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Embracing Learning and Community in Cork: Reflections on the GO-GN Workshop and OER 24 Conference

This post is by Lucas Johnson (Lakehead).

My recent journey to Cork, Ireland, for the GO-GN workshop and OER 24 conference was a blend of intellectual growth, inspiration, and warm hospitality. From the outset, I must express my gratitude to GO-GN for their support, which allowed me to delve into a world of open education alongside a vibrant community of scholars and advocates.

Cork welcomed us with open arms, its people embodying a genuine warmth. The, County, City, and Campus at Munster Technical Institute were nothing short of beautiful, providing a picturesque backdrop to our discussions and collaborations. Despite Ireland’s reputation for rain, we were fortunate to enjoy mostly pleasant weather throughout the conference and workshop, which enhanced my exploration of this charming region.

The workshop session, although busy, was exciting. It once again allowed penguins to share their work in safe spaces. We worked together to understand our Doctoral Journeys and to receive valuable feedback and encouragement on our work thus far. It gave me great pleasure to practice my 3MT presentation, as I could not deliver it during my institution’s competition. 

One of the conference’s highlights was the day one keynote address delivered by a fantastic speaker. Dr. Rajiv Jhangiani, who captivated the audience with his insights into open education and the future of learning. His use of the fairy tale analogy dovetailed wonderfully into the previous day’s metaphor activities during the GO-GN workshop.

Day two brought forth an equally compelling keynote address by Dr. Catherine Cronin and Prof. Laura Czerniewicz. Their speaking styles and delivery were inspiring and provided ample time for thought and insight. The contrasting yet complementary perspectives they offered left a lasting impression, prompting meaningful dialogues among attendees.

Amidst these intellectually stimulating sessions, we also took some time to honour Dr. Martin Weller’s remarkable career and retirement. Being part of this celebration was a humbling experience, underscoring the importance of recognizing and cherishing the contributions of trailblazers in our field.

I was fortunate enough to spend a few extra days in the area, visiting the Cliffs of Moher, Kissing the Blarney Stone and seeing the Titanic Experience in Cobh, among other things. I also toured the Cork Harbour by boat and enjoyed the beautiful views while taking in the area’s rich history provided by an excellent tour guide. 

In retrospect, my time at the GO-GN workshop and OER 24 conference was a harmonious blend of learning, connection, and appreciation for the beauty of ideas and surroundings. I return with a renewed zeal to champion open education initiatives and contribute meaningfully to a community driven by shared values and aspirations.

Photo credits: All photos by Lucas Johnson and used with permission, except Lucas presenting at the GO-GN workshop (GO-GN, CC BY 4.0) and Lucas by the OER24 monitor (by Abiud Bosire).

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