I love conference recordings especially of conferences which I could not attend. Thus, I am very grateful to the conference organizers who decide to record their (keynote) events and make the recordings available to the general public. Such a recent event was eLearning 2010 (#ITC10), the conference of the Instructional Technology Council in Fort Worth, 20-23 February 2010.

The speaker line-up was excellent: Nancy White, Jim Groom, and Jared Stein among others. I particularly liked the following:

  • Nancy White with “Online Facilitation 14 Years On: Where are we headed?”
  • Jim Groom with “A Sermon: ‘For Who Hath Despised the Day of Small Things?'”
  • John Krutsch Sr. and Jared Stein with “Late Night Learning LIVE!”
  • Carol Spalding and Paul Harrat debating “Colleges Must Monitor Student Social Networking”

Nancy White and Jim Groom did not only have well-thought out arguments, but also presented them in a very engaging and funny way. Where have you ever won chocolate, books or a bottle of wine at a keynote (Nancy White)? Or has a sermon about social media tools been more compelling than Jim Groom’s rendition? Just these two examples show that keynotes do not have to follow the standard set-up, but could and should depart from them. Of course, it helps when the speaker has a great sense of humor and can respond on their toes.

Jared Stein’s and Marc Hugentobler‘s “Late Night Learning LIVE!” touched upon current learning issues with a sarcastic, ironic, humorous tone, interspersed with ads that drove home their points very well.

Carol Spalding and Paul Harrat argued about monitoring student social networking in a friendly though thoroughly researched debate in which the moderator, Michael Catchpole, who has a knack for making people laugh, watched over their allotted times because they could have debated for much longer.

If I had to choose the keynote that I liked best from the recorded events that I watched, I’d definitely go with Nancy White’s presentation. She presented the history of online facilitation, what has changed over the years, and what needs to be done in the future along with a very personal style of presenting that kept me attentive the entire time, and she also tested a couple of new presenter tools incorporating her own learning in real-time.

Update: Nancy’s reflection on her presentation and the Twitter experiment.

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2 thoughts on “Debating a sermon about online facilitation in the late night show

  1. Kristina, thanks for your thoughtful reflections on the session – even from afar. I really wanted to make it useful for those not in the room since I knew it would be recorded and live-tweeted. I’m never quite sure how to find that balance of how much to attend to in room and external in today’s wired world. Your reflections of the experience from afar are very useful in helping me calibrate! Thanks!

    1. Thank you for your comment, Nancy. I think the live audience should be put first because the recording is a bonus, but still not quite the same thing as the live event. Certain things get lost with the recording no matter how good your equipment is. It already starts with if you can’t hear questions or comments from audience members because they can’t wait for the microphone, and their thoughts aren’t captured. In such a case it would be rather unnatural to repeat the question if everybody in the room heard it clearly just so that it can be on the recording. Sometimes it is possible to rephrase it in the answer without repeating the entire thing, but sometimes it just needs to be let go. And the recording will be missing that part, but I think that is OK.

      Recorded presentations are different for me than live ones (and even livestreamed ones) because I do not feel the atmosphere & energy and don’t have the opportunity of engagement unless there is a backchannel for a livestream. Thus, it becomes somewhat “flat”. For that reason I do not watch recorded theater plays or operas on TV. However, if the speaker is good, then that does not matter so much to me. The good thing about recordings is – besides getting the opportunity to view the talk at all – that they can be reviewed leisurely. Taking notes and going back if I missed something is also easier.

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