The Global Education Conference which I participated in last week is a great example of global co-creativity and online interaction. Now in its fifth year this conference is held completely online through the Blackboard platform. The conference included round the clock sessions lasting an hour each, facilitated by hundreds of presenters from around the globe. The Blackboard platform allows written chats among session attendees and oral discussions (if participants’ microphones and connections allow it). Limited video of the main speaker is also sometimes possible.
The conference team has an open call for presenters several months before the conference, and provides ample opportunity through its multitude of volunteers for presenters who may not be familiar with the Blackboard platform to receive training and practice in advance of the conference. All presenters were also encouraged if possible to participate in other sessions throughout the week as well as volunteer themselves to help moderate other sessions. All of this helps limit a sense of hierarchy, encouraging co-creativity and providing an environment of inclusiveness and a feel of everyone being responsible for the conference’s success.
The sessions I attended ranged from 10-20 people (for breakouts) to 30-40 people (for plenary), and as with in-person sessions, the level of interaction varied by the approach of the presenter and the number of people in the session. I tried to keep my session on Enhancing and Nurturing your Global Competency as interactive as possible, and we had some good discussion among the ~12 people who attended) from 4 countries (with about ½ being more active). The powerpoint from that presentation can be found here.
Overall the conference has an impressive commitment to global inclusiveness and interaction (using many social media platforms as well as the interaction on the conference platform). For those who are interested in continued networking after the event, this continues throughout the year on the Global education conference’s website.