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Simultaneous Talks in London and Manchester

Posted by Brian Kelly on 25 November 2010

Giving Two Talks on One Day

I have been invited to give a talk at the Scholarly Communication Landscape: Opportunities and challenges symposium which will be held at Manchester Conference Centre, Manchester on 30th November 2010. On the same day I’m speaking at the Online Information 2010 conference.  However this isn’t a problem; rather I regard it as an opportunity to try out new approaches to speaking at conferences – and I’m pleased to say the the event organisers have also welcomed the opportunity for such experimentation.

The title of the talk is “Personal or Institutional Use of Social Web Services For Scholarly Communication?” and this is a slight reworking of the paper on “Moving From Personal to Organisational Use of the Social Web” which I’ll be presenting at the Online Information conference.

I have used Panopto to create a screencast of the talk. The video of the slides (but not my talking head) has been uploaded to Vimeo. So that on the day the event organisers in Manchester) will be able to display the recording of my talk while, at approximately the same time, I’ll be giving a live version of the talk in London.

Where’s the experimentation, you may ask? Aren’t videos of talking heads at conferences old hat?   That’s true. My interest is in providing event materials in advance in order to explore ways of breaking out of the traditional ways in which the higher education sector has gone about organising and delivering conferences.

The need for such experimentation was highlighted by Martin Weller who recently asked “Am I done with conferencing?“. Martin asked a series of questions about traditional approaches to conferences including:

Why don’t we use the net for the information dissemination function (eg make our presentations live beforehand, as video or slidecasts) and then use the face to face segment for discussion?

OK, I’m game. So here’s access to a video presentation of the slides (in Vimeo), the slides and my talking head provided as a screen capture using Panopto and the slides available on Slideshare.  And the slides and the video are also embedded below.

But since I’ll be multitasking on the day of the symposium I won’t be able to “use the face to face segment for discussion“. Instead I suggested to the organisers of the symposium that I write a post here on this blog which can provide a forum for comments and discussions. And publishing the post in advance, rather than on the day of the  event, will enable others to provide their views and comments.

I should add that pre-recording a video can be nerve-wracking and I know I prefer giving a talk live.  I also suspect that the audience may be more prepared to be critical of a pre-recorded video than if a person was giving a live presentation (and if I was giving a live presentation I would probably update the slides, or the talk, to take into account things that had been said previously). However in order to ensure that there is some physical ‘sense of presence’ at the conference by colleague Stephanie Taylor will be attending the conference and will be able to response to any questions.

But having said that, we wouldn’t make changes if we weren’t prepared to move out of our comfort zone.  It also should be pointed out that Martin’s post didn’t specially address the need for cost savings for events.  If I had attended the symposium it would have involve the costs of the train fare and, probably, a night’s accommodation as well as my time.  Instead I spent an hour or so on making the screencast and gained benefits from spotting weaknesses in the presentation which have been fixed for the talk at Online Information. In addition there is a video and audio of the talk which would probably have not been provided  otherwise.

I should also add that I hope there will be a Twitter event hashtag for the two events, so it should be possible to engage in discussions that way.  And if the two talks do take place simultaneously I’m sure that will confuse people trying to work out what @briankelly is talking about :-)

What’s the Talk About?

But enough of the process, what about the content of the talk?  As mentioned above the title of the talk is “Personal or Institutional Use of Social Web Services For Scholarly Communication?” and this is a slight reworking of the paper on “Moving From Personal to Organisational Use of the Social Web.  The abstract of the talk is given below:

Social Web services, such as blogs, have been used successfully by early adopters. But should we now see such services being migrated to the institutional environment in order to address institutional concerns? Or should the institution seek to exploit the benefits of such out-sourced approaches?

In this talk Brian will provide examples of successful blogs provided by various early adopters within the UK higher education community. He will describe how such bloggers have developed approaches which maintain the authority and integrity of the blogger whilst maintaining a professional approach which is appreciative of potential institutional concerns.

Brian suggests that rather than seeking to move such blogs into an institutional context, the cuts in funding in higher and further education may result in greater use of Cloud Services rather than in-house software. If this is the case then the approaches taken by such early adopters may become mainstream and provide the basis for the development of institutional guidelines on use of Social Web services to support institutional activities.

Note that this talk will be given as a pre-recorded video as the speaker is giving a talk on the same day at the Online Information conference. This double-booking provides an opportunity to evaluate the potential of online delivery of talks at conference.

The slides are available on Slideshare and embedded below:

The video presentation is available on Vimeo and embedded below. Note that a screen capture is also available on Panopto.

In his post Martin Weller said that he was “done with the traditional conference format” and feels that “we should stop wasting [value time at conferences] giving presentations“. Is an alternative approach to pre-record a talk for conference delegates to watch in advance?  But will they, I wonder? And how comfortable will speakers be with recording their talks?

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8 Responses to “Simultaneous Talks in London and Manchester”

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Brian Kelly, Brian Kelly. Brian Kelly said: Simultaneous Talks in London and Manchester: Giving Two Talks on One Day I have been invited to give a talk at t… http://bit.ly/eYKmMV [...]

  2. Kevin Ashley said

    Sorry I won’t be able to chat on the day with you Brian, as I’ll be in Manchester with your virtual self rather than London with the real BK. But congratulations on trying to do both. One other problem with a recorded talk – which also applies to realtime talks where you can’t see a remote audience – is that it’s difficult to react to the audience. Are they looking bored, confused, interested, nodding vigorously, etc ? It’s the difference between talking with people and talking at them, I suppose. I’ll be interested to see how this goes.

    • Hi Kevin
      Yes, I agree this can be difficult. And a simple way of dealing with such difficulties would be to turn down the opportunity to create a video for use at the conference. But I wanted to explore ways of making such pre-recorded or distance talks more engaging, as I think we will see more of this in future.
      The approaches I have taken are:

      o To create a briefer talk than I would give to a live audience
      o To include a picture of myself on the title slide, so that the audience will know (and perhaps recognise) that there’s’ a person behind the disembodied voice. (Note that unfortunately when I created the video there was an unexpected window displayed in from of my face!)
      o To have a friend in the audience who is familiar with the content of the talk and is able to respond to any questions.
      o To try to identify other possible friendly participants who would also be able to respond to questions – that’s you!

      I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the talk goes down well – and if it doesn’t that others can learn from my experiences!

  3. Martin said

    Good to see you taking up the challenge Brian, and thanks for the Panopto tip, will give it a try. I suspect that most people won’t watch the presentation beforehand, after all most people don’t read the paper before a talk. But that doesn’t mean we should spend our valuable face to face time just doing the broadcast part, maybe we could try saying ‘you can watch my full presentation afterwards if you’re interested, here are the key points, now let’s do something interactive.’ Or maybe we have fewer presentations, but people do watch them before, or we get people to vote on which sessions we should run, etc. I just feel there are more options available to us.
    So good luck, be interesting to see how it goes.

    • I’m pretty sure people won’t view the presentation in advance – part from my colleague Stephanie Taylor who I’ve asked to respond to questions on my behalf.

      I agree with you that there are more options available to us. I like the suggestion that we could be providing a range of brief video presentations and getting people to vote on sessions to run. In my case, for example, I now have a video which has already been created – whether it’s used or not again in the future is no skin off my nose – unlike, for example, the talk at Online Information next Tuesday; I wouldn’t be happy if the organisers or the audience decided they wanted to listen to a different talk!

  4. [...] Simultaneous Talks in London and Manchester [...]

  5. [...] Simultaneous Talks in London and Manchester [...]

  6. [...] a paper on ”Moving From Personal to Organisational Use of the Social Web” (which I summarised in a blog post) I suggested that the early adopters of blogs hosted in the Cloud have established best practices [...]

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