“Openness is not a one-time decision and it is not universally experienced; it is always complex, personal, contextual, and continually negotiated” (Cronin, 2017, p. 18).
Dr. Catherine Cronin is an open educator, open researcher on open educational practices (OEP), digital identity and digital well-being, and an educational developer (Cronin, n.d.). She began her career as a Systems Engineer in the 1980’s, eventually changing paths to pursue a master’s degree in Women’s Studies completing her dissertation in gender and technology (Cronin, 2018; Hayman, 2017). She describes her decision to switch careers, in part because of her experience working in the masculine culture of engineering (Cronin, 2018; Hayman, 2017). This decision not only exposed her to women’s rights, philosophical approaches to gender, and sociology of education, but it also gave her a voice to better understand and articulate her own experiences as a female engineer (Cronin, 2018). Since changing her career, Catherine has achieved over 25 years of teaching, conducting research and working in higher education, and most recently completed her PhD in Open Education Practices (OEP) in Higher Education (Cronin, n.d.).
I chose to write about Catherine because she is a “ground-breaker in open educational practices and research” (Merkley, 2018), and an advocate for open education. Her work and research are significant to the field of educational technology exceeding what is listed here: peer-reviewed publications; multiple keynote presentations; advisory board member for the Open Education Working Group; open education collaborative projects in Ireland and globally; frequent blog postings and tweets (Cronin, n.d.). She serves as a role model for women in education, technology and the sciences, and provides inspiration for career changers like me. However, what stands out the most is Catherine’s commitment to OEP as an effort to reduce inequalities and enhance opportunities for everyone (Hayman, 2017).
Cronin, C. (2017). Open education, open questions. EDUCAUSE Review, 23 October. Retrieved from https://er.educause.edu/articles/2017/10/open-education-open-questions
Cronin, C. (n.d.). About – professional bio [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://catherinecronin.net/
Cronin, C. (2018, August 19). Reflecting before #ALTC: personal political [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://catherinecronin.net/conferences/reflecting-before-altc/
Hayman, J. (2017, July 25). 101 openstories [Video file]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/RZ8ve0oS5GE
Merkley, K. (2018, April 13). Uncommon women 2018. Retrieved from http://uncommonwomen.org/uncommon-women-2018