Virtually Connecting Inclusivity presentation #oer17

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And Were Live!

And Were Live!#OER17VC @VConnecting

Breaking the Physical Presence Barrier: Virtually Connecting as an approach to open, inclusive conferences

Breaking the physical presence barrier:Virtually Connecting as an approach to open, inclusive conferences


How We BeganApril 2015


VC Team (on Slack)Universe of all possible onsiteand virtual participants

SpectatorsVC Network (guests, participants)@Bali_Maha

3 Focus Groups (+ previous feedback)

@VConnectingPrevious research published here:Bali, M., Caines, A., DeWaard, H., & Hogue, R. (2016, December). Ethos and Practice of a Connected Learning Movement: Interpreting Virtually Connecting Through Alignment with Theory and Survey Results. Online Learning Journal, 20(4). Retrieved from

Inclusion ParadoxQuestions: #OER17 & @VConnecting


CC-BY Brett Jordan - Paradox

There are several paradoxes that we are uncovering around VC in terms of inclusion. These may point to VC as a more complex approach to learning than traditional approaches. Paradoxes abound in complex systems and I am adverse to the idea that all paradoxes need to be (or even can be) resolved.

To resolve a paradox is to destroy one side of the equation when both may be of value. The option to not resolve the paradox and allow the tension to persist can have advantages. If possibility of resolving a paradox exists it does not mean that it is probable or realistic and in such cases there can be resolve found in being explicit about what side of the paradox you wish to exist.

Us and ThemHow can we build a community if the fact that we are a community keeps new people away?


We have often been criticized for being a community. For knowing and liking one another. Some say this camaraderie can be intimidating for some, hindering our ability to bring in new people, while at the same time it is something that holds us together.

I would suggest that this is a paradox that we would like to resolve, however, solving is not possible. There is a hard truth here about inclusivity in that we are not going to be everyones cup of tea. To resolve such a paradox I would suggest explicit articulation about the identity of the community that we are trying to foster in an attempt to be clear about what side of the paradox we are on.

Stardom vs InformalityThere is a familiarity with stars that participants like. But are we just perpetuating a celebrity culture in what should be a learning environment?


VC uses stars to generate interest in conversations that we host - at the same time - VC is an assault on the idea of stardom because of high stakes joining; informality is a threat to the idea of a polished brand.

Some of our work around explicitly articulating our identity in the focus groups had to do with dismantling privilege. If we are to adopt this language as a core value (perhaps modifying the manifesto) I would suggest that this paradox does not need to be resolved. That the stars can serve as a plus in hospitality while at the same time being vulnerable to show their unpolished and more human sides could fit nicely with a call to dismantle privilege.


Democracy vs Marginalisation

Includes voices from different disciplines, levels, backgrounds, but how to avoid seeming like a club?CC-BY Tinou Bao - Illusion

The onsite experienceIntroversion / ExtroversionShyness and community buildingPoll

@rjhogue@MiaZamoraPhD of ironic that those who are not onsite are talking about the onsite experience :-)

Curiosity and SerendipityOpen windows of opportunities to listen, question and contribute. #alwayslearning

@suebecks and @Bali_Maha

Local Optimums, what and for whom?

Focus on Virtuals or Onsites?What is our mission? Intersectionality important How to scale a volunteer grassroots organization? Should we?

E.g. Onsite Participant convos w keynotesSuggested in focus group: Would not be VC - mission creep? @VConnecting

Global OptimumToo far away? But possible?By whom? @VConnecting

It;s in your hands


Join us!

This conference:

Join the buddy team

Your Ideas:Finding VC OnsiteHow to be more inclusive?

Contribute your thoughtsPadlet: #OER17VC