OEB16: can we be safe in online learning?

Image by Matthew Henry via unsplash under a CC Zero license

OEB16: can we be safe in online learning?

About the workshop

‘Towards Openness – how can we be safe in online learning?’ is a collaborative workshop that took place locally at OEB16 with Christian Friedrich and virtually on Twitter with Kate Green.

Here’s the original OEB16 abstract in an Etherpad

This workshop is designed as a collaborative session where you are invited to consider the opportunities and risks of open online teaching and learning catalysed by provocations that revolve around openness, ownership, digital identity, privacy and security.

Workshop structure

1. Provocations
Listen to the provocations and ask yourself, what are your initial thoughts when thinking about openness, ownership and safety in online learning?

2. Campfire Discussion
Discuss thoughts and reflections of the provocations around campfire materials and select an area of focus

3. Audience
Organise and phrase your collective thoughts to communicate with a certain group of stakeholders.

4. Design
Collaboratively design an ‘intervention’ to communicate your message to help us strive towards open and safe futures

5. Feedback
Sharing is caring!


Kate addresses key issues and questions around openness, security and safety in education in this short video. In her Intro, Kate briefly touches upon transparency, accessibility, equity, the individual and collectives, the public, control, freedom, pervasive technologies, intrinsic values, safety and privacy.


Four Provocations around Ownership, Privacy and Safety in Online Learning.

Safety and openness are both seemingly subjective terms and so we thought that it would be appropriate to ask others from around the world with different concerns to prepare short statements on the issues and concerns that they face. The provocateurs are Maha Bali, Robin DeRosa, Nishant Shah and Kate Green.

Campfire Materials

Discuss your thoughts and reflections of the provocations in groups of 4-6 delegates (onsite) or on Twitter. We have prepared multimodal ‘campfire’ materials as ‘ignition starters’ for our conversations, feel free to use them and add to them. Some of them can be found here on this page but you will find many more on the Etherpad (add some yourself if you like). As a next step, we will ask you to consider a certain group of stakeholders in online learning and teaching, so please feel free to make this a focussed discussion with a certain group of people in mind. Also, you might want to chose a specific topic that you want to focus on:

  • learning analytics
  • big data in education
  • open pedagogy  and open content
  • ownership and infrastructure
  • anything related to ownership, safety or privacy in learning goes!

Included here is a brief collection of tweets and gifs, please follow the link to the Etherpad to find more materials and add some yourself if you like.


Organise and phrase your collective thoughts to communicate with a certain group of stakeholders. These stakeholders can be parents, learners, educators, policy-makers, EdTech startups or university leaders and, of course, students and learners. Document your thoughts and statements in the Campfire Etherpad and/or on Twitter using #TowardsOpenness.


With a specific topic or field as well as a certain stakeholder group in mind, design an intervention, an agenda or a set of principles. This intervention can be both a tool used by this group or something that is directed at this group. With this intervention, you could just make a brief but important point or actually consider applicability to your topic or field of choice. A short list of examples (that you are not at all limited to):

  • agendas or constituting documents like a manifesto
  • [digital] artefacts of any type
  • a social media campaign
  • phantastical prototypes (rapid feminist prototyping*)

* Rapid Feminist Prototyping draws from conversations in the Feminist Technology Network (FemTechNet) that suggest that rapid prototyping can accommodate new kinds of voices, experiences, ideas and ambitions that go beyond the utilitarian prototype development cycles.


Present your idea/prototype/intervention to the larger group. Record and share your presentation on Twitter using the Hashtag #TowardsOpenness (1 minute max.). Give your idea / prototype / intervention a name!

Two working groups kindly agreed to be recorded while presenting their results at the end of our session. Here’s the video of the wonderful Inge deWaard presenting the work of herself, Luca Morini, Jeanine Reutemann and Christian Glahn (apologies, I didn’t catch the name of the fifth team member):

Here’s the video of the second working group. I am bad at remembering names, apologies again.


After our workshop, Inge Ignatia de Waard published a very kind blog post on her workshop experience at OEB16, you can find it here.

We’re Virtually Connecting

On Dec 1 at 6pm (CET), we invited delegates at OEB as well as online participants of “Towards Openness” to join a Virtually Connecting session. Think of VirtuallyConnecting as a typical hallway conversation at a conference, which happens on Youtube live to include others as well.

Christian wrote two short blog posts on the idea of Virtually Connecting in general and specifically at OEB16. Maha Bali, who – among many amazing things  – is co-founder of Virtually Connecting, picked them up and published them as a merged guest post on their site.