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Open and Online Education

January 10, 2021

I really appreciate Bryan Behrenhausen. Bryan is a community architect in the Open Source Program Office at Red Hat. I’ve known Bryan since 2014 when he attended a Professors’ Open Source Software Experience workshop. I remember Bryan providing workshop participants with helpful understanding that adeptly bridged the domains of open source and academia. Most recently, Bryan has been involved in producing a series of books for the Open Organization. Bryan is my “go to person” when I have questions about openness and how that translates to a variety of environments, including the classroom. He and I have had many conversations about ways to integrate open principles into my classes and I find his insights invaluable in understanding the application of openness.

I’ve been reading Bryan’s most recent effort is called Human at a Distance – An Open Organization Guide to Distributed Teamwork. I’ve been finding some helpful ideas for organizing my classes. For instance, Sim Zach’s chapter on Building cohesive remote teams has great guidance for both instructors and students when interacting remotely. In particular, I liked the advice to “Assume good intent; it’s possible you aren’t reading the message in the same “tone” it was intended” and “Try not to use sarcasm, cynicism, or other communication styles that require the kind of nuance that can’t be easily understood through some channels”. And I really like the idea of asking team members to share something they appreciate about the team. That could go far in creating community in the classroom. Chad Sansing’s chapter titled Building a movement from home is a great guide for managing online class sessions. I’m going to look into using more emojis as a way to allow students to communicate non-verbally.

This book is an easy and interesting read and I encourage folks to take a look. Great work Bryan and company!

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