When I first heard about Open Education, five or six years ago, I had not yet transitioned from my position as a teaching lecturer (re: adjunct) to my current role in accessibility at Plymouth State University. At the time, I was freshly out of graduate school, parenting a toddler, and trying to keep up with the latest and greatest in pedagogy to make myself marketable in the competitive world of higher education. Each new semester meant learning the flavor-of-the-month in Ed. Tech, implementing the latest and greatest in best practices, or following the movers and shakers in the higher education world. And while I am a fan of innovation, I was admittedly succumbing to the exhaustion of keeping up. My ennui could have meant a major missed opportunity for me, and for awhile it did, but a few years and a career shift later, I found myself opening to Open.
This past summer, I was invited to be an ambassador for my institution’s Open Education initiatives–a title that felt a tad too distinguished for a person new to all things Open. Not helping my fears of fraudulence, was that my primary role was in accessibility, not classroom teaching, though the latter remains a passion for me, and I am fortunate to work at a university that allows me to teach a class or two each semester. Despite my worries, I quickly learned that one of the great things about Open is, well, its openness: to ideas, diversity of experience, problem solving, and connection.
My fellow embassadors were instrumental in helping me articulate my budding ideas about the link between Accessibility and Open Education. Their enthusiasm not only drove me towards further exploring this connection, but also affirmed my conviction that these two areas are natural partners, united in their goals of removing educational barriers and supporting all learners.
So in the spirit of Open Education I will continue to remix and revise my growing understanding of making our classrooms inclusive for all, and I offer this space as a repository for reusable resources as well as allowing space for my own rumination as I help other dedicated teachers and learners discover their curiosity about Accessing Open.