Network Visualization

Click to view the interactive network in Kumu


We are born with one connection, physically, to a brand new world. Once that connection is severed we begin the uncertain task of building and navigating a world of social connections. For some this can be a rapid and exciting process, for others a more gradual and cautious process. I tend to relate to the latter of these distinctions. Building this network gave me the opportunity to see how my connections are made up of “a number of organizational structures, such as groups, networks, and communities” (Veletsianos, 2016, p. 2), and that each of these are generally small and intimate connections. My map is largely comprised of my family, friends, work and open source connections. University is the newest branch, and I feel quite fortunate to add this amazing cohort to my connections.

Social media only makes up a small portion of my map, as I’m always conscious of the tradeoffs of our time and information using online platforms, and I strongly believe in the value of human connections in our increasingly digital world. However, Dron and Andreson (2014) argue that “beyond what is practical or possible in conventional human interaction, cyberspace supports dynamic collective knowledge generation” (p. 7). With this in mind, as I look at goals for my online presence in the future, it may be worth reassessing this branch of my network and which ways I’d like to see it grow.

In this network, I’ve represented individual people as well as categories of people in green, which make up the leaf-nodes of the tree. The branch nodes make up the organizations or concepts that tie these connections together. Be sure to click the button to see the full interactive view.


Dron, J, & Andreson, T. (2014). Teaching Crowds. (pp. 35 -70; 93 – 235). Athabasca University Press.

Veletsianos, G. (2016). Digital learning environments. In N. Rushby & D. Surry (Eds), Handbook of Learning Technologies (pp. 242-260). UK: John Wiley & Sons.

Considerations for a Digital Identity


I’ve had the amazing opportunity to build open source software while working alongside teachers and administrators, and it has been transformational, both for the school and for myself. Collaborating on a daily basis to build meaningful tools, and having the freedom to share them with a global audience, has brought a whole new level of purpose to my job. I’ve discovered there’s incredible power in the intersection of open technology and open pedagogy, and it has become a personal mission to get this message out there. Many educators don’t know what open source is, or what value it can bring to education. This is my motivation to build a larger digital presence: to share what open source is, what opportunities it can create for education, and to build a network of educators and developers who collaborate, share ideas, and advocate for open source in education.

Developing this presence will require a shift in mindset. On a personal level, I haven’t been interested in using social media, and although I interact frequently with technology, I don’t share my personal voice through it. I’m content with this choice for my private life, however I recognize the need to reconsider this mindset with the aim to network professionally and get my open source message out there. In doing so, it’s important to me to cultivate a digital presence with an academic and professional tone, and maintain the distinction between my personal and professional identity.

With the goal of advocating for open source in mind, and the considerations for a professional approach, I aim to thoughtfully focus my efforts to develop a digital presence in three areas: Twitter, my MALAT blog, and my personal website.


  • Search for and follow educators, developers and researchers involved in open source in education.
  • Create a twitter list of these accounts and add it to TweetDeck to help filter their posts from the background noise of my twitter feed.
  • Discover which hashtags are used by open source in education, including related areas, and follow them.
  • Share open source articles and blog posts I find through twitter to signal boost their message.


  • Embrace the opportunity to become a resident and develop my academic voice . A blog can be “as much an expression of identity as it is a discussion of particular ideas” (White & LeCornu, 2011).
  • Through my assignments, focus on topics that can further my understanding of the research surrounding both open source and digital tools for learning.
  • Through my research topics, begin curating a list of articles which support the topics of open source, collaboration in education technology, and school-led software development.
  • Explore my work with Gibbon and open source through the lens of academic research and theoretical frameworks. Discover who is involved in researching this area.

Personal Website

  • After the culmination of the MALAT program, I aim to curate and merge posts from my blog into my personal website.
  • Curate resources that help explain what open source is.



White, D. S., & LeCornu, A. (2011). Visitors and residents: A new typology for online engagement. First Monday, 16(9).


Photo by Christian Wiediger on Unsplash

Visitor-Resident Map of Digital Technology Use

This conceptual map represents my digital technology use, based on White and LeCornu’s (2011) visitor-resident typology. Along with the main axis of visitor-resident and personal-institutional, I’ve represented the relative importance of a technology through its size, as well as indicated open source technologies with a dotted outline.

I found that some items were easy to place, particularly if they were closer to the visitor side of the continuum, because they represented discreet tools. Further to the resident side, the items became more interconnected with my life and online identity, so it was harder to decide their size and placement. Interestingly, this visualization has highlighted that since becoming an open source maintainer, the digital technologies I am a resident of now span both my institutional and personal life, which is something I should be mindful of.

Building this conceptual map gave me an opportunity to reflect on what it would have looked like in the past, and ponder what it might look like in the future. A decade ago my map would have been unrecognizable as the same person: I was highly active in a virtual world, as both a business person and a community leader, so the resident side of the map would have encompassed the majority of my technology use. Many years and life-decisions later, the focus of my map has shifted towards open source, and I’ve also become more selective of the technologies that make up my online identity. I wonder what my map would look like a decade from now?


White, D. S., & LeCornu, A. (2011). Visitors and residents: A new typology for online engagement. First Monday, 16(9).

Redefining Open: From Open Source to Open Education

Beginning the MALAT program with a virtual symposium has been a thought-provoking opportunity to step beyond my scope of understanding and learn about the wider open educational space. As an open source developer, openness and collaboration have had a profound impact on my personal and professional life. Looking beyond my experiences, I can see that open source is just one of the many facets of openness. For example, Cormier (2017) highlighted three broad aspects of open: Open to, looking at increased access to content; open by, looking at openness as a gift from creators; and open for, looking at how openness can positively affect learners. Reflecting on my definition of open alongside each new definition helped illustrate that “openness is a continuously negotiated space” (Childs, 2019, 20:46). Throughout the virtual symposium, it was necessary to synthesize the ideas presented and redefine my understanding of open.

In seeking to expand my definition of openness, it was important to understand how wide the concept of open is. In her slide “Complexity = Multiple Definitions of Open”, Childs (2019) highlighted several aspects of open, from open scholarship and access to open policy. This overview provided a great perspective of how my current open source work fits into a much larger view of openness across different sectors. Cormier (2017) described the complexity and growth of open as a rhizome, “capable of spreading on it’s own, bounded only by the limits of it’s habitat.” With this wide-angle view, of both the scope and complexity of open, I could begin to form an idea of openness as a whole concept.

Focusing my definition of openness towards the education space, Lalonde (2018) highlights three pillars of open education: Open Educational Resources (OER), Open Pedagogy, and Open Technology. I realized that entering into the symposium my definition of open had been constrained to the pillar of open technology. As a software developer, it was inspiring to learn about the ideas surrounding these two other pillars, and look for ways that open technology can support them. Watching the presentations, I found myself wondering: “How could open source help make OER materials more reusable,” and “how can open technology enable educators to try new pedagogies and share them?” I believe each of these pillars can work to support each other:

“Open education is not limited to just open educational resources. It also draws upon open technologies that facilitate collaborative, flexible learning and the open sharing of teaching practices that empower educators to benefit from the best ideas of their colleagues.” (The Cape Town Open Education Declaration, 2007, para. 4)

In selecting presentations to attend, I looked for topics that could deepen my understanding of openness. Among these, I was intrigued by Cronin’s (2018) ideas surrounding the risks of adopting open educational practices. She introduces these ideas with a quote: “It has never been more risky to operate in the open. It has never been more vital to operate in the open” (Weller, 2016). It gave me pause to consider the risks surrounding my own work. The idea of an open source school information system can make many administrators and educators uneasy, based on the perception of security, support, and longevity of open source (Rooij, 2007). By advocating for an open source solution and putting this idea into practice, my school has helped model to other schools that this level of open technology is possible. Cronin expressed that practicing openness is not without tension; it’s complex, personal, contextual, and continuously negotiated. “Our work as educators is to try and negotiate that tension, not just for ourselves but for our students and the institutions that we work in” (Cronin, 2018, 05:53). It was encouraging to see that the MALAT program has also been built on this principle of not only teaching openness but modelling it through the design of the program itself (Childs, 2018, 16:02). I think by modelling openness, and by understanding the tensions and risks involved, it’s possible to develop greater empathy for those who are new to the idea of open. With this in mind, I’m keen to look for more opportunities to share openness within my network of peers and educators.

Through the course of the virtual symposium, I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to continuously redefine my understanding of openness: starting with a narrow scope focused on open technology, and expanding it to a broader view of open education as a whole. I began the MALAT program as an advocate of open source, and I hope to leave as an advocate of all things open.


Childs, E. (2019). Openness and networked learning in a MA degree [Video file]. Retrieved from

Cormier, D. (2017). Intentional messiness of online communities [Video file]. Retrieved from

Cronin, C. (2017). Open culture, open education, open questions [Video file]. Retrieved from

Lalonde, C. (2018). Sharing and CC licensing [Video file]. Retrieved from

Rooij, S. W. van. (2007). Perceptions of Open Source Versus Commercial Software. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 39(4), 433–453.

The Cape Town Open Education Declaration (2007). Retrieved July 15, 2019, from

Weller, M. (2016, December 13), The paradoxes of open scholarship [Blog post and Webinar]. Retrieved from

Photo by James Sutton on Unsplash