I recently shared my submissions for the CUE 2009 conference in March. Last night I had only two and a half hours (my own fault of course) to modify some of these for the NECC 2009 conference that follows in June. In the end, I took a few interesting approaches as I managed to squeeze in four sessions:
- First, I focused on BYOL sessions. I realized that the 20 Minute CUE tips sessions I submitted would be great if expanded to a full hour Bring Your Own Laptop (BYOL) session, so I focused on submitting these hands-on topics first. I felt good about submitting sessions where participants will be learning by doing. And, in the two that I submitted as “lectures” on account of how much material I wanted to cover, I still designed them so that attendees with laptops could follow along or explore related resources as I speak. And of course, I plan to engage them throughout the session.
- Second, I ignored the “Supporting Research” field in every application. For the BYOL sessions (which focused on mastering a specific new learning tool) I realized that the this section seemed even more irrelevant than usual. So, I simply entered “N/A” in this field. Once I did this, it was so liberating I just continued doing it for the lectures. In the past I either dropped in a mountain of mildly relevant sources (that didn’t impact the session at all), or else really wasted a lot of time finding a few good resources (that didn’t impact the session at all). I’ve always found the NECC applications much more work (for sessions that are no better) compared to other conferences. A title, description, and abstract should be plenty… applicants can include an outline, a purpose statement, outcomes, or supporting research in the abstract if it strengthens their case. Requiring each of these things for each session seems like a waste – and in my case it makes for some very redundant submissions. At any rate, I was pretty happy with my new approach, but it remains to be seen how important this field is to the readers. Perhaps I won’t be presenting at all.
- Third, I spent much less time than usual fleshing out the outlines and word smithing my titles, descriptions, purpose, and outcome. In past years the sessions I spent the most time on (and cared most about) have tended to get rejected, while the “throw away” sessions I also included were sometimes selected. I’m still excited about these topics, but as you’ll see if you click through, they are far less polished submissions.
We’ll see if these approaches are fruitful. In any case, if you’re interested in seeing what I submitted, here are the full submissions below (these are archives from my presenter page at the NECC site, so most of the links won’t work):
- Build A Better Browser: Firefox Extensions for Educators [Formal Session : BYOL] (43713309)
- Do The Twitterbug: Join a Global Learning Community [Formal Session : BYOL] (43729393)
- I Want To Believe: Wikipedia, Knol, and Valuable Online Research [Formal Session : Lecture] (43736447)
- Maybe You Should Drive: Taking Control of Your Professional Development [Formal Session : Lecture] (43734580)
I’m likely to present these topics elsewhere this year regardless of whether or not they get chosen, so I’d love any feedback you might offer even though the deadline has passed. Also, with NECC Unplugged back this yearNECC Unplugged back this year, I’ll sign up to present any of these topics that generate interest even if they are rejected by the selection committee. :)