Each week we meet via Twitter for #IOLchat to discuss current issues related to online learning. Participants include students, instructors, advisors, counselors, eLearning companies, schools, publishers, and instructional designers.
This week our chat moderator attended the 18th Annual Sloan Consortium International Conference on Online Learning (aln#12). The chat was held from the conference venue and participants shared their thoughts about using an event’s designated hashtag to network with other attendees, as well as share sessions and resources beyond on-site attendees via Twitter.
The practice of “live-tweeting” conference events has gained recent attention as a helpful way to disseminate new ideas and innovative research, but is also sometimes discouraged as a distraction in session rooms and is unwelcome by some speakers. Here’s what our participants had to say:
What are the benefits of participating in/monitoring a conference backchannel?
- Helps to stay focused on the presentations – a way to be present and attentive, as well as share key points and resources with others not in the room.
- “It brings in ideas other than the presenter’s, allows true discussion to occur…like-minded people thinking about the idea(s)” presented.
- “Between the tweets and the presentation previews, [followers] get a good feel for the content being covered.”
- “Everyone can learn from a presentation and feel part of a conference. [It] helps spread ideas.” Tweets with photos can really help those at a distance “be there” as part of the extended community.
- Popular issues and topics “bubble to the top” with comments, connections, retweets, replies, etc.
Are there scenarios in which live-tweeting may not be appropriate?
- The multitasking required to listen and compose tweets can lead to distraction – too much focus on tweeting, not enough on the session itself.
- “Live-tweets that disagree with the presenter are fine, but personal negative comments are not.”
What are the best practices for Twitter use during professional conferences?
- Stay positive and professional. Consider Twitter’s capabilities as a form of public communication. Have respect for the presenter’s perspective.
- “If you know you are going to be heavy-tweeting a presentation, sit in the back and respect the presenter.”
- Extend social media courtesies – creating policy guidelines may be too restrictive. “There’s something inherently unsocial about social media policy.”
- “Keep tweeting!” Attendees (both near and far) are listening.
For more from the most recent live session, review the chat feed below. Our past chats can be found on the archives page.
This week’s read-aheads:
This week’s chat feed:
Image credit: derekbruff, Flickr, CC:BY-NC