L@S – flipped presentations!

The last sessions of Learning@Scale were flipped conference presentations, an experimental conference model where we had different approaches from each presenter. This extends the experimentation at this conference in flipping materials. Presenters of sort and long papers were invited to flip their presentations, by preparing a short EdX course for their paper, containing videos that explained the paper contents, and some short activities that could help explain the materials. 

Our  session for the short papers was held at the end of the first day, where presenters who had elected to flip their short paper were in one room, with their laptops, ready to show parts of their course, and those who had elected to use a more traditional paper, were in another room. Unfortunately, all of the food was in the second room 🙂

However, it was an interesting format for the posters, and I think has promise. I think it would be useful if we could perhaps show the intro videos for each of the flipped short papers during the conference, perhaps having them run constantly in the background during social sessions, to help develop interest. 

For the full papers that had elected to flip their presentations, it was a more complicated model, as each presenter had to decide how they wanted to flip their presentation, and to engage a room full of their colleagues, who may or may not have looked at their online course. 

The first presenter elected to flip his presentation by setting up a Google doc, where course participants and those in the audience could post questions before and during the presentation. The presenter would then pause at regular intervals, and the session chair would then sort through the questions on the fly, and to try to ask questions that were relevant, and push forward more discussion (and I have to say, did a great job of a difficult task).

The second presenter asked everyone to log on to a third online system, which unfortunately required an email authentication process, which took some time and failed for some staff. It was a valiant attempt, though, and after a period of time, we managed to get enough groups going, and to have some joint discussions. The third presenter followed a similar approach, in that they also used another system, but it was a simpler system to both access and use.

These sessions were very interesting, and it was good to be involved in these experiments. We had some good discussion amongst our groups as well, as to what worked and what didn’t. I preferred the first model to the others, although I may have got more out of the third, as I hadn’t prepared before hand (!). It did seem strange when we were all in the same room together for only 20 minutes for each paper, and to then spend half of that time alone on our own computers – when we flip anything, the time together should be high value and full of discussion. 

But a great start! I’m looking forward to participating in more of these.


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