Toss together equal portions of luck, fortunate, serendipity, and a sorely needed dose of genuine humanity all went into the mix of the most current episode I am just blessed to click buttons for the OEG Voices Podcast I have been doing for Open Education Global.
This was easily more than just a podcast, this was a moment of sheer positivity that seems more rare these days. I don’t think most of my colleagues truly grasped how powerful a thing we had made possible, simply by offering an invitation to talk, without script or structure.
I’ve already alluded to this episode in my rush of excitement to be part of a series of live, unstructured events for Open Education Week. On the middle day of the week, that just so happened to be International Women’s Day, we had coordinated a conversation with Tetiana Kolesnykova, Director of the Scientific Library at the Ukrainian State University of Science and Technologies, made possible by librarians Paola Corti and Mira Buist-Zhuk (I remain in awe of Mira for her super heroic translation skills to go back and forth between me in English and in Ukrainian for Tetiana).
I had suggested setting this up maybe 2 weeks prior in an email to Paolo who had invited Tetiana who had said she would be there “if she had sufficient electricity.”
Let that one sink in.
Now I am tempted to describe it all over again, but it’s more or less been blogged already by me, and you get as well the full audio of course, transcripts in English and Ukrainian, but mostly, take the time to listen to Tetiana tell how she and her colleagues managed to keep their university mission alive through a war time invasion– just a year ago.
Just to summarize, just three weeks after bombs fell on Dnipro, Tetiana and her colleagues put into operation a crisis plan developed during the pandemic, organized how to provide all kinds of support, including course, library, and research, and she and her staff were at their library just 3 weeks later carrying out this heroic effort.
And it was not like Open Education had to swoop in to offer the OER goodies as a new offering of benevolence; Tetiana and the Scientific library had been practicing, facilitating open access publishing, OER awareness since 2009.
I could not be more honored to just have this time, and in fact, after an hour when I offered and out, Tetiana wanted to keep talking.
After I had published the episode, I drafted an email of thanks to Tetiana, relying on Google Translate to try and turn my words into Ukrainian. She replied (in turn I think by translation):
Hello, dear Alan!
You made me and my family extremely happy people late last night!
In my previous life (before the war), I would never have thought that I would be a part of such a wonderful international project. In addition, you created a very cozy and friendly atmosphere in which I, as a guest, felt very comfortable.
At the beginning of the meeting, I was very nervous because: firstly, I didn’t have such experience in recording; secondly, I didn’t have time to prepare; and thirdly, I didn’t know what questions you would ask me.
But your kindness and sincere support, the enormous help of Paola and Mira, as well as the pleasant faces of Marcela and the other participants in your online studio, removed all barriers.
Thank you very much, Alan!
You, along with Paola and Mira, gave me wonderful emotions!
Alan, my colleagues and I (librarians, teachers, researchers) are also very interested in creating opportunities for collaboration. I would be happy to bring your suggestions to them. I look forward to it.
Thank you very, very much to you, your friends in the studio, your family and everyone who supports Ukrainians in this terrible war.
email from Tetiana Kolesnykova
Your help is invaluable.
I remain firmly convinced that open education is often too focused on the stuff- the resources, licenses, courses, platforms, when really, the most important factors are just being able to have human conversations and connections like these.
Just sit down and say ??????.
Featured Image: My own combination (no artificial intelligence even allowed) of a screenshot of the Ukrainian State University of Science and Technologies web site, a screenshot of the zoom session where we recorded the podcast, and 2011/365/63 On The Air flickr photo by cogdogblog shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license