Tech Infrastructure as OER

Recently on Twitter, Jöran Muuß-Merhol reminded me of a discussion we had back in 2016 at the OER Conference in Edinburgh, Scotland. 

I first met Jöran in the Spring of 2013 at the Reclaim Open Hackathon at MIT, which was also the first time I met Kin Lane and Audrey Watters. A formative trip for me personally, so it was interesting to catch up with Jöran 3 years later to see how the whole Reclaim metaphor that was cemented for me at MIT evolved. And now it is two years later than that, and turns out I never did blog it. So I took the opportunity this morning  to listen to it, and to its detriment it is certainly Jim Groom playing the hits (screw you, Lamb!).

But what was interesting for me about this discussion two years later is how focused I was on the possibilities of the Personal API. It is something I was still trying to make sense of, and my stumbling around defining APIs is proof of that. I knew I was venturing into dangerous territory when it comes to my own comprehension, but returning to it this morning made me want to return to ideas at the heart of the Personal API in light of giving folks more control over their data. Part of the reason this has been on hold since 2016 is that we’ve been busy managing the day-to-day at Reclaim. But I think both Reclaim and BYU have been on a similar trajectory of growth and building capacity when it comes to managing a Domains initiative, so we very well may be in a position to revisit this idea in the near future.

To that end I am not only going reach out to BYU, but also submit a talk proposal on the idea for the MyData conference in Helsinki this August. If accepted, it would provide a welcome opportunity to not only work through the ideas, but also listen and learn from others in the field re-thinking data ownership. And this return seems timely given David Wiley is currently exploring what open means in the context of courseware, and while I understand the argument for divorcing the idea of OERs from the courseware within which they often live—the fact that they live there at all seems the bigger issue for me.

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