Downes / Wiley Conversation Reaction

Stephen links to some responses to the day-long pre-conference “event” we held in Vancouver. I was always befuddled that people wanted to come sit in on the conversation, but 50 or so did. Many more apparently watched the stream from a distance.

David Porter seems writes, with surprise and disappointment:

Watched the screencast this morning of the Wiley Downes Dialogue from OpenEd09. Couldn’t help thinking phase change when the discussion crisscrossed terrain that has been traveled many times before at various conferences, forums and meetings since about 2000. “It’s deja vu all over again,” as Yogi Berra said when describing repeated back-to-back home runs by Mantle and Maris in the early 60s. But it was more like veja du for me – I know I’ve been a party to these conversations countless times before. The discussions/arguments continue to hover around definitions, clarifications of terms, and wishful thinking about an education system that is what it is….

Feels like the theory, innovation and advocacy phase of the open educational resource (OER) movement is fast approaching its “best before date.”

I’m not sure what he was expecting. Stephen and I have been disagreeing – exclusively in writing – about things for almost a decade, and this conversation was billed as nothing more than “let’s get together in a room where we can actually talk to each other in real-time and see how much of this we really disagree about and how much of it is failure to communicate.” So of course we rehashed our old arguments. Rehashing old arguments face-to-face was the only plan for the day from the very outset. Why is anyone surprised we didn’t break lots of new ground in our conversation?

(And it turns out that yes, we apparently do communicate fairly effectively in writing and yes, we really do disagree about wide range of things.)

3 thoughts on “Downes / Wiley Conversation Reaction”

  1. Not surprise actually, more like disappointment. In hindsight, I only watched the morning portion.



  2. I was there for the afternoon. Still suffering a little from jet lag, but I came and stayed voluntarily, and learned a lot, since I did come quite a long way back. This was a warm up, an icebreaker, a nice way in to ease in to some of the issues. In terms of a higher quality learning experience for the observers, some small group chat may have helped (but we have twitter) (which leads to a broader audience not in the room as well) – maybe some references on the website to read up on in advance (but hey, that’s what Google is for).

    Just a pity the wifi was flaky. I think both Dave and Stephen may have benefited a lot from the chat – it’s done now, and we can move on. One real question is: did it help the conference move it’s thinking on? Not much, I’d say, but that’s not S&D’s fault. The questions are hard questions.

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