Virginia is for Open: OpenEd 2016 in RVA

Last year, Richmond, Virginia was the host city for the 2015 UCI Road World Championships, a weeklong, international bicycle race second in importance only to the better-known Tour de France. It was a great event, with thousands of visitors from all over the globe crowding along the course route to watch the world’s top cyclists zip by. A few months later, Travel and Leisure Magazine named Richmond as one of its top global destinations for 2016, alongside Rio de Janerio, Brazil,  Frankfurt, Germany, and, well, Siberia (not totally sold on that one). Richmond was also named by National Geographic as a top destination for food travel, which is a thing I guess, listing Heritage, Rappahannock, and The Roosevelt among Richmond’s enviable number of award-winning restaurants and local breweries like Strangeways Brewing, Ardent Craft Ales, Stone Brewing, and Hardywood Park Craft Brewing. Let’s not forget that Richmond is also a mecca for lovers of doughnuts, GWAR, GWAR + food + beer, and contemporary art. As a long-time RVA resident and overall fanboy, I could go on.

So I think I will. Richmond can now add another to its growing list of accolades: it will be the host city of the 13th Annual Open Education Conference. Lumen Learning, Inc. the conference sponsor, has partnered with Virginia Commonwealth University to host OpenEd in Richmond on November 2-4, 2016. The conference typically attracts 500+ open educators, open education organizations, and educational sponsors from across the globe. The VCCS, along with OpenVA, will help VCU organize the event.

I am confident that the reason Virginia was selected to host this year’s conference is because of the leading OER work of Virginia’s community colleges, as well as the growing interest in OER among Virginia’s four-year institutions. There are developing OER projects, at least ones I know of, at William & Mary, Mary Washington, Virginia Tech, and Virginia Commonwealth University, and SCHEV recently formalized the ad hoc OpenVA group into the Open VA Advisory Committee, made up of representatives from Virginia’s public two- and four-year institutions.

Virginia and its buzzy capitol city have been fertile ground for so many things over the past few hundred years: democracy, of course, and US presidents; more recently great food, good music, and strong beer. Now it’s time to confirm Virginia as the cradle of what is surely to become a transformative open education movement, as well. Deets below.


13th Annual Open Education Conference
Nov. 2-4, 2016
Virginia Commonwealth University
Richmond, VA

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