Estimated reading time: 4 minutes, 21 seconds

Reflecting Allowed

Maha Bali’s blog about education

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 🙂 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 🙂
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.


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