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Wednesday, October 16, 2013 - OU’s Honors College hosts virtual “global hangout”
By Katie Land, news editor


Oakland University’s Honors College is all about exploring new areas – in research, between academics, and across the globe. All three concepts were combined this October, when the HC virtually brought together professors from around the world for the first-ever Global Creative Writing Hangout.

The event was the widest-spread, live video gathering of creative writing professors and researchers to date, and united academics from diverse countries including the United States, China, Pakistan, the Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom.

“This was the first time ever that creative writers and creative writing professors had been linked in this way, around the world, to talk about how creative writing happens, what we know about creative writing, how we can research the way creative writing works, and what it produces,” said Graeme Harper, dean of OU’s Honors College.

Rooted at Oakland, the global hangout lasted just on 2 hours, which meant that some participants in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands were still awake and participating at 3 a.m. The event was so successful, most participants wanted to continue the discussion later into the night and early morning.

This type of global collaboration points toward an exciting future for education, according to Dr. Harper.


“Here we are at the very edge of a revolution! Understanding global education means understanding the truly transglobal context of the world in which we live - meaning a world made up of all kinds of journeys and exchanges. One of the keys to this is to create hubs of interaction, and Oakland is ideally placed to do that because it has a strong aspirational sense and an ability to move between its areas of knowledge very openly and easily,” he explained.

“Transglobal education – meaning education that transcends older limitations of location – involves real time exchanges that are not simply massive open online courses, many of which are already outmoded and kind of dull – but actual human real-time connections at the person-to-person. And we can build both research and teaching leadership that way.”


Topics for the hangout ranged from general concepts of exploration, how to explore, the impact of discovery and the results of exploration, down to how those ideas affect creative writing education.

“The potential for globally-linked discussions is now huge, and what I would call "real time research" is something that we have not yet taken advantage of,” Dr. Harper said. “With technology improving globally we can now also reach countries we could not formerly reach. And in many ways technology servicing of underdeveloped areas is just as important as other kind of service in these areas - because knowledge can improve well-being.”

The event was conducted through Google Hangout, and was supported by New Writing: the International Journal for the Practice and Theory of Creative Writing and by the International Center for Creative Writing Research.

Dr. Harper plans to build on the success of the global hangout by hosting the largest ever Creative Writing World Symposium this winter. It will run from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014, and will link all over the world. Creative Writing professors from across the country will participate live at OU, and links to Japan, Korea, Australia, Pakistan, India, Malaysia, China, South Africa, United Kingdom, continental Europe, New Zealand, Iceland and more are in the works.

For more information about research, programs, courses and events through Oakland’s Honors College, view the website at oakland.edu/hc.

Oakland University is a vibrant academic community with more than 20,000 students and more than 260 degree and certificate programs. To learn more about academics, achievements, and events at OU, visit the news site at oakland.edu/newsatou and follow the news team on Twitter at @OaklandU_News.
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