Our ROER4D team met for a two-day research workshop from 20-21 April 2015 immediately before attending the three-day Open Education Global Conference in Banff, Canada. With 34 ROER4D researchers, advisory group members and communication/evaluation consultants present, the ROER4D group certainly made its presence felt in Banff! As there is SO much to report on what happened in this busy week, I will provide a brief overview here, and then leave the details of the perspectives of the ROER4D group to a series of blogs that are scheduled for the coming weeks – hopefully in a number of the many languages spoken by the ROER4D group who met in Banff.
With military precision our Project Manager, Tess Cartmill, ensured that the ROER4D group made it safely to Banff from Brazil (2), Canada (7), Chile (1), Colombia (3), India (3), Indonesia (1), Kenya (2), Mongolia (1), Pakistan (1), the Philippines (1), South Africa (9), Sri Lanka (1) and the United Kingdom (2). We sorely missed the contribution from our ROER4D team at Wawasan Open University in Malaysia as well as colleagues from the Philippines and the USA who were unable to travel at this time.
This was the second face-to-face meeting of the initial 11 ROER4D projects held in Cape Town in December 2013 and the second meeting of the additional 7 ROER4D Impact Studies research leaders who met in December 2014 in Penang, but it was the first time both groups had met each other. It was also the first time that mentor, David Porter, had met the entire team and also the first time that our Communication and Evaluation Mentors Ricardo Ramirez and Dal Brodhead from the IDRC-funded DECI-2 Project were able to join in a ROER4D research workshop. So our opening activity of introducing ourselves in our mother tongue and waiting to see if there was someone in the group who could translate our greeting, provided a wonderful opportunity to get to know or reconnect with each other and to celebrate our linguistic diversity!
To optimise our time together, we used a range of strategies including a World Cafe-style of presentation for the ROER4D Impact Studies researchers to explain their project proposals to the others, while the ROER4D Adoption Studies researchers presented some initial findings during the specially arranged ROER4D and GO-GN Research Track at the Open Education Global conference that followed the workshop. We also ran parallel qualitative and quantitative data analysis sessions under the guidance of qualitative researchers Freda Wolfenden and David Porter and statistician George Sciadas. Most importantly we had both planned and flexible meeting sessions for researchers to meet and share ideas with each other.
Personal highlights from Banff included the keynote at the OE Global Conference by Dirk van Damme that highlighted the key educational challenges that OER set out to address and the challenge for OER to provide evidence of how it is addressing these challenges. This is at the heart of what ROER4D endeavours to do.