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Organising Blended Events

November 28th, 2008 by Graham Attwell

Its been a bit of an event week. Cetis and Emerge held conferences. MirandaNet and the Amplified people held events. I took part in them all to a greater or lesser extent. Online.

Emerge was by invitation. But I turned up at the rest by following urls on shout outs on twitter. Twitter is becoming a professional and social calender.

So far so good. But opportunities for participation and interaction varied greatly. This is partly due to the technologies. From one extreme to the other – Emerge used the Elluminate platform which allows a high degree of particaption whilst MirandaNet had a hand held vdeo camera linked to u-stream. Cetis had no video feed but the event was intensively covered in Twitter and live blogged as well. The Amplified people ambitiously tried to provide four different video streams. With both the MirandaNet and the Amplified event the audio quality was poor. These things happen and I am sure the technology will get better. My only observation would be that whilst people invest a lot of energy into video feeds they seem to ignore the need for high quality micrrophones. Indeed, a preamp to pick up the audio directly would seem a worthwhile investment if people really want to get their event out on the net.

But it is the event organisation or pedagogy which concerns me more. Organising a Blended Event is like organising a belended learningc ourse. You cannot just replace the nromal face to face elements of the course with the smae pedagogci approache son the ineterent. It requires thought and design. And if you really want such a blended prohgramme – rather then just pushing out a video feed of the face to face event – then the design of the event will have to be changed. For Emerge, it was diifcult to see what added value there was for the Face to Face participants. For MirandaNet and Amplified the opportunities for active partication by on-line participants was limited. In some ways the Cetis people who did not stream their conference may have got more interaction through the use of Live Blogging and Twitter than those who did provide a video stream.

We do not really seem to know how to do these things at the moment.

If I get a little time to think about this, I am going to try to start writing some guidelines on how to organise Blended Eevents. But better still, has anyone out there got any ideas?

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