Friday, 3 July 2015

New ADL #mLearning Design Reference model: adjust to your needs

Peter Berking who is the lead of the MOTIF project just released the core slide deck for the newly adapted mLearning Design Reference model, and is now inviting us all to have a look at the reference model, and adapt it to our own needs. If we do have adaptations, Peter would love to hear about it, in order to add an extra layer of understanding to the model, coming from all of us practitioners.

The slide deck is protected under a Creative Commons "Attribution-nonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 license"
Purpose: "From MoTIF project research, the learning community identified a need for instructional design processes optimized for the mobile platform that could most effectively inform, situate, and invite consideration of the new mobile learning approaches, device capabilities and usage patterns. This reference model is intended to address the need to inform, situate, and invite consideration of effective and innovative mobile learning approaches through following a mobile-optimized learning design process. As a reference model, it is an integration of existing theoretical and practical models rather than an original model. It has been developed through an open process via a community-based working group."

The MOTIF project has been running for a few years now, and the reports of each stage can be downloaded from the MOTIF site (you do need to create an account, with a nice guarantee that while logging in, your data - including contacts - will not be copied or used in anyway).

The slide deck is quite big (238 slides), but it is a 'work deck', which is filled with flow charts, performance support, design elements, conducting an instructional analysis, analysing learners and contexts, develop assessment instruments ... and it all starts out from the needs and goals that you want to achieve with your mLearning project. It is a really useful slide deck. I only went through it at this point, but I am going to try it out on a project soon, trying to figure out what I would adjust to make the reference model fit my own context and need/s. The slides are also set up to enable you to immediately click to extra information on the subject of that specific slide... nice.

The referred to frameworks are also of interest (Koole, with the FRAME framework, and - one I really like at this point in time: the champions framework). 

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

A free book on changing #education in challenging settings #ICT4D

This lively report - well it is a free book consisting of 318 pages - on Designing and Implementing an ICT for Development initiative in a resource constraint environment is one of the most amazing mobile learning and technology projects I have read. This is a book that can be used in any challenging setting, as it combines participatory design, teachers professional development, open badges as milestones in the learning process, earn-as-you-learn incentives, strategies from the known reality to a wishful future, and scaling up from one school to 26 schools! ... and all evidence-based in approach. The report is edited by Marlien Herselman and Adele Botha.

It is simply amazing how this talented and inspired group of people turned a really challenging situation in deep rural South Africa (Eastern Cape province) into a fruitful, inspiring educational surplus in only 3 years time! It combines mobile learning, literacy,

From the forword: "The book aims to provide an overview of the design and implementation of an Information and Communication Technology for rural education development initiative in a resource constrained environment. Various frameworks, models, guidelines and tools were developed by adopting Design Science Research as the chosen methodology. Certain specific case study phases were applied within the Design Science Research process and lessons were learnt in each phase which was documented as the initiative moved from one phase to the other. Certain steps were followed during each phase. The book provides an overview of how each of the components, within the ICT4RED Implementation Framework (Section 2), were managed and how they were operationalised to provide specific deliverables or to reach certain aims.
What became evident from this initiative was that it was NOT about the technology, but about the PEOPLE who are empowered to use the technology in order to improve their lives and that of their learners!This book will guide readers through the journey of this initiative and it is hoped that it will inspire all new prospective students, teachers and academia to realise that the value of using technology does not lie in that it can ever replace the teacher, but that it can enhance teaching and learning and transform traditional teaching methods in a classroom. This transformation can only be successfully done where technology is earned and not just given away or provided free of charge."

Friday, 26 June 2015

Why are #IRRODL articles such a pleasure to read? New free issue

There are numerous EdTech related journals out there, but whenever I read the abstracts of most new IRRODL issues, I am intrigued. Is it my love for Canada which makes me more susceptible for possible news? Is it because I like the editors? Is it the determination to offer a platform to international authors that want to share research? Is it their website visuals using people from all ages, looks and combinations? Is it the mix between multiple EdTech options?... I do not know, but it sure happened again this morning while strolling through the abstracts and respectively some of the articles of this new IRRODL issue.

For instance: my first full read was an article entitled "Let's talk about digital learners in the digital era", an article reviewing all reference literature to 'digital natives' and concluding (not surprisingly, yet proving with fact and figures):
The so-called “Digital Native” literature demonstrates that despite students’ high digital confidence and digital skills, their digital competence may be much lower than those of their “digital teachers”. 

Another read of this morning was entitled "Exploring intensive longitudinal measures of student engagement in blended learning" , where the following sentence from the abstract drew me into the full article: "We found that clarity of instruction and relevance of activities influenced student satisfaction more than the medium of instruction.  Student engagement patterns observed in the log data revealed that exploring learning tools and previewing upcoming assignments and learning activities can be useful indicators of a successful learning experience."

And I have another couple of articles ready for reading... joy!
Here is the full list of articles of the new issue, all articles freely available and in HTML PDF MP3 EPUB formats... wonderful:


Editorial
Editorial: Volume 16, Number 3
Rory McGreal
Research Articles
Who studies MOOCs? Interdisciplinarity in MOOC research and its changes over time
George Veletsianos, Peter Shepherdson

Are the most highly cited articles the ones that are the most downloaded? A bibliometric study of IRRODL
Raidell Avello Martínez, Terry Anderson

Developing, using, and interacting in the flipped learning movement: Gaps among subject areas
Hsin-liang Chen, Kevin L. Summers

Exploring students’ intention to use LINE for academic purposes based on technology acceptance model
Willard Van De Bogart, Saovapa Wichadee

Learners’ goal profiles and their learning patterns over an academic year
Clarence Ng

The use of a mobile learning management system at an online university and its effect on learning satisfaction and achievement
Won Sug Shin, Minseok Kang

Exploring intensive longitudinal measures of student engagement in blended learning
Curtis R Henrie, Robert Bodily, Kristine C Manwaring, Charles R Graham

Let’s talk about digital learners in the digital era
Eliana Esther Gallardo-Echenique, Luis Marqués-Molías, Mark Bullen, Jan-Willem Strijbos

Roles of course facilitators, learners, and technology in the flow of information of a cMOOC
Oleksandra Skrypnyk, Srećko Joksimović, Vitomir Kovanović, Dragan Gašević, Shane Dawson

A paradigm shift: Adoption of disruptive learning innovations in an ODL environment: The case of the University of South Africa
Blessing Mbatha

University of Toronto instructors’ experiences with developing MOOCs
Hedieh Najafi, Carol Rolheiser, Laurie Harrison, Stian Håklev

Conceptualizing and investigating instructor presence in online learning environments
Jennifer C Richardson, Adrie A. Koehler, Erin D. Besser, Secil Caskurlu, JiEun Lim, Chad M. Mueller

Exploring the interaction equivalency theorem
Brenda Cecilia Padilla Rodriguez, Alejandro Armellini

In abundance: Networked participatory practices as scholarship
Bonnie E Stewart

Research Notes
Massive open online course completion rates revisited: Assessment, length and attrition
Katy Jordan  

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Free report Continued Professional Development for teachers & #MOOC #CPD

Dianne Laurillard edited a report on "the Anatomy of a MOOC for teacher CPD" which can be downloaded here. In this 34 page report she looks at a MOOC that was provided by UNESCO and partners to enhance CPD of teachers by using a particular MOOC aimed at that subject.

The report provides an executive summary, describing the set-up, demographics, evaluation, lessons learned, and the pedagogical as well as financial value. It also provides a look into the approach to teaching and learning, design and development processes, various measures of success (more quantitative view and branding).

Quckly sharing the 10 take aways highlighted by the report:
1.The certification provided by these courses for professionals does have value (8.2). 2. The provision of collaborative learning functionality on the MOOC platform is an urgent requirement, via both the grouping function and the shared production activity (7.2). 3. Peer review is highly valued for activity of doing the review, rather than for receiving a review (8.3) 4. A pedagogic approach that orchestrates a default sequence of linked and focused collaborative learning activities is highly valued (8.3). 5. To maintain the value of peer review and collaboration within an on-demand environment it will be important to help academics continue orchestrating this process so that it continues to work (8.4). 6. We need flexible pricing to assist participants from emerging economies (8.4) 7. We need a less problematic technical authentication process to increase both reach and revenue significantly (8.4). 8. The term ‘registration’ is not equivalent to ‘enrolment’ in a normal university course; instead ‘engagement in week 1’ should be used as the only reasonable equivalent (8.5). 9. Fee-paying undergraduates are subsidizing free education for highly qualified professionals, and we need ways of ameliorating that situation (8.5). 10. We need further technical development to create learning analytics that will support automated or semi-automated assessment for non-scientific subjects (8.5)

And the report concludes with: "The overall experience of both course team and participants on this CPD course was overwhelmingly positive. The course team had the opportunity to learn a lot more about online teaching and learning in this new environment, and also learned a great deal from the participants. Their contributions on the Padlet wall, the Diigo site, and Scoop-It, for example, will be valuable additional resources for later runs of the MOOC. It has proved to be a true experience of the coconstruction of knowledge, as such courses should be."

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Not open BJET issue on #MOOC disrupting teaching & learning in #HigherEd

The British Journal of Educational Technologies just published a Special Issue: Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs): ‘disrupting’ teaching and learning practices in higher education. The articles have been brought together by the wonderful academics Dick N'Gambi and VivienneVivienne. 

 The papers are of interest, unfortunately you need to pay for them or lend them at the least (thank you Stephen Downes for informing me, as I got access due to my OU account).

Here is the short list of article titles, with a multitude of interesting MOOC angles: assessment, engagement, methods, improving classroom instruction... The full set of articles with available html and pdf's can be found here.

  1. Will MOOCs transform learning and teaching in higher education? Engagement and course retention in online learning provision (pages 455–471)
    Sara Isabella de Freitas, John Morgan and David Gibson
    Article first published online: 8 APR 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/bjet.12268
  2. Massive open online courses (MOOCs): Insights and challenges from a psychological perspective (pages 472–487)
    Melody M Terras and Judith Ramsay
    Article first published online: 8 APR 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/bjet.12274
  3. Methodological approaches in MOOC research: Retracing the myth of Proteus(pages 488–509)
    Juliana Elisa Raffaghelli, Stefania Cucchiara and Donatella Persico
    Article first published online: 25 MAY 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/bjet.12279
  4. What public media reveals about MOOCs: A systematic analysis of news reports(pages 510–527)
    Vitomir Kovanović, Srećko Joksimović, Dragan Gašević, George Siemens and Marek Hatala
    Article first published online: 6 APR 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/bjet.12277
  5. Survey of learning experiences and influence of learning style preferences on user intentions regarding MOOCs (pages 528–541)
    Ray I Chang, Yu Hsin Hung and Chun Fu Lin
    Article first published online: 1 APR 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/bjet.12275
  6. Experiential online development for educators: The example of the Carpe Diem MOOC (pages 542–556)
    Gilly Salmon, Janet Gregory, Kulari Lokuge Dona and Bella Ross
    Article first published online: 4 MAR 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/bjet.12256
  7. Who are with us: MOOC learners on a FutureLearn course (pages 557–569)
    Tharindu Rekha Liyanagunawardena, Karsten Øster Lundqvist and Shirley Ann Williams
    Article first published online: 3 MAR 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/bjet.12261
  8. Digging deeper into learners' experiences in MOOCs: Participation in social networks outside of MOOCs, notetaking and contexts surrounding content consumption (pages 570–587)
    George Veletsianos, Amy Collier and Emily Schneider
    Article first published online: 25 MAY 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/bjet.12297
  9. E-assessment: Institutional development strategies and the assessment life cycle(pages 588–596)
    Carmen Tomas, Michaela Borg and Jane McNeil
    Article first published online: 17 MAR 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/bjet.12153
  10. A tool for learning or a tool for cheating? The many-sided effects of a participatory student website in mass higher education (pages 597–607)
    Tereza Stöckelová and Tereza Virtová
    Article first published online: 26 MAR 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/bjet.12155
  11. Bridging the research-to-practice gap in education: A software-mediated approach for improving classroom instruction (pages 608–618)
    Mark E. Weston and Alan Bain
    Article first published online: 27 MAR 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/bjet.12157
  12. Pattern of accesses over time in an online asynchronous forum and academic achievements (pages 619–628)
    Luisa Canal, Patrizia Ghislandi and Rocco Micciolo
    Article first published online: 1 APR 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/bjet.12158
  13. Technological utopia, dystopia and ambivalence: Teaching with social media at a South African university (pages 629–648)
    Patient Rambe and Liezel Nel
    Article first published online: 4 APR 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/bjet.12159
  14. Assessment of children's digital courseware in light of developmentally appropriate courseware criteria (pages 649–663)
    Fathi Mahmoud Ihmeideh
    Article first published online: 21 APR 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/bjet.12163
  15. Educational games based on distributed and tangible user interfaces to stimulate cognitive abilities in children with ADHD (pages 664–678)
    Elena de la Guía, María D. Lozano and Víctor M. R. Penichet
    Article first published online: 27 APR 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/bjet.12165

Thursday, 18 June 2015

xAPI case studies available #xapi yeah!

In the last few months I have been trying to keep up with xAPI (in vain mostly due to phd writing, I admit, but still some blogposts and reflections did happen at my end). Luckily Aaron Silvers and Megan Bowe are keeping me updated by generously sending out all that is available for xAPI, including shared case studies.

This last batch of xAPI case studies offer short (average 15 min) videos covering xAPI in a variety of settings. So real stories on how people in EdTech are using Experience API in their context.

The videos were taped during the Orlando happening, and they include wonderful experts:

  • Art Werkenthin on tracking PDF annotations with xAPI
  • Andy Johnson as well as Mike Rustici on LRS (learning record store) 
  • Ben Betts on enabling personal data ownership
  • Chad Udell on implementing xAPI in mobile learning
  • David Rogers on using xAPI in medicine
  • Marty Rosenheck on driving innovation in teacher education
  • Megan Bowe on designing analytics with xAPI
  • ... 

A great set of learning videos there, and of interest to everyone with an urge to dig into xAPI.

Monday, 1 June 2015

Call for papers and proposals #eLearning, #MOOC, #mlearning

A quick list with calls for papers (journals and conferences), workshops and events.

On the verge of submission: Online Educa Berlin 2015
One of the top online learning/training conferences in Europe. This year’s OEB will be addressing this question by looking at the challenge of modernity for education and training. If you have ideas, projects, solutions or findings in this area, we invite you to take part in the event and become a speaker!
Conference location: hotel Intercontinental in Berlin, Germany
Conference date: 2 - 4 December 2015
Deadline for proposals: 1 June 2015 (today, but worth writing it up)
Submission page here.
More informationhttp://www.online-educa.com/

Workshop proposal for MOOC: MOOC based models for Hybrid Pedagogy From the website: "Since the Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) phenomenon started to take off, Higher Education (HE) institutions have been facing a revolution. This revolution is challenging, not only HE business models, but also the established teaching and learning models. Although many scholars have seen MOOCs as a threat, others see in these courses an opportunity to propose and explore new models to transform residential education. These MOOC-based models propose hybrid pedagogies, such as flipped classrooms or blended learning, that benefit from the strengths of both online and face-to-face learning. However, and despite the fact that there are already studies reporting the promising results about the benefits of these MOOC-based hybrid pedagogies, the number of cases reported in the literature is still small. Moreover, more of these cases still need to be defined to help researchers, scholars, and institutional policy makers exploit the affordances of MOOC technologies, pedagogies, and formats to enhance on-campus education. Participants from the different domains and roles (students, scholars, researchers, or decision-makers) are welcome to participate in the workshop. In this workshop, we will follow up on the discussion about innovative MOOC-based models for hybrid pedagogies that has just started. The idea is to offer an open space for sharing and learning about the experiences of the different participants in order to identify the variety of models that have been investigated and propose a taxonomy of concepts that could serve as a reference to others."
This workshop is part of the EC-TEL conferenceConference location: Hotel Beatriz in Toledo, Spain
Conference date: 18 - 20 September 2015
Deadline for proposals: 15 June 2015
Submission page here
More information: http://educate.gast.it.uc3m.es/hybrided/

Call for proposals for 'Envisioning Enhanced Wearable Learning'
To enter this EC-TEL 2015 Design Challenge, submit a 500 abstract (approx. 2 pages) as PDF via EasyChair and design samples of own work (e.g. mock-ups, videos, prototypes) via our YouTube channel, by creating design requirements using the Requirements Bazaar or by simply pasting a link to your design sample in the abstract. Design samples help the reviewers to understand the solution, the design approach and visual presentation skills of participants. Design samples may be submitted as either PDFs or links to a web site. Submissions may include work from past, current and future projects or may just represent creative ideas independent of any project scheme or research program.This workshop is part of the EC-TEL conferenceConference location: Hotel Beatriz in Toledo, Spain
Conference date: 18 - 20 September 2015
Deadline for proposals: 12 June 2015
Submission page can be found here (Easychair)


More information: http://ht.ly/NoumG

Call for papers motivating students with mobiles - mLearning
International Conference on Interactive Mobile Communication Technologies and Learning,
The special session “Motivating Students with Mobiles” (MsM’2015) invites original papers
(full/short/poster submissions) focusing on mobile learner motivation and engagement, self-
regulation, perceptions, attitudes and acceptance, emotion and affective issues along with
mobile learning performance. Special focus will be given on motivation issues in game-based
mobile learning and wearables-based learning.
Conference location: Mediterranean Palace Hotel, Thessaloniki, Greece
Conference date: 19 - 20 November 2015
Deadline for proposals: 24 June 2015
More information here: http://imcl-conference.org/imcl2015/documents/msm.pdf

Workshop Colombia University, New York
This workshop plans to bring together educators, technologists, researchers, learning scientists, entrepreneurs, and funders of MOOCs to share their innovations, discuss the impact on education and to answer practical questions such as: How can we best support student learning in MOOC environments? How can MOOCs be successfully integrated with the traditional classroom experience? For which students and in what contexts are these courses most effective? What can we learn from the rich data streams generated by these platforms? How do we structure the learning activities to produce data streams that better support research and learning?
Workshop location: Teachers College, Colombia University, New York, USA
Conference date: 2 - 3 October 2015
Deadline for proposals: 20 July 2015
Submission page here
More information: http://lwmoocs2.weebly.com/call-for-papers.html

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Try out new conference formats #emoocs2015

With the #eMOOCs2015 conference coming to a finish, it is time for me as the experience track chair to look back and think about what happened, how, and the feeling it gave me and possibly others as well.

Trying out other formats during the conference
The experience track of a MOOC conference has one big advantage: you can say YES to any proposal that is offered, or suggest them, or think of them and try them out on the spot. All of that happened. We - all participants within and beyond the conference - came up with formats to test:

  • a flipped conference mode in pecha kucha style, 
  • an e-buddy style hangout online, and 
  • unprepared speakers taking the floor: an open call to speak ad hoc filling in open speaking spots. 

Flipped conference mode: from open video, to pecha kucha and an engaged audience
The idea: put the 5 best (= those who got the highest scores from the reviewing panel) papers of each conference track on a MOOC platform about 3 weeks before the conference. Ask the authors of those papers to make a short (= approx 5 min) video describing their MOOC project adding some key questions. Enable people - insight and outside of the conference - to have a look, pose questions, add comments... to all of these papers/videos. These videos and papers were put on the ConfX MOOC, which is available here. Once the conference started we needed to find a way to balance the discussion that could take place in the room: on the one hand there would be people in the room having seen the videos/read papers, but there would also be people in the room being new to the presented projects. So how do you drive a constructive discussion forward where these two audiences meet? The option we went for was: pecha kucha style: each of the participants in the f-2-f session had 20 slides, each taking up to 20 seconds, to describe their project. Leaving 18 minutes for questions and answers with the audience. Because this was a new format, an extra physical incentive was added: Belgian chocolates were given to all those participants that posed a question. How did it go? First the audience was hesitant, but as trust and confidence grew, people started to shout out their questions. Resulting in the end with 25 questions coming from the audience, providing real dialogues to take place in the room itself, a real treat.

An e-buddy style hangout online
The wonderful, inspiring and public scholars Maha Bali ( @Bali_Maha ) and Rebecca Hogue ( @RJHogue )proposed a hangout, enabling non-conference audience to have a feel of what was happening at the conference, and have a chance to talk to some of the active people in the conference. This resulted in a recorded session spanning multiple continents. You can see the hangout here.
Now just to understand how great Maha and Rebecca are: suddenly the connection dropped Whitney Kilgore and me out the hangout. And Maha had a back-up plan! On the air she asked Aras Bozkurt to share his graph visualization from NodeXL where you could see the social media networks as they were created during the eMOOCs2015 conference, and his MOOCs, especially #rhizo15 and #edcmooc (this is a really great share!).
This e-buddy style hangout is part of a concept by both Maha and Rebecca exploring a new type of conference option, and you can read more about it in Maha's blogpost here.

Open call for speakers to take the floor (open speaking spots)
As I was preparing for my session (a session of an hour and a half, normally with 3 speakers)... I thought I was the only speaker in that room as the timing of our session had come. So I decided to call out and ask if there was anyone in the room willing to take one of the open spots... and Brian Wernham from NooLearn (= an open MOOC platform that lets the crowd build online courses... really nice) took the chance and started preparing a 15 min presentation on the spot. Tiberio Feliz Murias, the wonderful chair of this session also got out and pulled in a wonderful extra presenter: Divina Frau-Meigs of the Sorbonne university in Paris. As these two speakers were found, one planned speaker showed up: Rémi Bachelet, with a great talk on MOOC peer assessments which you can see on slideshare here.
So all of a sudden we were 4 speakers in the room, two planned speakers, two volunteering on the spot. And did it work? Yes! As in MOOCs, the people that actively participate are always people with wisdom, form which we all can learn. And indeed that happened in the room as well. New wisdom was shared, and new dialogues took place.

MOOCs and f-2-f moments mimicking the magic of life
So, for me, there were a lot of experiences happening in the experience track of the conference that lifted the interactions that were taking place. To me there is a parallel between life and moocs, if you keep opportunities open, new surprising knowledge will be created, and new networks will appear ... all of which make up the best moments in life, where magic happens. Thank you to all that engaged... it felt good. 

Networking #eMOOCs2015 a graph analysis & personal account

Conferences are really good meeting places, and they always mold my knowledge thanks to all the old/new people I meet and talk to. I often wonder whether they have more impact on my knowledge then the papers I read, simply because of the connection, the mutual dialogue that takes place. I am already looking forward to joining eMOOCs2016 in the beautiful Graz, Austria that will be lead by the wonderful Martin Ebner and Michael Kopp, and their colleagues. Mark your calendar, by the end of June 2015 the call for papers will already be out, so keep your keyboard/pen/mind alert.

Marc Smith made the wonderful NodeXL graph visualizing the interactions, and networks that were happening at eMOOCs2015. Which reflects the importance of getting the word out while you are in a conference, enabling connections and exchanges to happen in- and outside of the venue.

At the Mons venue, the IRL encounters were also illuminating and stimulating. I got a chance to shake hands with people I have been learning from for a long while: Whitney Kilgore, Dave Cormier, Pierre Dillenbourg, Siân Bayne, Ahmed FahmySimon Carolan, and Christine Vaufrey. Of course there were also those who keep on inspiring me and I have met or meet: Mike Sharples, Sally Reynolds, Timothy Read, Janesh Sanzgiri,Yishay Mor, Steven Warburton, Martin Ebner, Nigel Smith, Carlos Delgado Kloos,
But also inspirational new people: Gavin Clinch,  Darco Jansen, Divina Frau-Meigs, Sabine Schuman, Tiberio Feliz Murias, Ella Harmonic, JingJing Lin, Beatrice Capristan, Su White, Françoise Docq, Bruno Poellhuber, and many others... as my mind is still a bit sleepy after an intense three days.

... and while I was listening to them I realized why it is so important for me to see some people in real life. I felt how driven they were, why they care for others (ethical, philosophical awareness), which made me realize that passion (in action, in philosophy) is the way forward for any life I love. 

New conference formats in Experience track of #emoocs2015 share

With the #eMOOCs2015 conference coming to a finish, it is time for me as the experience track chair to look back and think about what happened, how, and the feeling it gave me and possibly others as well.

Trying out other formats during the conference
The experience track of a MOOC conference has one big advantage: you can say YES to any proposal that is offered, or suggest them, or think of them and try them out on the spot. All of that happened. We - all participants within and beyond the conference - came up with formats to test:

  • a flipped conference mode in pecha kucha style, 
  • an e-buddy style hangout online, and 
  • unprepared speakers taking the floor: an open call to speak ad hoc filling in open speaking spots. 

Flipped conference mode: from open video, to pecha kucha and an engaged audience
The idea: put the 5 best (= those who got the highest scores from the reviewing panel) papers of each conference track on a MOOC platform about 3 weeks before the conference. Ask the authors of those papers to make a short (= approx 5 min) video describing their MOOC project adding some key questions. Enable people - insight and outside of the conference - to have a look, pose questions, add comments... to all of these papers/videos. These videos and papers were put on the ConfX MOOC, which is available here. Once the conference started we needed to find a way to balance the discussion that could take place in the room: on the one hand there would be people in the room having seen the videos/read papers, but there would also be people in the room being new to the presented projects. So how do you drive a constructive discussion forward where these two audiences meet? The option we went for was: pecha kucha style: each of the participants in the f-2-f session had 20 slides, each taking up to 20 seconds, to describe their project. Leaving 18 minutes for questions and answers with the audience. Because this was a new format, an extra physical incentive was added: Belgian chocolates were given to all those participants that posed a question. How did it go? First the audience was hesitant, but as trust and confidence grew, people started to shout out their questions. Resulting in the end with 25 questions coming from the audience, providing real dialogues to take place in the room itself, a real treat.

An e-buddy style hangout online
The wonderful, inspiring and public scholars Maha Bali ( @Bali_Maha ) and Rebecca Hogue ( @RJHogue )proposed a hangout, enabling non-conference audience to have a feel of what was happening at the conference, and have a chance to talk to some of the active people in the conference. This resulted in a recorded session spanning multiple continents. You can see the hangout here.
Now just to understand how great Maha and Rebecca are: suddenly the connection dropped Whitney Kilgore and me out the hangout. And Maha had a back-up plan! On the air she asked Aras Bozkurt to share his graph visualization from NodeXL where you could see the social media networks as they were created during the eMOOCs2015 conference, and his MOOCs, especially #rhizo15 and #edcmooc (this is a really great share!).
This e-buddy style hangout is part of a concept by both Maha and Rebecca exploring a new type of conference option, and you can read more about it in Maha's blogpost here.

Open call for speakers to take the floor (open speaking spots)
As I was preparing for my session (a session of an hour and a half, normally with 3 speakers)... I thought I was the only speaker in that room as the timing of our session had come. So I decided to call out and ask if there was anyone in the room willing to take one of the open spots... and Brian Wernham from NooLearn (= an open MOOC platform that lets the crowd build online courses... really nice) took the chance and started preparing a 15 min presentation on the spot. Tiberio Feliz Murias, the wonderful chair of this session also got out and pulled in a wonderful extra presenter: Divina Frau-Meigs of the Sorbonne university in Paris. As these two speakers were found, one planned speaker showed up: Rémi Bachelet, with a great talk on MOOC peer assessments which you can see on slideshare here.
So all of a sudden we were 4 speakers in the room, two planned speakers, two volunteering on the spot. And did it work? Yes! As in MOOCs, the people that actively participate are always people with wisdom, form which we all can learn. And indeed that happened in the room as well. New wisdom was shared, and new dialogues took place.

MOOCs and f-2-f moments mimicking the magic of life
So, for me, there were a lot of experiences happening in the experience track of the conference that lifted the interactions that were taking place. To me there is a parallel between life and moocs, if you keep opportunities open, new surprising knowledge will be created, and new networks will appear ... all of which make up the best moments in life, where magic happens. Thank you to all that engaged... it felt good.