Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Hybrid presence an emerging format #OEB16

Last week I had the pleasure of being part of a virtual connecting meeting at OnlineEducaBerlin. The initiative came from the VConnecting group. For this session, onsite buddies Christian Friedrich, Hoda Mostafa, and I spoke with guests Jeanine Reutemann (Jeanine researches the affordances of video and has great insights on it!). Ilona Buchem (Ilona has a long standing tech record, her latest research looks at open badges) and Aziza Ellozy (Aziza is a leader in faculty development, and making learning visible). The recording can be seen below (it was a hangout).

For those who are not familiar with the concept of Virtually Connecting through online buddies, have a look at the website. During Online Educa Berlin 2016 there were four virtual connecting meetings (I only could attend one, as I was chairing or speaking at the other moments), and it really provides an additional layer of interest to conferences. I had a previous experience with Whitney Kilgore at eMOOCs2015 which I blogged about here, and which worked inspiring as well.

The format has a basic idea behind it: connecting people with similar interests across conference boundaries (so those who can attend a conference, share knowledge that is provided within the conference to others who are unable to attend the venue).

Although the idea is simple enough, what is interesting is the emerging layer of knowledge that is transmitted. In some way those who attend get a meta layer going. Or at least that was what I felt when joining one of the virtual connecting sessions. When reflecting on why this extra - and to me meaningful layer of learning emerges - I had the idea that it might come from the available expertise in all who entered the conversation. The shared yet complementary expertise gave spice to the conversation, sparking new ideas and links to previous experiences on topic. And I think it was also related to similar interests that come together at that point, and drive the conversation forward. 

In the session that I was in, the conversation covered the plenary keynotes, some ideas coming from the keynote speakers and how we (participants in the virtual meeting) agreed or disagreed, the overall feeling of the conference, the formats and the consequent results of the sessions...