Alex Enkerli, Ethnographer & Technopedagogue

Hello all!
Nice to meet you! Glad some of my favourite technopedagogues like @robinderosa1, @clhendricksbc, and @stephen are here!

(To me, technopedagogy is about ensuring tech isn’t an obstacle to learning. Been particularly interested in technological appropriation: making technology your own and making it appropriate for your contexts.)

Been very enthusiastic about Open Education for quite a while, even organized an event with @hugh and other likeminded people (@zoe was there, IIRC). Been exploring different ways to make OERs work, including through a stint as a technopedagogical advisor for Quebec’s college network.

Much of my interest in OER is about helping others share and create material they find useful. Part of what’s missing from most publishing models is the community-building aspect of working with some of the same items. My dream is to help people collaborate across geographical, disciplinary, and even linguistic boundaries through some shared sources.

Also been interested in some technical aspects of OER classification, production, and integration. Things like metadata using Semantic Web principles and specifications such as MLR and LOM. Or embedding OERs in the platforms we use to interact with other learners and teachers (from a mainstream LMS to a WordPress-based post-LMS). Even some connections with Learning Analytics via xAPI and/or Caliper. On that front, really glad Pressbooks has H5P on its roadmap. Have yet to use it in production but it sure affords intriguing possibilities. Finally, got really enthusiastic about using small devices (say, Raspberry Pi computers or even travel routers like the Hootoo Tripmate line) to host OERs. Had fun playing with Pressbooks on a Raspberry Pi Zero. Part of the idea here is that such a device can be connected without requiring Internet access. If learners are plugged into Pressbooks to work on some shared material, they’re not likely to get as much distraction from the ’Net. (Most of my other #RasPi projects have to do with musicking.)

But all this is about “doing stuff with Open Educational Resources”, not about building Open Textbooks.

Been planning a number of projects for Open Textbooks (say, a handbook for ethnographic disciplines) but haven’t involved myself on the production side, yet. Might not even get there, just yet. Sorry!

Part of it is about managing my commitments. My actions tend to be most productive when they’re very short-term and quite modest. So, doing a couple of recordings for Librivox was satisfying. So was making my courses into podcasts. Producing OERs does also make sense in this context. Creating a textbook requires a much deeper and longer involvement.

Not to mention that textbooks are far from my favourite approach to learning. Did end up using several, in introductory anthropology or introductory sociology. But would rather build new kinds of things with learners. Which is why @robinderosa1’s (and now @trobbins1981’s) project was so striking, to me.

Still not exactly sure what my actions will be in this community. It can depend on a number of factors, especially in terms of my job situation. Currently working as a Learning Pathways Strategist for the Global Cybersecurity Resources out of Carleton University. We do have a significant interest in OER, but my role is less about the content than about the overall approach, process, and principles.

Taking on a project as part of one of my courses might work well. But, again, it requires planning. Been teaching at diverse institutions on a part-time basis, rarely getting the opportunity to prepare a significant project. Currently teaching applied anthropology at University of Ottawa. We’ve used a large variety of articles and chapters from books available in university databases (particularly the Sage Research Methods collection). Learners have a choice over a large number of these and they can also use other resources. This way, people have unique things to share and they become responsible for those resources. Doesn’t always work and it’s a bit destabilizing. But when it does work, it produces very interesting results. (Been doing similar things for a few years at both Concordia University and uO.)

Again, it’s a bit hard to tell what my involvement in this community will be. Would like to contribute and might jump onto somebody else’s project. Or find other ways to move things forward.

In the meantime, do feel free to connect in any way you want about any Open Education topic you find interesting!


– Alex

Hi @alex,

Thanks for popping in! I think the easiest way to get involved is to find a project in need of something (proofreading / reviewing), so do just small contributions to other project?

Other than that, come visit us sometime when you are in Montreal?


@hugh Will do!

Was mostly trying to set expectations for myself. Can imagine myself doing a bit of proofreading here and there, without overcommitting. As for dropping by during my next trip to Montreal, it’s a great idea. Been enumerating reasons to spend a bit of time in my hometown and that’s a good one. Might even find a proper “excuse”, given my dayjob.

Funnily enough, your reply comes as a prompt at just the right time.

“The Universe” (or, at least, Twitter) is telling me that @swagstaff should be on my radar. First, noticed his tweet about OER policy at UBC and tweeted an annotation to that document (mentioning Steel) to Mike Collins from Penn State, who works on this #NGDLE project (New Generation Digital Learning Environment). Then received a tweet from Nate Angell from Hypothesis letting me know about a piece by Steel about Pressbooks and H5P. Which made me come here to check on the Twitter username to use for Rebus.

Small, small world.

Coming back to this community, years later, in a new/old role. So, yes, I feel it’s relevant to “revive this topic”.

I’m back to being a technopedagogical for Quebec’s college network with a special emphasis on OER. The position is pretty much the one I had in 2014–16 albeit in a new context.

And quite a bit has changed in the intervening years, especially in terms of provincial governments in Quebec and Ontario. For instance, eCampus Ontario has really expanded its OER actions in the past few years and Quebec’s own « campus virtuel en enseignement supérieur » (i.e. eCampus Québec) is getting quite serious about OER. Also, Ontario’s push on microcredentials might have an impact on the “granularity” of OERs and Quebec’s Digital Action Plan in education has several measures related to OERs.

Given links to Montreal from @Hugh and @Zoe, I’m somewhat surprised not to find much community activity with mentions of either Quebec in general or Montreal specifically. I’m hoping this can change.

While I don’t yet have a call to make and I won’t use hashtags for now, I’m hoping to find opportunities in the future to collaborate with community members on meaningful projects.

Hi Alex, welcome back! :slight_smile:

That’s fantastic! I really like your definition of technopedagogy aka “ensuring tech isn’t an obstacle to learning.” I’m eager to see what comes out of your ‘new’ role.

It’s been good to see how efforts in Quebec and Ontario have come along these past few years, and how they have been able to influence one another. I’ll have to take a closer look at the Quebec Digital Action Plan, since what you’ve said seems promising!

Our conversations with librarians and educators in Quebec have take place off the forum, especially in previous times where face-to-face interaction was more the norm! But you’re right — that should change, and we’d love to hear more from you, and from our other community members based in Montreal or Quebec, and drive more local community-based activity. @hugh mentioned that you both may have time to chat soon, which sounds like a good start!

Wonderful! We don’t have a “handbook for ethnographic disciplines” project underway (yet), but hopefully there are other projects or discussions that pique your interest. :slight_smile: I look forward to learning from and collaborating with you.

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Thanks, Apurva!

As people are quick to point out: “don’t we want tech to be an improvement?”. Which is usually a good opportunity to get them to think about latent solutionism. :wink:

The action plan itself is part of a much broader shift, most of which is happening behind the scenes. As is often the case with bureaucracy, part of the work is about writing the right email to the right person at the right time. Things are moving forward.

See? Same thing as with government! :wink:

Yes, I’ll be chatting with @hugh soon.

Quite so! These days, I’m not really working as a Subject Matter Expert, unless it’s about prototyping something. I’m more involved with the groundwork around Open Textbooks and OERs in general, from finding and curating to referencing, using, prototyping, co-design, and showcasing.

In this respect, I was quite pleased to hear about Concordia’s own PB-enhanced OER projects, funded through the library. Not only is ConU a nice place to teach with a longstanding commitment to Open Culture, but there´s quite a bit of potential for collaboration with other institutions, I’m sure.

Thanks for the reply, @apurva!


I hope the momentum keeps up, even if it is slow.

That’s fantastic! Those are the bits and pieces that I’m always excited about (given my background in publishing). Feel free to use this space as a sounding board with the community.

Certainly! The team pioneering a lot of open work at Concordia is really great, and I’m excited to see them setting the path for other universities in the city/provide to hopefully follow suit. On that note, I’ll also note that we’ve had the wonderful opportunity to work with a group of librarians, faculty and graduate students at Concordia University on the Technology in Language Teaching project! The team was part of our inaugural Textbook Success Program cohort. :smiley: