George Siemens and I ran the Course to Discourse mini-conference the other week, to discuss the future of the course. The elluminate recordings are now up if you missed it. Here is the slideshare of my presentation:
I opened the conference and so I was trying to set the tone for what was to come by considering the impact of digitisation on education. I employed a rather reductionist strategy by considering higher education as being comprised of a number of components. I used the analogy of newspapers to consider how each of their components had been weakened by digitisation. I argued that we can think of these various components as being held together like atoms in a molecule. Not all all molecules are equal and neither are all industries – the strength of the bonds between the component atoms will vary. The question then is to what extent are these components in higher education weakened by digitisation and how strong are the overall bonds that make 'Higher Education' a valuable package?
As for the mini-conference overall, I thought it went well. Attendance was pretty good (at about 70 people), but I think we could have done better. I only blogged and tweeted it, but didn't make a real effort to put the call out in mailing lists, etc.
The line-up worked very well I think. George and I bandied a few names around by email, contacted them with a rough brief and put together a quick schedule, and yet I don't think the synergy and flow between them would have been better if we'd spent months planning it and coordinating in intricate detail.
The technology worked well, although I saw a few reports on twitter that some people couldn't get access. I want to run more open sessions like this, and Elluminate seems a reasonable lightweight choice, so I hope access isn't an issue.
The discussion in the sessions was lively, and there has been some continued debate in the Moodle forums that George set up, although I still think this continuation post-event is something we haven't quite cracked yet – how do you make the event the start, rather than the end?
Anyway, thanks to all those who presented (Josie Fraser, D'Arcy Norman, Grainne Conole, Alec Couros, Tony Hirst as well as George and myself) – I really encourage you to check out the recordings of at least some of these talks, as there is some great stuff here. Also thanks to all those who 'attended', and kudos to George for setting it up and sticking with my half-baked idea.