Selen and I were the moderators of topic 2, so we had a quick meeting with Erik and David on Monday morning (8:00 am, Brazilian time). The clocks had changed in Europe for the summertime, so we are now 5 hours apart! Attending the webinars, then, became more difficult for me. I watched Maha Bali’s webinar waking up and doing my morning routine (it was 6:00 am in Brazil), so I didn’t feel comfortable to open my camera and when she asked us to go to breakout rooms I just abandon the webinar because I knew that in a small group I would need to open my camera and microphone.

This attitude made me think of some ‘requirements’ for ‘openness’, the topic of these two weeks. If ‘openness’ requires sharing, active participation and engagement, that was exactly what I wasn’t able to do at 6:00 am during the webinar! I felt quite uncomfortable with my own attitude because I behaved like a ‘taker’, not giving anything back. And this is the opposite of what I believe that should happen in educational processes… so I decided not to attend webinars if I couldn’t fully participate. Unfortunately, on the following week, the webinar was not recorded.

During these two weeks of topic 2, PBL group meetings continued to be a source of encouragement and an example of a safe and welcoming online environment where I feel comfortable to share ideas and thoughts. Instigated by Scenario 2, we discussed levels of openness and how (or to what extent) it can be (or already is) dealt with at institutional and personal levels. Then, an issue that I had already mentioned in topic1 sounded again quite relevant: language. English is functioning as a lingua franca for us in this ONL course. It is enabling us to share ideas, to access information and to engage in communication and discussions… because we manage this language at a quite good level. However, for many others (thinking specifically about the Brazilian reality), English is not a lingua franca and it can be a barrier to access and to understand open educational resources and practices. I was glad that it had been mentioned in Bali, Cronin and Jhangiani’s (2020) paper discussing Open Educational Practices from a Social Justice perspective. Using Nancy Fraser’s parity of participation as an attempt to remedy economic, cultural and political levels of injustice, the authors, then, analyse Open Educational Practices and point situations in which the practices tend to be negative or neutral, ameliorative, or transformative. Awareness of these types of practices helps us adjust our practices in order to better fit what we want to (or can) achieve in terms of openness.

All the discussions were ‘materialized’ in a virtual garden (done in miro)! We thank David for introducing us to the Lotus Blossom technique! Thinking about openness from three perspectives – institutional, teaching, and learning – each of these perspectives were surrounded by eight issues: levels (steps), principles/rules, abilities,  challenges/barriers, weaknesses/drawbacks, benefits/strengths, spaces/networks, and references. We centred each of these 8 issues as other blossoms and completed with ideas related to the issue. We left some of the ‘petals’ empty so that colleagues from other PBL groups could complete and participate in building our ‘garden’. Marwa and Selen were the leaders of this garden, finding nice pictures to illustrate each issue in a creative work!

In tune with this topic 2, we have been encouraged to attend to blogging workshops and to start/continue blogging and commenting on other people’s blogs. I didn’t have time to attend the workshops but I’m slowly blogging and reading some people’s blogs. Some are really beautiful! Yet, as I have previously mentioned, since I had struggled with templates, pictures and layouts of blogs, I decided I would keep this one only as a reflective journal/journey of this ONL course with only texts.

Topic 2: Open Learning – Sharing and Openness (28th March – 10th April)