Reflecting on GO-GN

Unfolding as we go along – what a great way to describe a PhD experience, and my involvement in the Global Open Graduate Network (GO-GN).

I admit to being fascinated by magical, mathematical, moving constructions. I am mesmerized by seemingly simple creations that move, transform, and reveal new facets and colours, watching things fold, unfold, and re-fold. Here are examples of what I mean – hexaflexagons and Yashimoto cubes.

Video by Vi Hart making a hexaflexagon
Video by Karagamii demonstrating a Yashimoto cube

There are many more videos created by Vi Hart [] that have kept me entertained over the years. The series of Yashimoto cube creations by Karagamii [] contain many more origami style creations. After a recent visit to the M. C. Escher museum in The Hague, this fascination with tesselations and intersections between art and mathematics has been renewed.

I’m combining this artful mathematical obsession with a reflection for an upcoming panel sessions at the Congress Conference where I will share some thoughts on my participation and connections within the Global Open Graduate Network – GO-GN. This also links to my PhD research since I am using a navigational gyroscope to render my findings into some form for understanding (but those are for other sessions and subsequent posts that I’m preparing).

I’ve been participating in GO-GN events and activities since before I began my PhD, starting in 2018 [See #OEGlobal18 Reflections for some early thinking]. The invitation is open [see Members Pack] and the community is welcoming [see Members]. Not only is there support for the early stages of the PhD process, but post-dissertation opportunities to continue researching and connecting [see GO-GN Fellowships]. But it’s the annual get-togethers and many invitational and connective events that are the glue that keeps this open, collaborative, and networking group working and researching together.

Here a few of the exciting opportunities where I engage with GO-GN research in the open.

  1. I have taken advantage of the regular calls for participation. Along with others in the GO-GN network there have been many projects [see Project Outputs]. From this listing, I notice my contributions to a few of the research review documents.
  2. I reflect on a critical decision to contribution to the Conceptual Frameworks Guide (2021) but since this opportunity was before I had solidified my thinking about which frameworks I would be using in my research, I deferred a submission as I needed more time to read, consider, and consolidate. It was interesting to see the many frameworks revealed in this document – ones that I have experienced or used. Of particular interest was the Value Creation Framework (Wenger, Trayner & de Laat, 2011) since that was the foundation for the portfolio of learning completed as a culminating project for my Masters of Ed Tech from UBC, as seen in this graphic rendering of the MET process and products [see My Renovations for more about the MET courses and discoveries].
  3. I’ve participated in several webinar sessions, with one of memorable session where Caroline Kuhn shared her research work [Tensions concerning personal open designs and institutional closed artefacts in a HE Institution]. Since I was early into my PhD journey, what struck me from this webinar was the depth of thinking and the threads of connection between theory, research, and practical application evident in the work Caroline Kuhn was conducting. Many other GO-GNers have catalyzed directions and investigations for research into, with, and about open education, as seen in the webinar sessions available on the GO-GN YouTube channel.
  4. I participated in Verena Roberts’ fellowship work on the Into the Open podcast series, but have particularly enjoyed viewing the short video clips provided by GO-GN members about their research projects.
  5. I joined into one project with WikiEducation to learn more about ‘doing’ wiki work. This resulted in a brand new Wikipedia page, along with many edits to a few other pages, relating to open eduction, particularly in Canadian contexts [see Wiki Wondering]. It has also resulted in a new research project, having just received Research Ethics Board approval – titled Disputatio in the Digital Agora.

This brings me to the need for reflection – the upcoming panel discussion about GO-GN as it relates to my PhD. The session description is as follows:

GO-GN, the Global OER Graduate Network, brings together a core group of current doctoral researchers working on open education topics, along with the GO-GN team at the Open University, alumni, other researchers and fellow travellers through open space. And though we travel without uniforms or transporters, like members of Starfleet GO-GNers do go boldly, attempting to push the boundaries of knowledge in the field. Recognising the multiple senses in which education can be open, we approach the concept of openness from various angles and use a range of methods.
In this panel discussion members of the network will reflect upon the what, why and how of their doctoral journeys, and invite session participants into our conversation.

OTESSA conference program schedule

Pushing boundaries? Going boldly? Approaching openness from angles and senses? Hmmm! Let me think!


The flipping images of the hexaflexagon resembles my early research work, but thanks to the steady hands of others in the GO-GN network, I didn’t get lost in the folds. As described in the video by Vi Hart, this research is a form of ‘flexigation’, sometimes revealing unusual results.

I’m researching media and digital literacies within the open educational practices of teacher educators in Canadian faculties of education. This intersection of three distinct fields of study is both complicated and complex. But, because the topic focuses on media and digital literacies, it was essential for me to model these in my doctoral work – the processes, productions, and presentations.

yellow, green and blue arrows in circular formation, in column formation with words inside each circle saying media and digital literacies, open education, and teacher education


The Yashimoto cube is representative of the immersive remixing of information from my research, as media in all it’s potential forms and formats. The cube’s many slides, flips, turns, and faces, particularly the ‘stellated rhombic dodecahedron’ shared in the video above, is indicative of the multiplicity of media created and rendered during my research, but also representative of actions and opportunities within the GO-GN network. There are always new faces, and new directions to explore.

Despite the multiple options outlined in the GO-GN methods handbook, I position my research within a post-intentional phenomenology (Vagle, 2018) with a crystallization approach (Ellingson, 2009). While there is much to reveal about each of these, along with remixed graphics that I have created to share as part of the dissertation, the conversations and presentations from other GO-GN researchers have given me confidence in sharing (nudge to Verena for her OEGlobal 2018 presentation!).

My comprehensive portfolio and the draft dissertation are posted as open, digitally-first productions using Scalar, Procreate, Nvivo, and assorted other technologies. Fellow GO-GNers are critical readers and collaborators, providing feedback on works in progress.

Since open educational practices (OEPr) are the focus of the research, I have strategically crafted a slight change in the acronym as a unique contribution to the field, where OEP is traditionally used for both open pedagogies and open educational practices. With the addition of a lower case ‘r’, I distinguish the differences inherent in the concepts and illuminate the differences between pedagogies and practices (since this is an essential factor in the field of education).


When considering the ‘how’ of my PhD research, it could best be described as a gyroscopic spherical thing-a-me-bobber – multiple layers spining within each other. There are layers and layers that sometimes appear to be connected, but I’m often left pondering how!

What isn’t included in this video clip is the central figure (me) or the solid platform that grounds and levels my research, allowing me to keep my view on the horizon – my PhD committee, my PhD cohort, and the GO-GN network.

What isn’t included in this video clip is the central figure (me) or the solid platform that grounds and levels my research, allowing me to keep my view on the horizon. This platform is represented by my family, my PhD committee, my PhD cohort, and the GO-GN network. It’s appropriate that I’ve selected the gyroscope as a reflection of the research work, since I’ve often felt myself spinning in untold ways as I complete the research process. I have used the image of a spinning gyroscope to bring meaning and clarity to my research findings (more to be revealed later).

Gyroscope in operation

So, in reflection, there are many elements from art, mathematics and scholarly research that potentially intersect and catalyze new thinking. For me, the GO-GN network is just such an element.

And now for something completely different …

Warning – there are no ‘uniforms or transporters’ in this part of the reflection. Since I started this post with a revelation of my passion and interest for quirky arts/mathematics creations, I felt the need to share some more fascinating art/math constructions. These are in no way representative of any members of the GO-GN or the unique events and opportunities the network offers.

Here are a few to fuel your imagination.


Ellingson, L. L. (2009). Engaging crystallization in qualitative research: An introduction. Sage Publications Inc.

Farrow, R. (ed.), Weller, M., Pitt, R., Iniesto, F., Algers, A., Almousa, S., Baas, M., Bentley, P., Bozkurt, A., Butler, W., Cardoso, P., Chtena., N., Cox, G.,  Czerwonogora, A., Dabrowski, M.T., Derby, R., DeWaard, H., Elias, T., Essmiller, K., Funk, J., Hayman, J., Helton, E., Huth, K., Hutton, S. C., Iyinolakan, O., Johnson, K. R., Jordan, K., Kuhn, C., Lambert, S., Mittelmeier, J., Nagashima, T., Nerantzi, C., O’Reilly, J., Paskevicius, M., Peramunugamage, A., Pete, J., Power, V., Pulker, H.,  Rabin, E., Rets, I., Roberts, V., Rodés, V., Sousa, L., Spica, E., Vizgirda, V., Vladimirschi, V., & Witthaus, G. (2023). The GO-GN Open Research Handbook. Global OER Graduate Network / Open Education Research Hub.

Farrow, R., Iniesto, F., Weller, M. & Pitt., R. (2020). The GO-GN Research Methods Handbook. Open Education Research Hub. The Open University, UK. CC-BY 4.0. ​

Vagle, M. (2018). Crafting phenomenological Research (2nd ed.). Routledge.

Image attribution Photo by Victor on Unsplash

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