ALT, Committee, Conferences, CPD, HigherEd, OER

OER 2023 my reflections of being on the committee

For the third year in a row, I have been part of the OER conference committee. Read my

As a mentor, I regularly document my CPDs to encourage my mentees to engage in similar tasks, either for them to learn new skills or simply to network with people outside their circle, I, therefore, provide in this blog:

  • What is the OER conference and how to get involved?
  • What was it like to be part of the committee?
  • What did I gain being part of the committee?
  • Will I do it again?
  • What I think could be improved?


The 14th annual conference for Open Education Research aka OER 2023 conference ( took place on 4-6 April 2023 in Inverness, Scotland. The conference was themed around “Advancing open education practices” and this year round was a hybrid version held in partnership with the University of the Highlands and Islands on its campus in Inverness in Scotland. The conference was also organised in partnership with GO-GN Global OER Graduate Network (

The conference focused on five themes:

  • Celebrating the impact of Open Education and OER
  • Open Education research and policy around the globe
  • Open Education in Scotland – celebrating 10 years of the Scottish Open Education Declaration
  • Embedding and supporting Open Education through curriculum design
  • Wildcard. Creative practice in relation to openness

I got involved by filling a interest form some time in 2022 and was first contacted in December 2022 and with one-hour committee meetings scheduled on:

  • 24 January
  • 13 February
  • 9 March
  • 28 March

What was it like to be part of the committee?

This time around, it was disappointing to be part of the OER committee, and why so?

  • I did not even feel part of the committee. Committee meetings were rather of an FYI for committee members. Clearly, decisions were made elsewhere, perhaps among the chairs and partners, and staff only.
  • Rather than a conference committee, I felt I was more part of a reviewers pool.

What did I gain being part of the organising team?

This was a dry experience for me where I gained nothing in return for my time. Why so?

  1. In general, I have always taken time to attend committee meetings, but this time round I missed one committee meeting due to an ARLT SIG event that was scheduled same time (9th March). Nonetheless, I did not feel that I had missed much, since I could pick up whatever was missed from the agenda.
  2. This time round, since there were (from what we were told in the committee meeting) about a hundred committee members (or rather reviewers which is a more appropriate word), committee members were not listed on the OER23 website. So, I volunteered to write a blog entitled “OER as a tool to educate against discrimination” ( This was the only way I could create visibility for myself as a committee member.
  3. Obviously, committee members (aka reviewer pool) had some reviewing to do, this was via EasyChair as usual and contributed no new knowledge and new skills to me as I have done so before. Surprisingly, during a subsequent committee meeting, a few committee members mentioned they were not allocated any reviewing, which means their contribution would have been almost nil to this committee.

Will I do it again?

No, I am worth much more than giving my time freely for an activity where I will not be valued.

Having been part of the OER conference committee for the third time, has given me ample time to observe the processes in place and how the organisers were regressing.

I am nonetheless interested in being part of the ALT 2023 conference, as I have had only one committee experience for ALTc so I will leave my judgement after a second round as to whether the lack of inclusivity and involvement of committee members can be generalised or is it simply a leadership issue with the chairs.

What I think could be improved?

  • Give the true meaning to committees, consult with committee members, value them, and make it a two-way dialogue and communication or recruit a smaller pool of committee members and recruit a separate group called reviewers if needed.
  • Ensure that the first committee meeting is scheduled before the proposal deadline closes. I recall during the first committee, it was still unclear to me if the conference was hybrid or not. I raised the point (along with a few other committee members) that I did not submit anything because the conference promotion did not highlight its hybrid nature. In response, I was told the conference website was incomplete and did not have all the information. This definitely needs to be improved, an incomplete website is witless and non-inclusive.
  • ALT has very few staff and organises three conferences yearly along with webinars and meetings, there seems to be a more focus on quantity than quality.

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