Friday, 21 September 2012

Recapturing #aufgs2012 Athabasca University's Graduate student conference

Last weekend I had a wonderful and enlightening time in Edmonton, Canada. It was the first time I met several of my online friends and ... during the conference I got to meet people that really made me feel part of a community, the Athabasca University community.The wonderful thing about this gathering was the high quality research that was shared, and at the same time the feeling of being embraced in the community. The conference was small enough to allow real contact to happen. A great combination.

Who did I meet, and why did they make a difference?
During my master I had many, many really inspiring professors and teachers, one of which was Terry Anderson. Terry connects with people, he is on a mission to make technology part of the human social life and his Athabasca landing is a wonderful platform. He also always keeps me focused and on my tows, which is a good thing in academic life.  
Stella Lee is a wonderful person. We met in 2007 during a mobile conference in Fredericton, Canada. She was passionate and brought her presentation with a lot of humor. Afterwards we decided to go and sit on a bench on the sidewalk of a busy street and give people compliments just to make their day... it was fun! In the last few years we have lived and got some changes in our lives, so it was a blast to catch up again. Too short though.
It was Stella who introduced me to Vive(k) Kumar and Ireti Fakinlede. Vive(k), or V, is an intriguing person. He has an air of complete energy over him and I gave him one extra grey hair by asking him to go outside of his wonderfully build online/offline presentation set-up. He did it, so I was very grateful.
And I had the most wonderful discussion with Ireti on social agents, languages and a vibrant Swahili dictum.
I also met Caroline Park, who I have mailed frequently on mobile topics in the past and all of a sudden here she was in full glory, organizing part of the conference. Tony Ratcliffe allowed me one dance, which was really nice. And last but not least, I had the chance to meet with Leslie Lindballe who single handedly got everyone engaged in making music. She also opened up my mind when she talked about her thougths when getting research grant: either work and study or go and live somewhere cheaper and study, while having time to make music due to the cheaper rent. I loved that remark! Fabulous. Leslie combines ratio with heart and ... that seeps into her learning and teaching as well. Just look at her wonderful on learning video.