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Here are the slides for today's session:
The value of graphic recording during an online conference is a whole new discussion thread that we need to dig into for sure.
I really share your point Sylvia about the role of the graphic recording tool on there. Is this something open only to the presenters? I can see a lot of applications for it under the student control.
Shared visualisation and representation is something that interests me greatly. When we did a project with China we made a shift from text as the main vehicle for communication between UK-based participants and those in China. It was introduced by one of the Chinese co-tutors who was aware of the experience of the Chinese learners struggling to comprehend and communicate in English. They were very capable at doing both but time-pressures and the flow of the conversation made pressure for them so one of the Chinese tutors mediated by representing and summarising discussions through visuals.
So, I can see how this tool or facility can support and develop inter-cultural collaboration particularly in mixed teams and mixed time-zones on a course. I think sometimes when we design for online learning we are still working in a very limited vision of distributed but like-minded participants. There is a whole-shift again to one in which we change to organising collaboration to be culturally sensitive and to work with diversity as a resource rather than a challenge.
Anyway, before I go off on a major ramble (which is actually a sign of you having reached my mind with these comments and ideas) let me say thanks again and if you have any more on this and different applications you've tried or identified do please share them. Many thanks.
not in Glasgow! ;-)
I'd like to know more about how you have created the opportunity for shared visualization and representation.
Was the visualization co-created by multiple/all participants or was it made by one or two individuals to summarize the discussion and used as a record of the conversation or reference point for future discussions? What tools did you use? How did you address issues of differences in cultural visual languages? How did you use the visualization to foster the collaboration and "work with diversity as a resource"? And how was this different in a virtual work space than in a face-to-face venue?
I hope with my questions I give you permission to continue your ramblings! ;)
G'Day Susan ;-)
Thanks for your interest in this and there are a number of ways I've worked with these ideas.
1. A Chinese tutor created a graphic/diagram to summarise the discussion for both Chinese and English participants. The idea was really to support the Chinese but it actually helped and stimulated everyone's thinking.
Following this initiative others then followed and generated their own graphical responses. There wasn't a lot of them but it was enough to suggest the idea of student-generated graphics as a basis for inter-cultural communication. Useful particularly where one group is at a disadvantage in terms of the language used for the course.
I could see your tools following a similar pattern if the control was shared. In fact it would be interesting to experience an exchange based primarily on graphical representations of communication with text as a secondary mode wouldn't it?
I can also see how your really interesting and valuable contribution could also feed into further work on inter-cultural and open course moderation. Our work touched on it and we were really aware of this as a new project idea but we haven't had funding to do more on that just yet. There are opportunities for you and others there perhaps.
2. We organised face to face sessions (different context and project to the one above) in which we ran Shared Thinking sessions to support collective reflection. The visualisation of the multiple perspectives, generated by the process, was used as part of the face to face session but also went online. This product - typically a pie-chart - was then used in a discussion forum to allow wider participation (and further involvement of those involved). In addition, I developed an image gallery feature to allow researchers to compare and contrast products (all anonymous) from different sessions. This aims to support individual participants, group discussions and research. See http://sharedthinking.info for an overview and a sample of the emerging gallery as a demo of knowledge-building (following Scardemalia and Bereiter for that bit).
I'm sure you're aware that there are a number of shareable mindmapping tools available. I have used MindMeister but I Googled for the names of others
I've also tagged 20 links in my Delicious here on the topic of Mindmapping, with annotations which you may find useful:
Vance thanks for that list. There certainly are some great resources out there. The more integrated they can be within the VLE the better but that's often not too much of a problem. thanks.
While not technically graphic in nature, Sylvia Currie introduced me to scrumblr which is like a shared whiteboard with "post-it" notes. (You can't draw on the whiteboard, but it does have a feature to create columns with headings.) I can see lots of uses for joint idea generation, sorting and categorizing, planning, etc. using that tool. (In fact, I plan to use it with the Technology of Participation group facilitation methods.)
I know that I have seen some shareable tools awhile ago that are more graphic in nature, but I haven't used them other than to play around with them. Have you or others used any of these tools in online learning/conferencing events?
It might be useful to find out how each of us "visualizes" ;) the phrase "graphic representation". You referenced pie charts...I typically think of something that is more pictorial in nature or includes a mix of pictures and text. I imagine that tools like pie charts are possibly more translatable across cultural contexts whereas pictures have the potential to create misunderstanding as well as increase shared understanding...a key factor being sensitivity to color/social/visual languages of the cultures involved.
Yes I agree Susan. i think it could be difficult indeed online but fun to try maybe. I guess I'm thinking about at least changing the emphasis to include more graphics - but production, understanding etc may be issues.
i think it would be interesting to see how others interpret the term graphic representation too. The pie-charts we use are generated as a summary of a discussion - basically to bring together small groups and then to bring together the view of their ideas across the room. We've then explored them being put online to sustain the dialogue or develop it.
Last message from Oz as I'm off for the plane home in an hour or so. See you all online again in around 2 days. G'Day!
I really enjoyed the presentation because you were able to distill so many core issues about online conference design and delivery against a backdrop of social, economic and technological change.
When I found out about three months ago that the book existed I rushed online to buy it. There is so little written in this area and even less which draws on experience beyond a single conference or model. After reading most of the book I wished we'd had something like it when a team at University of Cape Town started designed our first e/merge online conference in 2003. And for every redesign since then ;)
I was relieved to discover that our conferences in 2004, 2006 and 2008 (http://emerge2008.net) were informed by almost all of the principles which were suggested in the last few chapters. Fortunately we had been able to learn from superb practices modeled by Group Jazz, Howard Rheingold and Associates, Nancy White, Soren Kaplan from icohere and David Shepherd from the ATIMOD team.
Hi Lynn & Terry,
I'm sorry I missed the live presentation on Elluminate,but then watching the recording at a later time (or maybe over and over again) is one benefit of the online conference.
I agree with Tony about the importance of the book. I wish I had known about the research you were conducting so I could contribute my experiences, too. I think a few case studies by people who organize and present at online conferences as well as connecting face-to-face and online conferences would make an interesting addition to the book.
Thank you for hosting this seminar on SCoPE, Sylvia.
I agree...the more real life examples (and the things learned from them) we can get, the better. I am one of those people who needs to see how concepts play out in reality and I prefer to see many different examples of that. I hope you will share some of your experiences here...perhaps someone could create an online companion piece to the book of additional case studies and the tips, practices, strategies, tools, and pitfalls that we can learn from them.
You are invited to join me and help out as I organize my next online conference. BTW, all my work is done on a volunteer basis.
I agree that detailed case studies would be interesting, but in this case, we really wanted to get an overall look at what was happening in this rapidly evolving field. Consequently, we decided to draw upon interviews with over a dozen successful online conference organizers in order to come up with themes that emerged regarding best practices for the design and delivery of online conferences.
The book does offer some brief case studies that contrast organizational models used in online conferences. The models vary in the level of interaction and flexibility that is supported.
There are also a variety of (very brief) conference descriptions provided in chapter 7. There are some dual-mode conferences included in these. However, I would love to hear of more. I've started a discussion on this with the hopes that we can share some of our own experiences of online conferences. Please jump in - also feel free to describe some of your not-so-exceptional experiences as we can also learn from mistakes.
From the descriptions of the chapters, the book seems to be a great asset for now. Hopefully, technology is changing as a result of ideas on how to improve online conferences. I think feedback from organizers and participants would contribute to improving online conferences. In addition, new tools for online platforms and social networks with innovative apps for communication are being developed as we speak. As a result, books about online conferences may need to be upgraded quite frequently. I would definitely consider editing a follow up of the book with ongoing case studies.
Having such discussions is a great way to move forward in the direction of collaborative wiki books because they may be easier to upgrade than printed books or e-books. Any thoughts on the subject of wikibooks?
As I was writing the chapter that described some of the technologies that were being used, I was very worried that much would change before the book was even published, and some has. For example, we speculated on how Google Wave may be applied in future online conferences and as you know, Google Wave is no more.
I think a wikibook would be a great way to stay on top of the technologies used to promote and deliver online conferences. A wikibook would also be a great way to share experiences. As you mentioned, feedback from organizers and participants would be very helpful to future conference organizers. One of the chapters in our book argues for more innovative approaches to conference evaluation, and we provide a couple of examples. Both of these examples promoted sharing the evaluation results amongst all stakeholders - organizers, presenters and participants. If these results were openly posted on conference websites, or in a wikibook - imagine what we could all learn!
As much as I really like this concept, I am a little concerned about the process of a wikibook. I am not up-to-speed on this. For example, can anyone contribute, or would the original author have some control over the contributions? My concern is that the book would become advertising space for all of the companies that are now providing networking platforms.
This seminar is not about wikibooks so I don't want to pursue this, but I think this would make an excellent topic for a future seminar, Sylvia.
Glad to hear that the book and the presentation gave you food for thought.
It sounds like you found some great sources of support for the organization and delivery of the e/merge conferences. I have to admit that I did not come across this one in my searches. May be due to the fact that you were based in South Africa. If I had known about it, I definitely would have bugged you for an interview.
Also, I looked up Group Jazz, as this was a name I was unfamiliar with. Looks like another company offering comprehensive support for the organization and delivery of online conferences. I am guessing that we will see many more popping up in the near future. Thanks for bringing this one to our attention.
Group Jazz is more than just another company "offering comprehensive support for the organization and delivery of online conferences". Lisa Kimball who is their Executive Producer and Founder is one of the pioneers of online conferences and it may be of interest to know that she ran an inter-networked online symposium on "Facilitating Online Groups" as far back as 1984.
The reason that you didn't come across the e/merge conferences in your searches is probably the rapid proliferation of short, synchronous online conferences in North America and Europe over the last few years. Both the standard Google search and the Google Scholar search on +"online conference" +Africa bring up information about the e/merge conferences on page 3 of the results even though the most recent e/merge was in 2008. Could be something here about the standard developed world assumptions concerning where innovation happens ;)
The other reason that it is difficult to do searches on "online conferences" is that there are so many sites that use this phrase that really aren't related. It's a lot of sifting and trying of various search words and phrases.
Interesting what you said about assumptions - that came up in our last CIDER session which discussed online course development in China. There is definitely a lot to be learned from what is happening in other parts of the world.
I have been lurking in this conference so forgive me for jumping in at this point.
Thank you for these links. For the past 10 years and more, I have been monitoring the eLearning industry and have created a document that lists Learning Management Systems, authoring tools, web conferencing (which I call virtual classrooms) and others.
Watching the exchange during this conference enabled me to add some more.
The document is available free from my website at www.trimeritus.com/vendors.pdf.
Thanks and regards,
I frequently lurk in conferences, too.
Thank you for the document, it is a great resource. I thought you might also be interested in this link: 2010 Top Tools: Best in Breed List. The site lists some of the best learning and performance technologies. Many of these are freely available or very inexpensive.