Dr. Catherine Cronin: An Open Voice

“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).

Twitter: @catherinecronin


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


9 thoughts on “Dr. Catherine Cronin: An Open Voice”

  1. Excellent choice Mel. Thank you for the final comments clarifying why we’re lucky to have Catherine as a colleague.

    1. Thank you George! I feel energized to continue in my path of learning how through technology and open education we can work toward eliminating inequalities in education…a cause close to my heart. Catherine’s efforts are truly inspiring in this area!

  2. Hi Mel – thank you very much for researching and writing this profile! I am so grateful that you find resonances in my work and experience with your own, particularly with respect to changing career and focusing on equity in our work in education (and) technology. You remind me, once again, of the power of openness in helping us to find kindred educators and to build networks of support.

    With respect to the focus on equity, you might be interested in exploring Equity Unbound (#unboundeq), an equity-focused, open, connected curriculum focusing on intercultural learning. I am co-developing this open, emergent curriculum with Mia Zamora (@MiaZamoraPHD) and Maha Bali (@Bali_Maha) and there are activities scheduled through December. Each two weeks there is a new theme — the theme for the next two weeks is Equity.

    Many thanks again, Mel. I wish you all the best in your work. Please be in touch at any time – I’d be happy to continue the conversation 🙂

    1. Hi Catherine –

      One of the wonderful challenges in writing a profile on an individual who inspires you and so many others is trying to capture everything that individual has accomplished…and that is what I discovered in this posting! Sorry, this profile is only a snapshot of all you have contributed to the field. I had very little familiarity with open education practices until I was introduced to your work through the MALAT program at Royal Roads University, and for that I am truly grateful. Thank you for your advocacy and all that you are doing in the area of open education, and community education. I very much appreciate the information on Equity Unbound and will look forward to exploring further. A skip in my step this morning and a reminder of why it was worth making the decision to switch my career after 15-years 😉 Thank you!

  3. Hi Mel,
    I really enjoyed reading your introduction of Dr Cronin and the conversation that took part afterwards. I am in the same boat as you, only really learning about open education practices once I began this program. Thank you for the link to her Twitter feed, I will be sure to follow her.

    1. Hi Amanda – Catherine has a great blog with links to her publications and other related resources for open education. https://catherinecronin.net/
      I first learned of OER/OEP through the MALAT 2017 symposium earlier this year. Catherine was one of the presenters and I remember listening to her speak and it felt like a whole new world just opened up! The more I learn about open education, the more I resonate with its efforts to reduce inequalities in education. I am glad we can share in our discovery of OER/OEP as part of our MALAT experience together 🙂

  4. Hi Mel,

    I enjoyed reading your Introduction into Catherine Cronin and her work. Like you, it was through the ‘2018 MALAT symposium’ I was first introduced to the term “openness” and the different comfort levels of openness (macro, meso, micro, and nano) through Catherines’ presentation “Open culture, open education, open questions”. At that point, I wished we had the opportunity to be part of the synchronous sessions during her presentation. However, that experience was one for self evaluation and gave me a deeper understanding into OER/OEP.

    Thanks for the links to her work. Great post.

    1. Hi Phyz – I am glad you enjoyed the post! Learning more about open education is helping me to reflect on my openness as an educator and learner as well. On her blog site, under media, Catherine has posted her talks about open education practices that you might find interesting 🙂

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