Hello everyone, my name is Colm Shalvey – the newest member of the OpenStudy Team. The name is pronounced Col-um (like a row and a column). This is how I start all of my conversations, and that’s what this is for me: the beginning of a conversation with you, the OpenStudier. Because OpenStudy, at its heart, is a community of learners and teachers – and my goal is to get to know each of you as well as possible.
Before we get too far into this conversation, I wanted to mention why I joined OpenStudy. When I first got on OpenStudy, I had NO idea why it worked. None. When I found out there was a website devoted to allowing students of all ages to communicate and teach each other, my first thought was why? What do people get out of that? Sure, helping feels good, but enough to devote time and energy online, to people you’ve never met? The concept felt strange to me – nice and idealistic yes, but realistic? No chance.
Then I went on OpenStudy. I spent time watching, observing, and generally getting a sense for the community and its interactions. And then I saw a question I was able to answer. So I dove in. I started to interact and think and figure out how to best explain the concept. I struggled with the word choices that would make the most sense. I started to use the equation editor, in pieces, to clearly illustrate the way my brain works (basically transcribing my scribbled notes on a post-it to the screen). And I watched that user get it. And I was hooked.
I can honestly say that I love OpenStudy—and by that I mean the community that makes up OpenStudy. The people I have seen and met here continue to amaze me. From the student willing to devote their free time to enhancing their understanding, to the professional who just loves math/english/history/computer science and loves sharing it—the people here have continued to be an inspiration.
And that’s where I come in. My plan (and my dream) is to continue to enhance and expand the OpenStudy experience. I want to embed myself in our community and refine it, and I want it to be shared with even more people. Already I have had the opportunity to tell people directly about OpenStudy, and love hearing back from them that “This is exactly what I’ve been looking for!” My opinion is that OpenStudy is too good of thing not to share.
So, as I get into the run of things, I want to give my heart-felt appreciation to the amazing OpenStudy team that have allowed me to join them in this journey, and a thank you to all of you at OpenStudy who have shown me ‘how this works.’ I look forward to hopefully repaying those favors this year. I love hearing from OpenStudiers, so feel free to leave a comment below or find me on OpenStudy (username cshalvey). Let’s make 2012 the best year yet for OpenStudy!