2016: My Year in Review

2016 was a busy, unforgettable year.

By the numbers, 28 keynotes or invited talks, 12 conference presentations, 2 published chapters + 2 in press, 2 published journal articles + 2 in press, and 1 edited FAQ site.

This was a year for both family and opportunity, some setbacks but much progress, the occasional need to pitch a battle or take a principled stand, the discovery of many new allies, and the opportunity to meet many personal heroes.

It began at St. Pete’s beach in Florida at the National Institute for the Teaching of Psychology (where I will be again this week), co-hosting a discussion titled “Textbooks are dead and traditional assignments suck” with my dear friend Robert Biswas-Diener (aka the “Indiana Jones of Positive Psychology”; aka Senior Editor of NOBA Psychology). Although I would step down from my position as Associate Editor of NOBA in May, Robert and I continued to work together for the rest of the year, editing and writing chapters for our forthcoming volume, “Open: The philosophy and practices that are revolutionizing education and science.” With any luck this book will be published by Ubiquity Press (open access, duh) early in 2017. I am so grateful to Robert for his boldness (“we should publish a book!”) and to our contributors for their enthusiastic support and for sharing their hard-earned insights.

January also marked my first campus visit for the Open Textbook Network at the University of Washington, during which I had the honour of shadowing David Ernst and Sarah Cohen. In truth, I was blown away when they asked me to join the OTN team a few months earlier and have since thoroughly enjoyed facilitating faculty workshops for the OTN at Temple University (April), the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (September), George Fox University (also September), and the University of Northern Iowa (October).

February was PACKED and had me thanking the lord that I don’t teach in the Spring. A guest lecture at the University of British Columbia was followed by keynote addresses or invited talks for Campus Stores Canada, the University of Waterloo, McMaster University, Sheridan College, and Ryerson University (phew!), and an unforgettable Hewlett Foundation grantees meeting aboard a riverboat sailing up the Mississippi from New Orleans.

March began in Knoxville, Tennessee, where I gave a talk for the Psychology Department and then went on a road trip with my dear friend and collaborator (in all things, including Kriss Kross karaoke) Erin Hardin through Chattanooga to Atlanta. There we co-presented on our article about skill development in Intro Psych at the Southeastern Teaching of Psychology conference. I flew back from Atlanta just in time to leave again for Edmonton, where I keynoted at the U of Alberta’s Open Education week event, reuniting over dinner with future collaborator Danielle Paradis. I participated in a panel discussion (once again, for Open Education week) at UBC and hosted the generous Paul Stacey at Kwantlen for a talk about all things Creative Commons. March wound up with two more guest lectures (at the Justice Institute of BC) and another talk, this one on the Psychology of Genocide at the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre, to students about to take part in the March of the Living.

In April Surita and I took the boys to India—their first trip and my first in 7 years—which involved family reunions aplenty, city hopping, gully cricket, divine food, serious heat, fun shopping, and delicious mangoes. Back just in time for the start of the summer semester.

May hit the ground running with four classes, two interviews, and a webinar for the Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources. Plenty of meetings that month, including with the Association of BC students about OER advocacy strategy and a delightful lunch with the even more delightful Sirish Rao, who convinced me to give a talk at the upcoming Indian Summer festival.

June sent me to Sarnia, Ontario, where I gave a talk and a workshop about OER at Lambton College. Oh and then I broke my hand. And fingers. At cricket practice, no less. Sadly this was right after I took a wicket (top of off stump, if that means anything to you—AND IT SHOULD). Even more sadly, it ended my cricket season and took me out of the classroom for a few weeks as I couldn’t type or drive or much else normally. Much pain, much rehab, and an increasingly smelly cast (TMI, I know).

July featured a GO-GN webinar and that 5×15 talk at the Indian Summer festival (about privilege, moral justifications, and the psychological foundations of evil). And much more rehab.

August brought a welcome if brief getaway with the family in Whistler, followed by the American Psychological Association conference (my first, in Denver), the Open Textbook Network summer institute (at the University of Minnesota), meetings aplenty with friends from THE Ohio State U, Plenty of Fish, the Commonwealth of Learning, BCcampus, an instructor at Maskwacis Cultural College in Alberta interested in adopting OER, and a group I puled together to began planning and organizing the inaugural Open Education Ontario summit.

September and the start of the new semester brought me back to campus to teach three courses, visit North Carolina and Oregon for the OTN, give a keynote  at Alexander College in Burnaby, and give a talk as part of POF Talks in Vancouver.

October was unforgettable and began en route to Inverness in Scotland (via lovely Amsterdam) to represent KPU at the annual OERu Partners’ meeting. An immensely productive meeting in a positively breathtaking location with my dear friends Brian Lamb and Irwin DeVries. Back (groggy-eyed and caffeine-fueled) in time for the BCcampus Open Education Strategy Session at BCIT in downtown Vancouver, followed a week later by a cherished trip with my older son—his first accompanying me on a work trip. This one was at Oregon State U where we were hosted by the incredible and kind (and incredibly kind) Dianna Fisher. No doubt the first of many such trips for K and I.

October wrapped with a trip to Northern Iowa, another interview, Open Access Week events at Simon Fraser University and KPU, and the Fall ETUG workshop, where I got to see Audrey Watters (for the first time since South Africa)and meet Kin Lane (for the first time).

The penultimate month rivalled the second for busyness, with the Open Education Conference (Richmond, Virginia, four presentations), a keynote address at Mount Royal University in Calgary (bonus dinner with Amanda Coolidge at the Calgary airport!), and my first OpenCon conference (Washington, DC, one panel). Plus all the teaching and wrapping up an editing project for 100 FAQs about OER for the Commonwealth of Learning.

And finally, December marked the end of the semester, sent me into my grading bunker for a couple of weeks, and more importantly allowed me to enjoy the Christmas break with the boys before the travel madness of January arrives.

At KPU, I believe we accomplished a lot during 2016. We surpassed 100 course adoptions for open textbooks, held workshops for our community about Creative Commons licensing and Open Pedagogy, launched and oversaw the first round of a small grants program for faculty wishing to adapt or adopt OER, applied for external grants to support our work, conducted research, raised awareness, and continued taking proactive steps towards a culture of Open. KPU also created a new position—via a 50% faculty teaching release—known as the University Teaching Fellow in Open Studies. I applied, interviewed, and, to my delight and everlasting gratitude, was successful in this competition. This finally gives me what I have always sought—the time to do what I have been doing so far off the side of my desk (and at the cost of a reasonable work-life balance) and gives me great reason for optimism in 2017.

So, to Amanda Coolidge, Mary Burgess, Jesse Stommel, Robin DeRosa, Martin Weller, Brian Lamb, Irwin DeVries, Wayne Mackintosh, David Wiley, David Porter, Kelsey Wiens, Dianna Fisher, Sarah Cohen, David Ernst, Joshua Bolick, Amy Collier, Sean Michael Morris, Audrey Watters, Danielle Paradis, Nicole Allen, Heather Joseph, Paul Stacey, Brady Yano, Cable Green, Clint Lalonde, Tannis Morgan, Alan Levine, Grant Potter, Jamison Miller, Jon Tennant, Beck Pitt, Rob Farrow, Christina Hendricks, Sara Trettin, Karen Bjork, Amy Hofer, Meg Brown-Sica, Steven J. Bell, Beth Bernhardt, Ishan Abeywardena, Robert Biswas-Diener, Peter Lindberg, Merinda McLure, Shawn Gilbertson, Erika Smith, Cari Merkley, Jess Mitchell, Jutta Treviranus, Lena Patterson, Leonora Zefi, Alexa Roggeveen, Joe Kim, TJ Bliss, John Hilton, Serena Henderson, Erin Hardin, Sirish Rao, Tara Robertson, Erin McKiernan, Shirley Lew, Baharak, Rick Overeem, Michelle Brailley, Lin Brander, Debra Flewelling, Trish Rosseel, Delmar Larsen, Scott Marsden, Tom Woodward, Viv Rolfe, David Kernohan (and others whom I have no doubt missed):

You are my family, in open education, in pedagogy, and in social justice. You have enriched my life. And I am grateful.

I can’t wait to continue to change the world with you in 2017.

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