I hear that the International Conference for the Learning Sciences (ICLS) this year actually has a social media planning group and they’re interested in how I did collaborative notes for past conferences. Yay!
If only there was interest when I was actually doing it in years past, but maybe the time has finally come for critical mass?
One of the main issues with taking effective collaborative notes is getting critical mass of people doing it so that all the sessions are covered. For that there really needs to be exposure, but my tactics usually were to just tweet the urls of the google docs (or etherpad back in the day), and it’s pretty surprising how few academics are on twitter, even for the kinds of conferences I go to…
Another equally (if not more) important issue is when the conference doesn’t have good wifi, which is also surprisingly very often… For as long as I’ve had an Android phone, I’ve been able to get around this by tethering my phone and creating an ad-hoc wifi network for anyone to join. Sometimes, though, even cell reception is bad, like in the basement of a hotel… This issue with access is even worse (for me) when the conference is outside the US, since I’m not likely to tether my phone with international data rates.
Besides taking collaborative notes, I would often also set up a backchannel (besides twitter, too), either through IRC or, like with GLS 2013, a private google doc with specific people I want to be more informal with (snarky, commenting on other things in our lives, planning dinners, etc.)… There’s definitely a research study waiting to happen about how conference goers manage their communication. :)
If anyone is interested, here’s some of the collaborative notes from various conferences I’ve been to in the past few years:
Digital Media and Learning
American Educational Research Association
- AERA 2011 gdoc which basically leads to the wiki that Stian created
- the sad, sad AERA 2012 gdoc that isn’t populated at all since the conf was in Vancouver, making doing online notes pretty costly over cell networks, and because it’s AERA, the wifi sucked.
Computer Supported Collaborative Learning
- didn’t bother creating one for CSCL 2011 since it was in Hong Kong
- Computer Supported Collaborative Learning 2013
Games Learning Society
- Games Learning Society 2011
- volunteered for GLS 2012, meaning I had no time to take notes!
- at GLS 2013, I took notes with my Pepperdine students rather than with the conference at large, but I think this year I’ll make us all do open notes.