To say that I enjoyed the OERxDomains21 committee experience would be underrated. Despite the pandemic, I had felt the energy that I often had when chairing in-person conferences myself. Why? Because Discord brought some fresh air from Zoom, BlackBoard Collaborate, and the likes that I have been using so far during the pandemic. That I believe was a game-changer for many on the committee and even participants at the conference.
What is Discord? Discord, as described on its website, is “a place that makes it easy to talk every day and hang out more often.” It provided a perfect space for conferences, I am not a fan of moving around changing rooms in between sessions, especially in big conferences with large venues, but I totally enjoy the hanging out part of conferences, especially during tea breaks. It is usually the part where I get to polish my elevator pitch, learn about new projects, exchange business cards, and literally get new collaborators. Although I was part of the committee, there was little time to hang out with the committee members; we were always on a tight schedule for our monthly meetings. And Discord saved the day for me, allowing me to actually hang out with other committee members and participants, with the added benefit that tweets immediately got curated onto a channel in Discord, which allowed me to follow the conversation on a single platform.
Obviously, there was much more than Discord that I enjoyed as a committee member. The 12th OER annual conference was organised in partnership with Reclaim Hosting’s Domains Conference. That meant OER and Domains conferences merged into one, which was why we had Co-chairs from both communities. I cannot recall who suggested StreamYard during the meetings but that too was a gamechanger, sessions could be live-streamed on YouTube. This I believe was a huge plus for the ALT staff. I personally liked the live streaming for a more practical reason during the conference. Whenever I wanted a break from the screen in between the sessions, I was able to just take 5 minutes, come back and catch up with the YouTube video, and not feel lost with what the presenter is talking about. I know no other platform where I would have been able to do so. So a big clap on that.
As usual, there were Open Badges for all participants, but the coolest was the VisualThinkery remixing of conference badges.
As a committee member, of course, there was also some reviewing to be done, which was via through EasyChair, nothing atypical from other conferences. I chaired Sarah Lambert’s session entitled “Open to diversity: inclusive design insights from the Australian OER textbook project” which is based on the Australian Open Textbooks project . You can follow the asynchronous Q&A on this Twitter thread.
As I end this second and last day of the conference, there are many parallel sessions that I have missed and looking forward to catching up with.