Thursday, August 03, 2006

More planning

We had a further meeting this week to continue the conference planning and it is all coming together. For a start I felt the need for more of an explanation of an Open Space conference or meeting, and found this explanation: ”a facilitator explains the process and then participants co-create the agenda and host their own discussion groups. Discussions are held in designated areas or separate rooms known as 'breakout spaces' and participants are free to move amongst the discussion groups. Each group records the conversation in notes form, and all of these notes can be combined into a full record of proceedings for the meeting” (Wikipedia). I also found out that online networking continues on following the actual face-to-face meetings so discussions can continue.

Get with the programme
The plan is that our guests will arrive on 17 or 18 September, and be whisked off to sail the harbour on the Monarch to begin the fun. There is a possibility that the group and other interested people can be part of a Hui (gathering) on the first evening and stay at the Otakou Marae on the Otago Peninsula. This has yet to be organised but it would be wonderful, and give our overseas guests a real welcome to our Maori culture. We will also organise a Maori welcome to the conference venue.

The big open space meeting will be held on the first morning or afternoon on 19 September and run for approximately 3 to 4 hours. At the moment we are looking into a venue at the University of Otago.

So far our thoughts are that our guests will introduce their areas of interest and spark off discussion with the audience. This session along with all others will be recorded, and it is hoped that staff in other venues who are hosting our visitors will access the recordings ahead of the arrival of the guests, so that they can use their time to build on what was covered in the Dunedin open space meetings, rather than the whole intro thing having to be repeated. After all an open space meeting is supposed to flow on and build on what went before.

In the second half of the day, it is hoped our guests will spend time with staff in departments working out practical solutions with them for implementing networked learning in their courses. This will be advertised prior to the event so people will have to book "consultation time" in advance.

Hopefully our visiting speakers will provide us with some pre-conference discussion around networked learning to get people interested and to introduce themselves.

On the morning of the last day, 20 September, Leigh would like to take everyone who is interested on a train ride to Taieri Gorge. Discussions can continue on the train while giving our guests a glimpse of Central Otago and middle earth-like country side.

Then our party will pile on to a bus to Christchurch. The start of the roadshow!In Christchurch we are organising a meeting with TANZ (Tertiary Accord of New Zealand) staff, possibly at Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology, and others from nearby institutions will be invited, for example, University of Canterbury and Lincoln University. The roadshow will go by air to Northland Polytechnic. After this the roadshow will fly to Wellington to visit organisations there (not confirmed) and attend eFest. Auckland has not yet been confirmed.

Possible venues: In Dunedin either of the lecture theatre complexes at either St David St or Castle St, University of Otago will be roomy enough. The surroundings are excellent for gathering together during the breaks and for chatting over food and drink. Use of the fast Internet Access Grid is still being investigated both in Dunedin and using nodes available in other locations.

If the lecture theatre complexes are not available, we will check out the availability of the Auditorium at the Dunedin College of Education. It is very likely we will get at least 100 people attending the main presentation and discussion session.

Design of Publicity Materials: On Friday we will discuss design ideas with staff at the University of Otago, Educational Media Unit and hopefully they will help us put together an advertising flyer and sponsorship information pack. A three page flyer would be ideal.

Catering and accommodation: This is to be investigated and tentatively booked once confirm the possiblity of visiting the Marae. The Executive Residence near the university is a very comfortable place to stay.

Technical requirements: Laptops, tablets, audio recorders and possibly video recording of the main session. Internet and data projectors will be available in the venues, and at least two screens would be ideal. The session will be recorded and podcasted on the same day. We are hoping to get access to wireless as well.

Next steps:
  • Confirm guests who are coming
  • Prepare advertising and sponsorship materials
  • Book flights, venues, accommodation and catering, day trips in Dunedin - Otago Polytechnic Tourism students will do some of this
  • Book Access Grid with University of Otago Computer Services
  • Send out invoices to confirmed parties
  • Seek further sponsorship
  • Prepare a funding application for TeLRF with the conference as the springboard for laying the foundations for possible research on networked learning.
  • Look into the pre-conference discussion idea

No comments: