Presenting Past the 32 People in the Room

I love this topic. I have two complaints. And I have a few possible solutions.


As a conference presenter, I remember the first time I saw that I could upload a file to some webserver that presumably would share the file with conference attendees. That was cool. Later, it became a thing, and now often softly demanded. I remember how hard it was to go back and find those files from my presentation, let alone other presentations. A couple of years ago I had to call one of the conference organizer folks and ask if rather than a file, I could share a URL. “You mean you don’t have a PowerPoint?” I had to tell them I did not. I just had a website with all the stuff I wanted to share. “Nope” No PowerPoint, no sharing.

Thankfully I had other ideas. And of course, there are conference hashtags and all. So I shared, despite the restraints of the event software.

And the web has evolved and we are smarter. Now it is more normal to share stuff though I think we are still learning. Now we record some of the fancier sessions. We share those and the PowerPoint files.

What if a conference website became just what we are experiencing here in #CCCWrite? After the conference started each session that day would be a brilliant blog post with text, images, videos, links, and the opportunity to comment and share. No log in. Just good ideas flowing down the rectangle before you. Like a frickin’ waterfall of brilliance!

We are making progress. Check out this OER conference schedule and the YouTube recordings of sessions. Pretty awesome start. I suppose I think that at this point in time, we could demand a bit more from presenters and make that good information available to the community.

Personally, my strategy these past few years is to bring business cards I make myself on the printer down the hall. They have a cute picture, the name of the presentation and the URL where all the stuff is. I give them to all the people in the room and often leave then one tables during opportune moments during the conference. Sort of spamming the conference community with my stuff. Maybe that’s not so good.

The websites usually look about like this or maybe like this: Some look like this one and others like this one. I have been trying and for me, they work. Good enough.

I am still learning how to do this. And I like to make fun cards.


For my first presentation of my conference experience at a division meeting, I was allowed exactly three minutes. So was a colleague who had attended some other event. Literally, three minutes. It was on the agenda. Three minutes. I sweated through the experience. The VPAA was there. My boss, in the front row. I was terrified. That was in 2008 (still PowerPoint days) and I had attended the League for Innovations Conference in Denver.

Later that year, I was able to share the experience in a longer session with faculty in our Summer Institute. I was still so pissed about the division meeting that I titled the presentation “Joint Division Meeting.” Here is that presentation.

I was not a faculty, but the person who shared their experiences at the division meeting with me was. As noted, she got the three minutes too. That got me asking questions. If we send faculty or staff to conferences, what do we expect upon return? Well, all these years later I have learned that is varies from place to place. As it should, right. My guess is that we could ask a bit more. And I say that because I think two things.

  1. Asking them to reflect on the experience in writing/video/images is good for anyone
  2. By sharing it with the larger community we all stand to learn something.

I know that teams like mine staffed with people who have the ability to share ideas widely, and in many forms, can help faculty do just that. Maybe we could help those conference goers create not only meaningful exhibits of their experiences, but perhaps help them as presenters by imagineering better presentations?

And these things could all be linked together is some space that is organized and understandable. It would be useful for incoming faculty because it would have some great examples of tools and strategies in the classroom. All kinds of things.

So there. Let’s ramp up our vision of delivering experiences. Let’s play music when people come into our spaces. Greet them. Share ideas that can be expressed in the room we are in, but then past the walls of the conference into the world wide community. Just like we are doing here with #CCCWrite.


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6 Responses to Presenting Past the 32 People in the Room

  1. Laura Gibbs says:

    I totally agree, Todd: ramp it up!!! And thanks for sharing all these ideas and examples. I have to confess that I am in despair at the lack of digital trails and sharing-afterwards in the conference culture at my school. Even conferences having to do with technology often lack digital trails or any kind of online presence by the presenters. I find it weird… and any kind of improvements no matter how small are very welcome to a non-conference-goer such as myself! One thing I wrote about in my post is how valuable I find tweets from conferences; that is different from something archival, but it is valuable too. I really have a blast following conferences that have active tweet streams. Hashtags are powerful, and I am very grateful to people who tweet. 🙂

    • Todd Conaway says:

      I love my Tweetdeck. The conference columns change as conferences come and go, but my #ds106 has been there for a long time 🙂

  2. Thatcher Bohrman says:

    The more things change, the more….
    At least now we get them to do sabbatical reports at the institutes!

  3. Todd, I love the business card idea; I’d probably add a QR code too. I know I would have appreciated them many times, even at our local ESD [educational service district]. Here are three conferences that do leave digital trails.
    Global Education Conference Thanks for having solutions! ~ Sheri

  4. Todd Conaway says:

    Nice. I did a presentation at the 2013 Global Ed Conference and at first, the proposal was not accepted:

    But it finally was and this nice persona documented some of it:

    Pretty interesting. And, in many ways, what I was presenting then is similar to this CCCWrite project 🙂

    Big, small world.

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