Today we were asked to decide if we were newbies in the open community or already connected. That distinction is difficult for me. While I feel like I am still learning a lot, most would likely consider me experienced. I suppose I will choose the path of the involved.

Starting a Conversation

First, I have a lot in common with “newbies.” I am still learning. Over the past year many questions have been raised about the best way to be open. It is difficult to find resources in my discipline because there are not enough out there … yet. I see that as an opportunity to be on the cutting edge of the open movement. After Open Day at Cambrian this past week we have some plans brewing to develop something great.

Want to talk? Reach out. If you happen to be in nursing please reach out if you are interested in collaborating on something and we can chat. If you are not in nursing and want to chat anyway I would love to broaden my network – it is one of my strategic goals for the coming year!

Experiences in the Open


My awareness of the terminology in the open community began last August when I was sent to the first delivery of the Extend program from eCampusOnratio. However, I would argue that I have been an open educator all my life – I just didn’t know it. For today I will begin my story in the Summer of 2017.

I returned from my maternity leave in May of 2017 feeling desperate to find meaningful professional development and a purpose to my career. I was searching for an area to focus my research, education, and practice on in preparation for one day committing to a PhD program in education. My boss was aware of the pressure I felt to expand my practice and asked me if I wanted to go to some conference-like thing about technology in Toronto. Of course, I said yes.  Even though I had no idea what I was going to learn about I knew that I loved learning, innovation, and technology. That was one of the best decisions in my career to date.


At the Extend institute, we learned many things, including the potential of having our own domain from Alan Levine himself and the concept of open education. I was immediately drawn to it and ran with it. Immediately I started planning and building a domain of my own. In the fall I explored open education more through an introductory Open Education MOOC offered by David Wiley and George Simmens.


Also, I adopted and reviewed Research Methods in Psychology – 2nd Canadian Edition. My students responded to the book by saying “free is good.”  This resource proved superior to the textbook they purchased for previous courses for describing quantitative research. My peers, however, do not like that it is not written by a nurse. Personally, I found many of the examples relevant to nursing. Someday I may be able to find the time to adapt it for nursing.


During that same term, the opportunity to apply to become an open education fellow with eCampusOntario presented itself. Thankfully, I was lucky enough to be chosen as one of six OE Fellows. They have definitely empowered me to improve access to education for students. They have sent me to conferences that I would never have had the opportunity to go to without their support. We have been on a  Fellows Retreat, to OE Global in Delft, CNIE in Sudbury and have plans for webinars and more this coming year. I am also doing research and advocacy on campus with their support.

This past year I presented at several external conferences. In addition, I was able to expose myself to several professional development opportunities through our Hub at Cambrian that helped to expand my thinking about education (both open and not). It has been a very fufilling year. Exploring open education has given me the career satisfaction I was aching for a year ago.


Some of these experiences have been openly reflected on in this blog. While I do not have time to always blog about my experiences, it is helpful to process learning in writing in a blog. Before August I was not a blogger so everything you see on this website was inspired by my interaction with eCampusOntario and the open community. Sometimes I have no idea if anyone is reading the blog, but that is fine. I derive value from processing my learning and sharing it with whoever wants to read it.


Over the past year, I have expanded my network tremendously by reaching out and engaging with the community. Building these connections has been mutually beneficial. For example, I was able to virtually present as the BC Festival of Learning with two professionals I have never met in person. It was a wonderful experience.


I have been critically questioning my practice as an educator to foster improvement as an educator. The experiences I have engaged in over the past few months as a fellow has encouraged me to be more innovative. I am excited about my plans for BSN4416. These plans involve openness to a whole new level of open practice.


My dedication and experiences have led me to a new position this fall as the Innovation Champion at Cambrian. Part of my pitch for this position was exploring open education in more depth. I jumped in with both feet last year and am excited to continue my path in the open education world. Being part of this community is empowering, welcoming, and amazing. It is something I will never regret embracing.


Laura Killam is an experienced nursing educator from Northern Ontario with a keen interest in improving student learning through innovation. For more information please visit


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