Friday, December 11, 2009

Evaluation of my online event

I am going to use Bronwyn Hegarty’s 2007 reflective framework using the event as a critical incident.

Step 1: Take notice and describe the experience through a description of evidence

Background: I looked at last year’s sessions and what my colleagues were noting on the wiki as their topics. I had made my decision early but did not get around to putting it on the wiki until later. When there are so many of us conducting online sessions it is difficult to be different. I wanted to cover a topic that had not been covered by anyone else. I knew that due to workload my session would be towards the end of the semester so I ran the risk of people being online session weary. I also wanted to make it relevant to my work and to as many participants as possible. If it was a good session, I could use the recording for staff development later. When I saw Lisa Ransom extolling the virtues of the Wimba Classroom paired with the fact that she is the only accredited trainer in NZ I thought I have a winner. The selfish driver of using the event as a staff development tool lead me to invite Erle Harris and Cameron Hynes as presenters of their wonderful work with teaching staff at MIT. There you have it a double whammy – it could not fail – or could it?

Promotion of the event: I promoted the event on the wiki, without a date in the first instance as I wanted to get interest among the online community. I also ran two polls on my blog to gauge the availability of the FOC09 participants. I used the platform of choice, namely wimba create for the first wave of promotion. I sent a voice mail one week prior to the event. This was an event in itself. Three takes and I still wasn’t happy but I was in a hotel and it was late so it had to do. 24 hours prior to the event I sent a reminder out via the group email. This included all the necessary links to the platform and the details of plan B should wimba fail me. Fifteen minutes prior to the event I sent out another reminder. At the 24 hour reminder I promoted the event to people at MIT who I knew were early adopters of technology as I saw it as an opportunity for them to see what MIT had to offer regarding the platform.

Preparation for the event: I had three meetings planned with the presenters. The first to seek their participation. The second to map out the session and test the platform. The third to have a final run through. The first was successful, the second only part happened due to unforeseen circumstances (work commitments and sickness). Following this meeting a course was set up in eMIT (Blackboard at MIT ) to access the Wimba Classroom. Also all the facilitating online communities enrolled participants had access to emit. The third happened prior to the session, more prior than planned actually. I loaded the presentations in eMIT and prepared my powerpoint lead in and introductory slides. I duly ran through the testing of the resources to make sure that we had a seamless session.

Google image

Participation: Fourteen people participated in the event, this included the presenters, participants from the facilitating online communities course and members of MIT staff from the wider invitation.

Reflection on feelings: How did I feel, prepared, unprepared, excited, nervous that no-one would turn up, anxious in case the discussion dried up. My back up plan was to ask people what they thought about the Ascilite conference as I know that some participants had attended.

Reflection on actions and decisions: Having access to the resources at MIT helped. They had a vested interest in the session being a success too as it could be used as a platform to engage more staff with the Learning Technology Centre. From Lisa’s perspective, this is the only accredited trainer in NZ so this could and would be a launch pad of her skills as a trainer and the qualities of the platform. Erle and Cameron both were showcasing their work. This was also a test of their skills and promotion of their tools. Having willing participants both from the course at within MIT helped. They had attended to see the new platform that they were encouraged to use in the quest to produce interactive sessions and provide flexible delivery. My perspective was to demonstrate my skills as a facilitator hence the need for active participants who are willing to get involved. It was my second assessment on the course and I naturally wanted to do well.

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