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Sept 2nd Session Reflections

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  • Michael Coghlan
    Dear all, It was another interesting MVP (multiple venue presentation) session today! Firstly, many thanks to those who attended. I certainly enjoyed the
    Message 1 of 2 , Sep 2, 2004
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      Dear all,

      It was another interesting MVP (multiple venue presentation) session today!
      Firstly, many thanks to those who attended. I certainly enjoyed the session
      and the 15 or so people who were with me in Adelaide appreciated the
      enormity of what we are attempting – to unite face to face and virtual
      participants in the same learning event.

      I’ll be interested to hear the archive, but even without hearing it I can
      draw a lot from the experience. I intentionally wanted this session to be a
      more informal collaborative event rather than just a presentation, so I was
      happy that many in the virtual classroom were willing to speak. This of
      course, without a prior soundcheck, is risky. I really wanted to hear more
      from Vance for example, but the quality of his audio for us in the
      conference room was poor. And in these events it is often the case that the
      f2f audience have come knowing nothing, or come with a healthy dose of
      skepticism, and any poor quality audio just confirms their suspicions, so
      it’s important that the audio works well.

      It raises another issue too. I am conscious of wanting to ‘look after’ the
      f2f group more than the virtual group. The virtual participants have each
      other to talk to, and in a tool like Elluminate, can play with the
      whiteboard and emoticons, go browsing, or check their email. F2f
      participants just have me and the screen to look at. They don’t have
      anything TO DO. That’s why I tried to get them talking in groups today, at
      the same time as the virtual participants were put into break out rooms.
      This worked reasonably well for the f2f participants, but I am curious to
      know how the short breakout session was for virtual participants. And I had
      no idea that when people went into the breakout rooms that they could no
      longer see the slide with the questions!

      To make the break out sessions work more smoothly, you really need other
      moderators to help you put people into groups, and later to herd people
      back into the main room. And I would make the allocated time in the
      breakout sessions very specific, and say for example that in 15 minutes
      everyone please return to the main room. Today I had to rudely barge into
      each room (except where Carole was a moderator) and quickly drag people
      back into the main room.

      I think too that given the time it takes to weld the two groups together,
      it is better to limit the focus of MVP presentations. I was quite surprised
      at how few of the topics we got through - I'd planned to cover a lot more
      ground. I guess that’s a consequence of allowing many people to speak. It’s
      great to have many speak; it just means the focus or topic of the session
      needs to be narrower.

      Because many of the virtual participants attended today in response to a
      somewhat personal invitation, I find it unsatisfactory that I can’t
      acknowledge the presence of everyone. I know there were people present in
      Elluminate that I didn’t greet, or communicate with at all. With the f2f
      group, even though I don’t know them, you can make eye contact with
      everyone in the room so I feel I made better contact with the f2f group
      than the virtual group.

      Still, today was about process and experimenting. The topic was “Online
      Learning Communities at Work.” I don’t know if the archive of this session
      will have much to offer on that topic (unless you were there), but it was a
      living example of a online community in practice –warts and all!

      As ever, I’d love to hear your responses.

      - Michael.

      PS I'll send URL details of the archive when it's available.



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    • Teresa Almeida d'Eça
      Dear Michael, I also enjoyed my time online this morning (for me!) and thought it was quite a dynamic event. Getting us together in small discussion groups was
      Message 2 of 2 , Sep 2, 2004
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        Dear Michael,

        I also enjoyed my time online this morning (for me!) and thought it was quite a dynamic event. Getting us together in small discussion groups was also an interesting idea - happens frequently in f2f sessions - and the fact that we lost sight of the topics gave us the chance to talk about anything we felt like. In my group, Jenny, Tony Redmond and I introduced ourselves and then talked generically about the type of work we do online. Jenny is in Tasmania and one of the things she does is give online computer training to students in rural communities. There is a f2f support, because they are absolute beginners, and she feels this is a must. The feedback is generally quite positive. I don't really remember what Tony said. Bad student, me!!! :-(

        I agree with you about first timers and (bad) sound quality, but it is also positive and realistic when they see that not everything always run on wheels. That way they won't think it's their inexperience, or that it only happens to them, when they try to implement something and it doesn't work 100%. It's good that they get a lot of good stuff, but also a little of less good stuff. ;-)

        Michael, I'm sure that if your session hadn't been as collaboratively informal as you planned it to be, you would have covered more ground. The approach you chose - I liked it! - gave you more flexibility and I'm sure your audience left with a lot of food for thought!

        Many of us know from experience tha it's not easy to deal with so much going on online and f2f, so one of the elements/groups necessarily is less attended to. Quite natural! In this case your priority was definitely the f2f audience. And since most of us online knew each other quite well, and kept making those text comments we're so used to, we felt at home: Like fish in the water! :-)

        Congrats! :-)

        Hugs,

        Teresa

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