Rebecca Hogue (@rjhogue) – Cofounder and Codirector: I am a writer and prolific blogger (http://rjh.goingeast.ca/, http://bcbecky.com, http://goingeast.ca/blog). I began my schooling in a small town (pop. 250) in Northern British Columbia (BC) that no longer exists – Kemano, BC. The town was situated in a narrow river valley, with towering coastal mountains on all sides, such that an avalanche high up in the mountains shook the town as if there had been an earthquake. There were no roads into the town, rather, the only way in-and-out was a three-and-half hour boat ride. I look back now and remember it as one of the most beautiful places on earth.
It was in Kemano where I first developed my love of nature. Growing up in a small isolated town, we did not have summer camps to keep us entertained during the school break. Instead, we would grab our fishing poles and go trout fishing or climb the mountain and build shelters out of loose tree branches. In the winter, we would rush to finish our homework, head over to the tow-rope, and spend our evenings downhill skiing.
I now live in sunny Sunnyvale California. Unlike Kemano, when things shake here it is actually an earthquake. I spend my time trying to get out and enjoy the nature around me, and when I must, I am on my computer teaching online, programming eBooks, or doing educational research.
Maha Bali (@bali_maha) – Cofounder and Codirector: I am a passionate open/connected educator, learnaholic, writeaholic, and strong believer in subjective and participatory social research, and spontaneous and caring teaching that empowers learners. I am International director of Digital Pedagogy Lab , and editor at Hybrid Pedagogy (which is much more than a journal to me and more like a community). Virtually Connecting is my way to enhance virtual conference participation for people like myself (mothers of young kids, people with limited travel funds) with the help of generous onsite participants like Rebecca and others the program has inspired. I am in Egypt (an associate professor of practice at the Center for Learning and Teaching at the American University in Cairo) but I really live on the internet. I blog at http://blog.mahabali.me (and Prof Hacker and DML Central, but who’s counting?)
Autumm Caines (@autumm) – Codirector: Yes, those are 2 m’s at the end of my name and though I diverge from the spelling of the season I do contemplate its meaning as a metaphor in my existence. I have a general affinity for in-between places and things and I enjoy spending time at the place where differing disciplines intersect. By day I am an Instructional Designer at the University of Michigan – Dearborn; just outside of Detroit Michigan, USA.My work in Virtually Connecting helps me to explore questions of digital identity, virtual conversation, spontaneity in synchronous virtual environments, and equitable allocation of resources in an intersectional and globally connected world. I blog at autumm.edtech.fm and at DigCiz.org. I like the number 3.
Helen DeWaard (@hj_dewaard) – Codirector since May 2018: I’m a long-time learner in digital spaces, coming out of the shadows of my introversion to share in virtual communities. In my alter-time I teach at the Faculty of Education with Lakehead University in Ontario, Canada. I focus my teaching energies to digital and media literacies, critical digital pedagogy, digital storytelling, professional eportfolios and infusing professional practice with effective technology use. I’m a graduate of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) with an M.Ed focused on technology and special education. A portfolio of learning (My Renovations) was completed for the Masters of Educational Technology, University of British Columbia. I am a voracious reader of mystery, fantasy and all good works recommended by friends and family. I walk and wander where and when I can. Global travel is an infrequent event but always a welcome opportunity. I blog at Five Flames 4 Learning and reside digitally at hj.dewaard.com.
Christian Friedrich (@friedelitis) – Codirector since May 2018: I care about the intersections of ‘open’, learning, teaching and the use of technology and I work with people and organizations who want to become more connected and open in their communication and collaboration practices. I am the Education and Science Advisor to Wikimedia Germany in Berlin.
I co-host a podcast on open education, where I get to rant in one of the most fun languages to rant in: German. I erratically blog at christianfriedrich.org and, in a previous life, I used to sell cars for a living. On Sundays, you will find me watching amateur soccer matches in Hamburg, Germany.