Reflecting Allowed

Maha Bali’s blog about education

Audience inshallah. Post 2 of my #OER17 Journey

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So this is my second post reflecting on and preparing for my upcoming keynote at oer17 inshallah. (link to first post here).

So I think one key thing in preparing this keynote is to learn about and know my audience, and also to interact with them before, during and after the keynote, and I have a few thoughts to share on this… And I would love feedback 

  1. I do not want to repeat orally everything I have written before about open edu. I don’t want to bore people that way. And yet, I cannot assume that everyone in the audience already knows me, my stuff, and even those who know me may not have read everything I have written (given how often I write, it’s actually pretty impossible anyone has read everything I have written everywhere.. That would be nuts). So here is my question to you: of all that I have written about open..which ideas/articles do you consider “musts” where I am really adding value in the field? I have thoughts on this, obviously, and I might even make the keynote itself adjustable and get audience feedback as I go along and have other stuff available online in case I don’t get to it all. Which of my ideas/articles would you like me to expand on? (disclaimer: I will mention vconnecting and self OER in the presentation but they won’t be central to it)
  2. There will be many in the audience with much more experience with OERs than I. Many who have been involved in OER policy. But they invited me to do this keynote knowing that I have a different experience and take on open. I considered reading up on all of that. Then realized those who know this stuff already know it. I am not standing there to tell them what they know. I am there to talk about what I know. What I care about. 
  3. Having said the above doesn’t mean I don’t care about audience. I care about how my presence can benefit them, but not about what they know that I can’t learn about fast enough to be helpful. So I am not there to talk about the UK context (duh).
  4. If I am there in person, I want to do two things. I want to be able to touch people directly. I don’t want to stand up on stage. I want to walk and look people in the eye and shake their hand during my keynote. And at the same time, I want to be as interactive as possible with the virtual audience and not just in-person. This may turn out to be more difficult than I am imagining and I haven’t tweaked it fully yet. I have done the walk with mic thing and talking to people before very successfully in a very conservative environment here in Cairo (i wasn’t keynote though). 
  5. I want to be sure people feel they can approach me to chat beyond the keynote itself. They won’t find me at the hotel bar or at a conference dinner. But pretty much anywhere else I would love for people to talk to me. I saw at ALTC moments where Jonathan Worth and Catherine Cronin were standing alone and I was wondering how it was that people left them alone. Out of politeness? Out of intimidation? I did see people walk up to me to say hi during ALTC. So I know people do it 😉 I just hope that I get these one on one opportunities to whisper and chat with people. This seems unrelated to the keynote itself,  but it’s related in my mind
  6. I hope to have a Twitter chat or such before the keynote… Or maybe by that time it would be a Mastodon chat. You can’t tell with these things 
  7. I wonder if across the (multidimensional) spectrum/domain of open educators, the philosophies and reasons why people are at OER17 will differ to the extent that I may be addressing a very niche audience who are my Twitter and vconnecting peeps and missing out on some people doing really good work but who are not visible or are differently present in our space. If you know something about the kinds of people I should expect to meet at OER17… Let me know a little of what to expect 🙂
  8. I am worried because I want to deliver a strong bu gentle message. So far, I have some ideas worked out… I just don’t know if building it all throughout the keynote will manage to get this heard without being offensive. I think I have learned to be critical without always making people defensive. But not all people actually talk to me. It’s possible those who get offended just don’t talk to me in the first place (or any more).

 A recent post by Helen Beetham made me really conscious of people in the audience whose work may be underrecognized…and as someone whose work in the past has been such, i have gotten GOOD at visibility (especially online) and i try really hard to amplify good work of others. I don’t know yet how to ensure this in my keynote (that no credit/attribution is lost) or if it is possible to achieve 100% but I will try.

      I am gonna stop here….this is not the end of it…looking forward to any feedback anyone can give to questions 1 and 7 above! Thanks!

      3 Comments

      1. It’s been awhile since I commented on your blog, Maha. Congratulations btw! What an honor and I think it’s awesome you are blogging about your keynote creation. That’s true open pedagogy, IMHO:) Let me share some thoughts on #2 and #3–I struggle with this perspective too when I speak these days. I often share the stage (so to speak) with really smart folks who have way more experience with everything I’m doing. Imposter syndrome daily! I’m hyper-aware that there are people who know a lot more than me, but I also know I have something to offer to at least someone in the audience. I feel like if I can either empower somebody or invite him/her to ask questions, then I’m doing a good job. As for the policy folks, they need to hear teachers like you. One more thought on #4–you can take a moment and scan the room with your eyes and people will feel like you are looking at them. I bet you already do that as a teacher. If you can be there in person, then why not have an informal space to “hang out with Maha” after the keynote? I bet the conference organizers could create that space and the folks who want more Maha then they can sit in a circle with you post-keynote. Those are often the best small sessions. You’re going rock!

      2. Pingback: Christian

      3. Interesting when you said “I want to be able to touch people directly” I actually interpreted it symbolically rather than literally (until I read the rest of the paragraph). I think the emotions around you being there will touch people directly 🙂

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