UK Web Focus

Innovation and best practices for the Web

Openness and IWMW 2009

Posted by Brian Kelly on 23 June 2009

IWMW 2009 Fully Subscribed

Bookings are now closed for this year’s Institutional Web Management Workshop (IWMW 2009), with the event again fully subscribed with 190 participants (the limit imposed by the numbers of bedrooms available and the size of the venue for the reception).

Amplification of IWMW 2009

If you haven’t booked a place but do have an interest in the range of plenary talks which will be given, don’t worry – the event will be ‘amplified’.

This reflects our commitment to openness which I argued the higher educational community should embrace more fully in a recent post on Respect Copyright (and Subvert It!).  In that post I also suggested that we need to be more open about the risks and the approaches taken to managing the risks. So here is a summary of the various approaches we are taken to encouraging openness for the event.

Maximising the Impact of the Plenary Talks

The plenary talks at IWMW 2007 and IWMW 2008 were streamed live and we will be doing the same again this year.

We hope to have an official ‘live-blogger’ who will take responsibility for providing a live summary of the plenary talks. This will be available using the event hashtag #iwmw2009 and may also be aggregated in another environment (such as Coveritlive, use of which has described in a Review of Web2.0 amplification at CILIPS Conference) to allow people to contribute to the discussions if they don’t have a Twitter account.

Due to logistical reasons (only one screen display in the lecture theatre)  we will not be providing a live display of tweets during the talks (which means we aren’t addressing the issue of whether a live display would be valuable or distracting). However we intend to make use of a live Twitter display (a ‘Twitterwall’) during the opening of the event and at other times in order to allow participants to say hello to each other if they are not sat in adjacent seats, an approach I felt worked well at the Museums and the Web 2009 conference.

We will also try to ensure that the speaker’s slides are available on Slideshare so that the remote audience is able to view the slides and the talk simultaneously. We know that speakers sometimes change the slides at the last moment – we’ll try and keep the versions in synch, but can’t guarantee this.

Note we’ll need speaker’s permissions for this – and will respect their (e.g. if their organisation doesn’t allow this; they want the freedom to be more open; etc.).

The Risks

I’ve described what we are planning on doing. But what about the risks of embracing openness more fully at an event?

We will be seeking permission from the speakers for the live streaming of their talks. And we do appreciate that there may be reasons why such permission may not be given (the speaker wishes to be able to speak freely or the speaker’s organisation may not allow this). We also intend to have a Creative Commons notice on the lectern (as we did last year) so that a rights  statement will be embedded in the video. We will allow the speaker to change their mind about making a recording of the talk available after the event (we will clarify this immediately after the talk, so that we do not have to write off time which may be spend on post-processing the video).

We will be providing a ‘quiet zone’ in the lecture theatre for participants who wish to avoid possible distractions caused by live-blogging and who do not wish to be photographed or videoed.  We will also ask other participants to respect the guidelines for this area.

We will, of course, be evaluating the event, including the innovative aspects as well as the mainstream aspects.  As we would like to share the user feedback more widely the evaluation form will state that anonymised comments may be published openly.

We appreciate that amplified conferences are still in their infancy, and there may be a diverse range of expectations from the audience, both local and remote. We are interested in learning from related events, such as Dev8DMashed Library UK 2009 ‘Mash Oop North’, Amplifiedat Nlab 09 day and the Eduserv Symposium.

We’d welcome feedback and suggestions. But, please no suggestions that will take too much time and effort – there’s not much time left!

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