Getting ready for Reform Symposium Conference


I have been helping with Reform Symposium (#RSCON4) preparations, mostly with some training and ideas for presenters and moderators on using BlackboardCollaborate.

Some things work and some things don’t!

We all have our “wish lists” of what we would ideally like to do/like to have available when we present at conferences. It isn’t always possible/practicable to do exactly what we would like. Most venues will have some restrictions of some sort on our dreams.

Online venues may often appear more restrictive than the face-to-face environment. However they do often also have advantages, not least of which is the opportunity for people from around the globe to join sessions at no significant cost in time, travel and money. Enabling a global audience to participate does itself impose some restrictions – not everyone has access to fast Internet connections and if we truly want to be global in our reach we need to consider this when planning our presentations. BlackboardCollaborate is a very good platform to use as it is less bandwidth “heavy” than many alternatives and also has great tools for interactivity and audience participation that can be used without high bandwidth.

Despite the bandwidth advantages of using BlackboardCollaborate there are some applications it is better to avoid or use with great care when participants may face bandwidth challenges. One of these is using application share to present a Prezi.

No Prezi in BbCOthers are:

  • keeping your webcam live throughout – a few minutes at the beginning is usually OK;
  • multiple live microphones – better to restrict the permitted number of live microphones at any one time to one or perhaps two;
  • any rapid scrolling or change when application sharing;
  • using breakout rooms.

Those have evolved for me over several years of BbC experience in working with online students in regional Western Australia where we experience regular bandwidth challenges, but even so are far better served than many parts of the globe!


If you are presenting or moderating and have not yet had the opportunity for any training then join us on Thursday/Friday for one of our regular Edublogs FineFocus webinars (start time 23:00 UTC/GMT on Thursday 10th October – evening in the USA and Friday morning in Asia/Pacific) for a session aimed at helping presenters and moderators. This session is in our usual *Edublogs/BlackboardCollaborate Community Partnership room

*NB you cannot join this room from iPad or Android.




Reform Symposium presenter training – overview


Wow! In the last 24 hours I have facilitated three exciting training sessions for presenters at  “The Reform Symposium (#RSCON3)” If the enthusiasm and committment of those attending is anything to go by this will be a fantastic conference. Despite covering mostly the same ground (we did this three times to try and accommodate as many timezones as possible) the three sessions were very different from one another.

The Sessions

Here are the recording links for the three sessions (all were held in the Edublogs/Elluminate community patrneship Elluminate room). Times are in GMT/UTC if you are not sure which one you attended then (check your timezone here):

First session Saturday 16th July at 04:00 GMT/UTC

Second session Saturday 16th July at 10:00 GMT/UTC

Third session Saturday 16th July at 22:00 GMT/UTC

These sessions were great fun for me as the facilitator although very demanding trying to keep up with all the questions and ensure that everyone was able to take away what they wanted. On the whole I think they were very successful. I have checked through as much as I can to see if any questions were not addressed and haven’t found any obvious ones. If you have one and I missed it then please ask through a comment on this post so that everyone will be able to see the answer.

Anyone who wants to use my map is very welcome. You can access it from Item 4 on my Bits and Pieces page. It is saved as .wbd (to keep the moveable symbols) so you will need to right click and save rather than open it directly.

The powerpoint that I uploaded to the whiteboards is now on slideshare and I have added a couple of slides to expand the info on application share and to explain webtours.

Some Thoughts!

These sorts of sessions are always awesome to facilitate – the thirst for knowledge is just so exciting, and so also is the appreciation and mutual sharing that happens! I always agonise afterwards about whether I “got it right”.

Did I talk too much? Yes almost certainly! Trying to pack everything in to a short time and make sure all questions are addressed is always hard – having text chat is such a help for that as I can pick up questions and try to weave the answers into what I am saying and also anyone else who knows can chip in with the answer.

Were there enough opportunities for people to try things? Almost certainly not! Especially in the last session where we had over 40 people plus a very unhelpful participant who disrupted the session considerably – eventually we removed him.

Did I deal with the disruptive participant in the last session adequately? I don’t think I did, too much benefit of the doubt given! I should have acted to remove him sooner, and this is a lesson learned for me, and one I will always find difficult. I know I am too soft about disruptive presences in face-to-face classes also.

Please leave a comment if you have any thoughts on the sessions or any questions


Training sessions like these are fantastic for me as they keep me thinking and learning the whole time. Stretching me to use all the Elluminate skills and knowledge that I don’t really use every day.

Our Next Regular Webinar

SerendipitybsmallOur next session is an Edublogs “Serendipity” session on Thursday July 21st at 23:00 GMT/UTC (Afternoon/Evening USA) or Friday July 22nd at 7am West Aus, mid morning Eastern States Aus depending on your timezone (check yours here) – in the usual Elluminate room. This is one of our fortnightly unconference sessions where we invite you to bring along your “hot topics” and “burning issues” for our poll on the topic of the day.