u and Kevin and Tania and Susan Watson. You all should do something about this πŸ™‚ a twitter chat to follow up?

    2. Suzan says:

      Hi Michael!

      Thank you for your comment. So I lost my train of thought at the end and now I’m afraid to go back and listen to myself, but I was saying that despite all our efforts the emergence we wish for our students might not happen or it might happen elsewhere, at a very unexpected place.

      I’m in higher ed. but in a blog post ( I argued that open scholarship doesn’t have to be the same for everyone. You would certainly know how it might look like in a middle school class better than I do and I would love to learn more about it:) (so yes, a Twitter chat would be awesome!)

      1. Maha Bali says:

        Enjoy your holiday Scott!

  4. Michael S. Weller says:

    A Twitter chat would be awesome! I’d love to have an expanded conversation on this topic…maybe I’ll suggest it to Karen & Paul Allison as a TTT topic…

    Also, I didn’t mean my comment about the higher-ed context of the participants as a critique. πŸ™‚

    1. Maha Bali says:

      I didn’t take it as an intended critique but it made me realize that despite the diversity, it was missing something. I realize we can never include every possible category of person in every convo, but… I *was* aware there was a k-12 teacher audience in the mix (i even told participants via email in advance) and i didn’t think to include someone from k-12 in the hangout itself, so πŸ™‚
      So not taking it as a critique from you, but an eye opener for me on a blindspot i have… Thanks, Michael πŸ™‚ It made me think of how many valuable k-12 teachers i know and love and learn with every day

      1. Michael S. Weller says:

        Yay for K-12! πŸ™‚ Glad I could help. πŸ™‚

    2. Suzan says:

      Please let me know if/when you arrange the chat! I’m @suzankoseoglu on Twitter

  5. scottx5 says:

    Haven’t had a chance to watch the video–leaving on holiday tomorrow. The link below I always felt was connected to hospitality. As for boundaries between academic and other worlds. They do exist and though education should be a public enterprise it’s a club with restricted access. Used to be called Town and Gown when I was a kid.

    Consciousness Reframed 2002 Origin of Alexander et al: Pattern Language for Unbounded Interaction Ron Wakkary
    >This paper explores the idea of Pattern Language as a method for interaction design in a social network environment. It is the belief of the author that Pattern Language can enable interaction design to address group interaction within an β€œunbounded” interaction event. The aim is to define a theoretical starting point for adapting Pattern Language that addresses criteria informed by the concept of social network analysis. The criteria are comprised of three properties: community definition, reciprocity and scale, and rich methodology.<

    1. Maha Bali says:

      Enjoy your holiday Scott!

  6. Suzan says:

    Thank you for your post, Maha! As Laura mentioned in a tweet the themes of emergence we talked about in this hangout are all human qualities (“respect, gratitude, generosity, curiosity, flexibility” and so on) and you are pioneering that in your scholarship:)

    I wanted to frame my involvement as an adult learner because (a) I’m thousands of miles away from the institution I’m affiliated with, so I’m not sure what affiliation really means in my context and (b) I believe that the real significance of open scholarship is in the ordinary, what we do in everyday practice. So scholarship doesn’t mean “formal academic practice” it can involve anyone interested in learning and teaching, just like you define it in edcontexts:)

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