Hosting OER24: Digital Transformation in Open Education at MTU, Cork

by Dr. Gearóid Ó Suilleabháin, Technology Enhanced Learning Department, MTU & Dr. Tom Farelly, N-TUTOOR project, MTU, Ireland.

We are delighted to be given the opportunity to write an article about our experience as the co-chairs of the Association of Learning Technology’s (ALT) annual OER conference in our home institution, Munster Technological University (MTU). The conference was held in the Bishopstown Campus of the University located in the suburbs of Cork city and was managed and delivered by MTU’s Technology Enhanced Learning Department.

MTU was established on January 1st, 2021 as the result of a merger between two existing institutions – Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) and the Institute of Technology, Tralee (ITT). As such, the conference was a tremendous opportunity to showcase the new university to a wider national and international audience.

The conference logo for OER24 at the top of this article was designed by Bryan Mathers of Visual Thinkery and draws inspiration on Celtic Script & Mythology. If you would like to see a short video on the planning and design phases of the Logo have a look at this video on X:

Keynote One

Our opening keynote by Dr. Rajiv Jhangiani, Vice Provost, Teaching & Learning of Brock University, Ontario Canada also drew on Irish mythologies and legends with a speech entitled Betwixt fairy tales and dystopia futures – Writing the next chapter in Open Education. Rajiv’s presentation incorporated wonderfully engaging narrative and self-made video where he narrated the story of an early career academic who ultimately has to reconcile the opportunities and challenges of openness.

Rajiv Jhangiani, OER24, CC BY Lorna M. Campbell.

In addition to the conference logo, Bryan Mathers (Visual Thinkery) also produced sketchnotes that captured the essence of the two keynotes as illustrated by this image that represents Rajiv’s keynote.

Keynote Two

The second keynote was jointly presented by Catherine Cronin and Laura Czerniewicz with a keynote entitled The Future isn’t what it used to be:Open Education at a Crossroads. Their wide ranging commentary was both a retrospective (with a couple of great photos spanning the past 60 years) of where we have come from and what the possible futures we are being presented with. In addition to their keynote they wrote an accompanying essay that can be found at The Future isn’t what it used to be: Open Education at a Crossroads OER24 keynote resource.

Mary Loftus –

As with the first keynote, Bryan Mathers produced a sketchnote to capture Catherine’s and Laura’s presentation.

Full Programme

As the conference chairs we have made a point of not highlighting any of the other presentations, but we feel that it is worthwhile to draw your attention to the programme which provides author details, presentation titles and the abstracts for all the different presentation formats and workshops provided over the two days.
The link for the March 27th program can be found here: while the link for the March 28th programme can be found here:


For those people that are up for a challenge there is the rapid fire conference presentation called Gasta which has been a part of the EdTech presentation, both in Ireland and the UK for a number of years. The word Gasta roughly translates from Irish to mean rapid, quick or fast. In this presentation format the emphasis is on tight adherence to the five-minute time limit with a large amount of crowd involvement. The resulting session means that presenters are encouraged to pick a topic and presentation style that lends itself to being informative or thought-provoking or perhaps both.

If you want to get a sense of the the two Gastas you can find links hosted by MTU’s Department Of Technology Enhanced Learning at the following two links:
OER24 Conference, Day One: Gasta Session and Day One Closing
OER24 Conference, Day Two: Gasta Session and Conference Closing

Closing Remarks

Charing and organising a large international conference is not easy and certainly not done without a lot of hard work done on the part of a whole team of people. In this way the conference chairs are simply the tip of a large community, and this was certainly the case with OER24. The organizing committee in conjunction with the staff of the Technology Enhanced Learning Department in Cork and ALT staff played a huge part in reviewing the papers and providing support to attendees and presenters and certainly deserve recognition. For the two of us it was a huge honour and pleasure to help advance the case of open education in all its forms in Ireland and beyond these shores. Speaking of advancing the cause of open education practice, hosting OER24 gave us an opportunity to use the occasion to launch the white paper on Open Education Practices in Higher Education which was co-authored by the two of us in conjunction with Rajiv Jhangiani and our MTU colleague Darragh Coakley.


Dr. Gearóid Ó Suilleabháin is the head of the Technology Enhanced Learning Department in MTU – @GOSuill

Dr. Tom Farrelly is a Senior Lecturer and Academic developer with the N-TUTORR project in MTU – @TomFarrelly