This session reflects on how care is practiced in the diverse hybrid learning community Virtually Connecting (VC). Work in VC is an open educational practice that has been building community in online and physical spaces since 2015. Care for those who are typically and systematically most distant from fairness and equity in academia is at the core of VC’s praxis of care: Intentionally Equitable Hospitality (IEH), outlined in Bali, et al, 2019. In designing and facilitating VC’s processes, we highlight that equitable participation on participants’ own terms is an important way of ensuring they have agency in how to redress injustices that directly affect them. This session will reflect on demonstrations of IEH in VC including past sessions and from the ALT Online Winter Virtual Conference presentation. We will also begin to reflect on the potential for VC to be seen as a positive force in reimagining conference possibilities to better care for the planet.
VC creates a kind of informal conference hallway conversation that is novel and unique in that it allows for a type of interaction that is not normally possible in academic conferences. This is because VC is inclusive of, indeed prioritizes, those who cannot attend. This kind of care for remote participants is indicative of the relational care put forth by Noddings (2005). While it is useful when conference organizers stream sessions and keynotes, the opportunities for social learning and networking are difficult through those media. To consider the relational care that Noddings speaks of for remote participants requires special attention to the practice of care that is mediated at a distance. In 2019, the VC Co-Directors described the explicit manifestations and values behind such a practice of care and called it Intentionally Equitable Hospitality (Bali et al, 2019). Here, we argue that IEH it is not difficult from the perspective of technicalities as much as it from the perspective of care. Power dynamics, cultural differences, and intersections of marginality abound, making this kind of care especially tricky. In The Praxis of Virtually Connecting Autumm Caines wrote “it is not enough for those of us with privilege to just show up — we have to use our privilege to create the spaces for those lesser heard voices. Sometimes that means listening and empathizing before speaking. Sometimes that means providing someone else with the means to have their voice heard.”
In her OER19 keynote, Kate Bowles gave a shout out to VC while reflecting on the impacts of climate change from air travel in conference going. Pointing out that the #flyingless movement was largely North American and that as an Australian there were not many other options for conference going.Although fighting climate change was not the primary reason for VC’s inception, it is a concern for many in the movement that fits into a broader vision of care that the movement’s ethos embodies. Here, we will begin to reflect and question how VC through their praxis of care in IEH may relate to climate change.
Bali, M., Caines, A., Hogue, R. J., DeWaard, H. J., & Friedrich, C. (2019). Intentionally Equitable Hospitality in Hybrid Video Dialogue: The Context of Virtually Connecting. [online] eLearning Mag. Available at: https://elearnmag.acm.org/archive.cfm?aid=3331173 [Accessed 2/12/19]
Bowles, K. (2019). Keynote – Kate Bowles – A Quilt of Stars: time, work, and open pedagogy. [online] OER19 Recentering Open. Available at: https://oer19.oerconf.org/sessions/welcome-from-the-co-chairs-and-keynote-by-kate-bowles/ [Accessed 3/12/19]
Caines, A. (2016). The Praxis of Virtually Connecting. [online] Digital Pedagogy Lab. Available at: https://www.digitalpedagogylab.com/praxis-virtually-connecting/ [Accessed 3/12/19]
Noddings, N. (2005). ‘Caring in education’, the encyclopedia of informal education. http://infed.org/mobi/caring-in-education. [Accessed 1/20/20]
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