Low Carbon Collaboration

Late last year the Apereo Board decided to place greater emphasis on encouraging and enabling low carbon collaboration - not just for open source communities in education, but for higher education as a whole. For six years Apereo has existed to support sustainable software solutions for higher education. Sustainable software solutions are, of course only of use in the context of a sustainable planet. We should find alternatives to extensive travel wherever and whenever we can. The current COVID-19 pandemic has leant urgency to that objective. 

So what does this mean in practice? We began by looking at our principle community face to face gatherings and events. Last September, we decided on radical changes to our main conference, Open Apereo 2020. These changes included moving the face to face elements of the event to a suitable University campus to lower costs, increasing opportunities to participate remotely, and being more systematic about publishing artefacts created by and for our events online. To encourage participation further, we’re moving towards a longer, thinner event. Open Apereo 2020 (June 15th – 19th) will focus around core community content featured in US Eastern morning sessions, allowing those in Europe and Africa to participate synchronously more easily. Recordings and collaboration tools will make content available asynchronously for those in other time zones. 

The jury is, quite frankly, out on whether the face to face element of Open Apereo 2020 will take place. We’ll be guided by public health information from the US government, Michigan State Government and our hosts at The University of Michigan on that front. We’ll make a go/no-go decision on May 20th. Open Apereo 2020 Online will go ahead whatever we decide about the face to face event. Registration for Open Apereo 2020 Online is reasonably priced, and available now. If the face to face event goes ahead, there’ll be a supplementary registration fee for participants. We’re going to make it as rich an event as possible. See conference.apereo.org for details.

Together with partners, Apereo has supported regional events in Japan, Africa, France, Spain and elsewhere in Europe. That’s something to build on. We see a future of better networked local and regional events, and will do what we can to stimulate this across Apereo communities. We’ll also continue to work in partnership with others wherever this is possible. We have a longstanding partnership event in partnership with our colleagues in France, ESUP-Portail each February. The participation of the LAMP Consortium in Open Apereo 2020, together with the HAXCamp and AnnotatED workshops around the event take collaboration further. Higher education is at a critical inflection point. Voices for openness are stronger together, working collegially in partnership. Apereo will play a key role in making those voices stronger.

There's more about Open Apereo 2020 and Open Apereo 2020 online at conference.apereo.org

Ian Dolphin 2 April 2020