OERcamps – Opening up conferencing! Mainstreaming open education through unconferences and barcamps

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Barcamps are open education events open to all. They represent an unconference format with a common theme but without pre-planned programme. The session schedule is designed collaboratively at the beginning of each (un-)conference day. The OERcamps in Germany started in 2012 and have since taken place 9 times in several cities across the country, each gathering between 80 and 220 participants from all sectors and all fields of education. A recent review of OER-related activities in Germany on behalf of UNESCO (Orr, Neumann, Muuß-Merholz 2017, 8) stated: “Since OER activities are mostly driven bottom-up, there has been a need for sharing questions, experiences and materials between players, who have been isolated in their own institutions. These players found opportunities for sharing in cross-sector events and communities. Especially the barcamp/unconference format turned out to fit tremendously well developing a strong German OER community.” OERcamps open up new and contemporary formats for learning based on openness, sharing, personal meaning, participation and equality. They are the appropriate format of education for a time in which we are depending on not only transferring fixed knowledge but also co-creating new knowledge. OERcamps are about sharing, discussing, negotiating solutions for a world in change. OERcamps are also the source of collective development and use of OER. Sessions are documented using collaborative text documents, blogging, podcasts etc. which are mostly shared under a CC BY licence. Hundreds of documents have been created since the beginning and innumerable OER activities were born, initiated, promoted, catalysed and pursued. OERcamps provide a radical “Open to all” approach by lowering the barriers to attend by removing participation fees and any formal requirements, fostering cross sectoral collaboration, encouraging volunteering and peer to peer support for participants. They provide a base and a hub for the flourishing German OER community.

OERcamp (ZLL21 e.V.)

Germany, Bremen, Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Cologne

Contributed by: Joeran Muuss-Merholz

Language: Dutch

License: CC-BY