Open Education Conference 2016 in Richmond, VA

The 13th Annual Open Education Conference will be hosted at the Richmond Convention Center on November 2-4, 2016.

Learn about open initiatives across the globe. Open VA Advisory Committee will be presenting “Open Education in Virginia’s Higher Education Instituions: An Environmental Scan” on Thursday, November 3rd at 2:15 pm.

For more information, pleas

The State of OER

The State of OER

Open VA launches its first webinar on April 15th from 11:00a.m. – 12:00p.m. to highlight the open educational resource (OER) material faculty are creating and/or teaching around the state. This webinar will feature Dr. Greg Hartman from Virginia Military Institute on his authorship of APEX Calculus, which is CC-licensed, Dr. Jane Robertson from Virginia Tech who teaches with an open statistics platform, and Dr. Ioulia Rytikova from George Mason University who teaches Information Systems Technology (IST) with OER material.  Each faculty member will give a 15 minute presentation on their experience in creating a course with OER, their experience teaching it, and student feedback. There will be a short question and answer session afterwards.  The information to log into the webinar is below:

<<Join the WebEx Meeting>>

Meeting Number: 641 193 930
Meeting Password: 1OERwebinar

Join by phone

1-877-668-4493 Call-in toll-free number (US/Canada)
1-650-479-3208 Call-in toll number (US/Canada)
Access code: 641 193 930

OpenVA 2.1 Live stream link

As promised, here is the link to our live stream:

Tips: don’t use Google’s Chrome browser, it doesn’t play well with our streaming software. Also, you can toggle between seeing what our presenters are putting on screen and the room view by clicking “screen” and “camera” in the lower right corner.
We will do our best to stick to the posted agenda, (although we expect to take a few minutes longer to get lunch together) so use that as a guide to where we are in the program. We aren’t set up to take questions through the live streaming software, but you can tweet questions under the hashtag #openva and direct them to me @millerjamison. Emailing them to me will work too. I’ll do my best to get your voice heard!

OpenVA 2.1 Agenda

At long last we have firmed up the agenda for OpenVA 2.1! Landing at William & Mary this coming Saturday, the event is packed with a diverse set of disciplinary and institutional perspectives. As any updates (such as presentation titles) and amendments come up, I will update them here. I will also be emailing those registered with detailed directions and possible venues for follow up discussion. At this point we are nearly fully booked, but have room for a few more attendees before we lock it down. So if you’ve been putting off registration, now’s the time! If we fill up before you can register, or if you just couldn’t fit in the trip, we will be live streaming and recording the event for future reference. The link will be posted here on

OpenVA 2.1 | May 2, 2015 | The College of William and Mary

10:00 – 10:30 | Coffee, sign-in, getting settled

10:30 – 10:40 | Welcome
Introduction: Diane Ryan, Assistant Professor of Communication Studies (TCC)

  • Michele Jackson, Associate Provost for University ELearning Initiatives (W&M)

10:40 – 11:30 | Session 1: Intro to OER
Moderator: Richard Sebastian, Director of Teaching and Learning Technologies (VCCS)

11:30 – 11:40 | Break

11:40 – 12:25 | Keynote and lunch
Introduction: Gene Roche, Executive Professor of Higher Education (W&M)

  • Gardner Campbell, Vice Provost for Learning Innovation and Student Success, Dean of University College, and Associate Professor of English (VCU)
    The Grand Narrative of a Way of Life in an Open Integrated Domain

12:25 – 12:30 | Break

12:30 – 1:45 | Session 2: Exemplary Practice
Moderator: Jim Groom, Director of the Division of Teaching and Learning Technologies (UMW)

  • Jennifer Kidd, Senior Lecturer of Teaching and Learning (ODU)
    Create your own OERS: Student-Generated Text(book)s
  • Andrea Livi Smith, Chair/Associate Professor of Historic Preservation (UMW)
    System D
  • Tom Geary, Assistant Professor of English (TCC)
  • Sue Fernsebner, Associate Professor of History (UMW)
    Rebel Kingdoms, OERs, and Student Authorship

Closing: Beverly Covington, Policy Analyst for Academic Affairs and Planning (SCHEV) and Diane Ryan (TCC)


OpenVA 2.1 Updates

You may have seen an email recently that brought you to the site, either to find more details or to register. If not, below is a copy of the email we sent to get the word out. Hope to see you on May 2nd!

We are excited to announce “OpenVA 2.1”, a 3-hour workshop on Open Educational Resources (OER) that will be hosted at the College of William and Mary on Saturday, May 2nd.   Although OER are gaining exposure and adoption across the globe, awareness remains one of the chief obstacles to implementation. This event, then, is about fostering a rich and varied awareness of the many faces of OER.  We are organizing two focused panels to critically discuss:

  1. the current OER landscape and what constitutes OER, and
  2. first-hand accounts of OER implementation from a variety of disciplines and contexts

These panel sessions will be broken up by an expectedly spirited keynote address from Gardner Campbell, Vice Provost for Learning Innovation and Student Success at Virginia Commonwealth University.  Space in the agenda will be reserved for audience input, as we hope to encourage an engaged dialogue relevant to attendees.  And lunch is on us!

Who should attend: This event is intended to embrace administrators, faculty, librarians, and technologists with interests in OER – from piqued novices to seasoned veterans. We will be hearing from programs that are just starting out in their investigations of OER, to fully integrated curricula. Those attending OpenVA 2.1 will be exposed to a variety of perspectives and reflections about OER and their implementation, as well as resources for exploring OER in their disciplines. There are no prerequisites. Topics such as course (re)design utilizing OER, concerns about quality and copyright, and why OER are gaining traction in higher education are likely to be engaged.

When: Saturday, May 2nd, 10:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. (doors open at 10 for coffee); conversations to continue offsite following the event.

Where: Media Center
Ground floor, Swem Library
The College of William and Mary
400 Landrum Drive, Williamsburg, VA 23185
(Free weekend parking available in all campus lots)

The event is FREE, but pre-registration is required as there is a cap of 50 attendees.  Register at  Please distribute immediately to interested staff and faculty.

For questions, please contact Beverly Covington or Jamison Miller.

And please circulate widely!


OpenVA 2.1: May 2nd, 2015

This spring we are following through with the promise made at the 2014 conference to hold smaller, more focused campus workshops. Our focus will be open educational resources (OER) that were the topic of one of the sessions at the summit. The intent is to raise OER awareness both at the College of William & Mary and regionally while also continuing the fruitful dialogue from last October. Read on for more details and be sure to register before we cap out at 80 50 registrants. Registration is free, and lunch is on us!


Come in

Blink And You’ll Miss It! / Pete / CC BY 2.0

We’re back, with a workshop!

This spring we are holding the first in what we hope will be a long series of campus based workshops  that will supplement the Annual OpenVA conferences, but we have decided to change up the format a bit. The first two conferences brought together students, educators, learning technology specialists and administrators to share innovative practices using OER. Since that time, the planning committee has remained engaged enthusiastic about furthering the work in this area.

We’re taking the OER conversation to The College of William and Mary on Saturday, May 2nd. The event is free and open to all, and will focus on practices from around the state involving OER. We will be sharing ideas about what constitutes OER, how to find them, how to vet them, and how to use them. Stories will be shared from the trenches of implementation–successes and failures–and there will be space for participants to bring their own questions and insights.

Some event presenters will be invited by the planning committee based on its prior knowledge of their work and its relevance to the topics.  However, there is also an open call on the website for submissions so that the committee can learn about other examples and incorporate them into a robust schedule for the roughly 3-hour event.

Gardner Campbell - photo by darcyWe’re thrilled to have Gardner Campbell visit us from VCU as our keynote speaker. Gardner  is Vice Provost for Learning Innovation and Student Success, Dean of University College, and Associate Professor of English at Virginia Commonwealth University. He has been involved in teaching and learning technologies for over two decades, including work at the University of San Diego and the University of Richmond. He has presented at numerous national and international conferences on Renaissance literature, film, and teaching and learning technologies. You can read Gardner’s blog, “Gardner Writes,” at, where you can also download his most recent CV.

Fernsebner PicWe’re also excited to be hearing from Sue Fernsebner, Associate Professor of History at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia. She is the founding co-chair of the Digital Scholars Institute at UMW, a program dedicated to supporting university faculty in their development of digital projects in pedagogy and research. Susan has shared her work in the digital realm in numerous forums since 2007 including presentations at national and international conferences for the American Historical Association and the Association of Asian Studies, at regional events including OpenVA and UMW’s Faculty Academy, as well as in local workshops on technology and curriculum development, among others.

As further details about presenters and the format emerge, we will post them here. In the meantime, you can register for the event, which will be free of charge, here:

If you have any questions, please let us know.

OpenVA 2.0: October 18th, 2014

Below is the text of an email I recently sent out to all of the attendees at last year’s inaugural OpenVA conference. As the following email notes, this year we are doing things a bit different, focusing more intently on how we utilize out time together to build some momentum around getting some things done. It seems to have resonated with folks because we already have 75+ registrants in less than two weeks, and most folks on that email list are still enjoying the precious last moments of summer vacation. Read on for more details and be sure to register before we cap out at 150.


Image Credit: EdCamp Fort Wayne


This Fall we are running a 2nd Annual OpenVA conference, but we have decided to change up the format a bit. As you may recall, the inaugural event held last October at the University of Mary Washington was a conference format that brought together educators, learning technology specialists and administrators to share innovative practices using open education resources. Since that time, the planning committee has remained engaged and they are enthusiastic about furthering the work in this area.

We have scheduled a follow-up event, to be held at Tidewater Community College on Saturday, October 18th. The event is free and open to all, and will focus on a relatively small number of existing projects in and around Virginia that feature how various universities are utilizing open content, infrastructure, and pedagogy to garner both grassroots and institutional support for sharing open resources and to promote institutional collaboration. Some specific projects include Tidewater Community College’s “Z-Degree” focused on affordable textbooks, University of Mary Washington’s Domain of One’s Own created to empower students and faculty to manage their digital lives, as well as looking at how various institutions are rethinking IT infrastructure in light of cloud computing. And that’s just a few of the projects and topics

What’s more, we want your projects too! We are interested in other innovative higher ed projects exploring open educational resources, open infrastructure, or open pedagogy happening around the state. Submit your example using the following link, and the committee will reach out for more details:

This Summit on Building Open VA will features examples as well as gather input from participants during four focused discussion sessions with the purpose of developing recommendations for a statewide open resource strategy.

Please help in the promotion of this event among your colleagues.  We wish to attract faculty, administrators, legislators, librarians and learning technologists,

  • who have put together successful individual initiatives that they would like to expand or scale
  • who know, or want to know, how to support an Open educational initiative,
  • who understand the importance of an Open Initiative and want to get a better understanding of how ‘Open’ is currently being deployed throughout Virginia,
  • who believe in the promise of ‘Open’ but don’t know where to get started or how to sustain an open initiative once it gets started,
  • who want to learn how to form and write policy for open education.

Some event presenters will be invited by the planning committee based on its prior knowledge of their work and its relevance to the topics.  However, there is also an open call on the website for submissions so that the committee can learn about other examples and incorporate them into a robust schedule for the day.

The event website is:

Also, you can register for the event, which will be free of charge, here:

If you have any questions, please let me know.

Thanks for your attention,

Jim Groom
If you want to end any further emails about OpenVA, send me an email and let me know. You can respond to this email or send a note to

OpenVA Under Construction

I just published this post announcing the second annual OpenVA conference that will be happening October 18th, 2014 at Tidewater Community College. This announcement will be followed shortly by an email from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) to the provost (or academic equivalent) at every pulic higher education institution in Virginia. That email will layout the reconstitution of this committee under the official banner of OpenVA, and frame this conference as the first step in building an infrastructure around open education in Virginia . This email will also be a call to these campuses to appoint representatives at Virginia’s various public colleges and universities to steer this newly imagined group.

It was pretty excited to hear that OpenVA got a second act, and it’s even cooler to think SCHEV intends to given this group credence, support, and a platform to operate from. But this also means we need to actually get down to brass tacks. Start building, if you will.

So when thinking about this year’s conference, we came up with a somewhat different approach. Rather than reproducing what we did last year, we decided to try and dedicate the time during the event to try and focus on what it is we want, and try and hash out how we can make it happen—hence the title “Building OpenVA.” It will be like a hackathon for pushing policy conversation towards action:

  • Open infrastructure
  • Open content/resource
  • Open pedagogy/curriculum

This event isn’t a conference, per se. It will be broken down into four sessions. The first three will showcase open initiatives happening currently in Virginia that embody each of the three faces of open listed above . The final session will be a culmination of the discussions with the goal of charging participants and laying out a strategy for action at SCHEV, higher education institutions, and legislative bodies.

Each session will be 90 minutes long and formatted as a kind of call/response. The first half will be a presentation by a panel consisting of Virginia higher ed institutions and educators who are at the forefront of open innovations currently taking place in VA. This will be followed by a directed panel discussion by a small group of stakeholders including representatives from faculty, IT, librarians, administration, and legislature. The panel will discuss how the current initiatives might be scaled to move beyond their existing implementations and be adopted by a larger number of Virginia institutions.

It’s this call and response idea that I hope takes off. It reinforces the fact that Virginia’s colleges and universities are a distributed, but connected voice that needs to collaboratively frame the conversation of our future. To that end, we’re asking that anyone from around the state contribute their example of an innoVAtion (forgive the cheesey camel case, I couldn’t resist) from any of Virginia’s public higher education institutions.

….there is an open call on the OpenVA website ( seeking examples of projects happening currently in Virginia’s colleges or universities that represent an innovative approach to opening up infrastructure (sharing technical resources, server space, applications, etc.), content (open educational resources, textbooks, media, etc.), and pedagogy (syllabi, innovative course practice, research, curriculum, etc). The organizing committee will use these examples to contact various presenters and create a schedule for the day that is rooted in what’s happening on the ground. The event will be about augmenting and amplifying the best of what’s already out there.

I’m pretty excited about this approach to the conference, and all the credit goes to Andrew Feldstein and Steve Nodine who took time out of the Sloan-C Emerging Tech conference in Dallas this past April to hash this idea out in person. I should also add that as we go through a transition to the OpenVA incarnation, the committee has been pared down to a few highly motivated and dedicated people. And they make it very apparent that the vision of an open Virginia has taken hold and driving us all.

We’re running the conference at a different campus this year, thanks to the ever great Diane Ryan of Tidewater Community College, and that idea of a moveable, shared vision for which we share responsibility is why I know this group will be successful. But I shouldn’t get ahead of myself, there is much more to do over the next four months. So until then save the date: Saturday, October 18th in Virginia Beach. This analyzing is paralyzing, let’s build the future of open education in Virginia we want to see!


OpenVA and Minding the Future featured on NPR

As we mentioned previously, NPR radio host Sarah McConnell of “With Good Reason” attended Minding the Future and OpenVa in October, and featured sessions from both conferences in a recent episode focusing on the future of Higher Education.

Gardner Campbell’s OpenVA talk “Wisdom as a Learning Outcome” was featured in the episode, as was part of the culminating panel discussion of Minding the Future. You can listen to the episode above, or watch both in their entirety below (note the video of “Wisdom as a Learning Outcome” is the talk delivered days later at TedxUSagrado).