Every summer for the last seven years we've held a summer conference in Belk Library. The "free-learning conference" was a free and open conference that brought together faculty, instructional designers, technologists, librarians and administrators to explore topics loosely related to e-learning. I think the Free-Learning Conferences were successful, but I also wondered if the reach could be broader--if we'd have a more diverse community and new ideas by offering the conference to a larger audience.
Last Friday, July 20th, our team partnered with our friends in Belk Library to launch a different kind of free-learning conference: a one-day virtual conference that attracted participants and presenters from around the region and country. This fully online conference was powered by Zoom and allowed us to support and interact with more than 300 participants throughout the day. We had presenters from as far north as University of New England, and as far south as the University of Miami. While we continued to have many participants from NC, we also had several other campuses represented, and we were able to hear from and connect with colleagues who would likely not have been able to make the trip to be in Boone.
While there is still a lot of value in f2f contact and communications, the value of emerging technologies is not in how we interact with our devices, but rather how our technologies can enable better connection and communication between people and communities. I hope our first fully-online Free-Learning Conference was progress towards that goal.
Finally, special thanks to the intrepid, planning team who worked with me throughout the summer to plan this event.
Check out some of the recorded sessions on the AppState CAE YouTube Channel here.