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Live from OLC

One of the new features that we introduced at OLC Innovate this year was an online live stream that we called OLC Live. Through the magic of Zoom, we conducted more than twenty interviews and gave tours of the conference. You can see the YouTube playlist here: bit.ly/olcliveplaylist.

We were inspired in large part by the excellent work of Virtually Connecting. VC organizes Google Hangouts at dozens of conferences every year in an attempt to open the conference up to people who couldn’t attend in person. VC was active at OLC Innovate this year, hosting four sessions, and the leader on the ground of that effort, Autumm Caines, was also part of our OLC Live team.

Along with Autumm, Dave Goodrich, Kelvin Thompson and I collaborated to line up and conduct interviews and engage our online audience. I had not anticipated how much Zoom would support us, providing both the equipment for the broadcast and the help of the wonderful Paul Carmack, who became our producers for the 3-day long experiment.

Looking back on the experiment, I thought that the interview format worked really well. All of the interviews were great, including several sessions that were switched from discussions to interviews (e.g. Ken Bauer and Laura Gibbs). The interview-on-the-street sessions were also stellar. Dave and Autumm brought us into the Innovation Lab and Innovation Installation, and I think people got a good sense of  both of those spaces. 

The main shortcoming was that I did not do enough advertising and recruiting for online participation. We didn’t know how much organic participation we would get, which left us waiting until the conference started to see what happened. I wish we would have stuck with Virtually Connecting’s strategy of recruiting a list of participants for each discussion section. While this would have limited the size of the participant group, it would have also insured us against not having a participant group. I hope to replace the discussion sections next year with VC sections, if we can convince them to do 1 or 2 a day.

For next year, I would like to integrate OLC Live more into some of the other stuff going on at OLC Innovate. The most obvious place to do this would be to collaborate with the HBCU Summit and the Community College Summit. I would love if they hosted a couple hours each from their space to bring people into those conversations. I don’t know if those sessions take the form of interviews, VC sessions, man-on-the-street, or something new. We would likely still need to support these sessions from a production level.

I was nervous about having dead-air this year, but we ended up adopting a format where we cut away at the end of each segment to encapsulate pieces for YouTube. This worked really well and allowed us to have natural breaks in-between sessions. I would plan at least 10-15 minute breaks in between sessions next year, and would go off air completely during lunch, keynotes, and other events that are being streamed.


Kelvin Thompson kicked off the first session and was a fantastic anchor for OLC Live throughout the first day of the conference. One of the most surprising conversations of OLC Live came in the first 20 minutes of the broadcast, when we were joined by Jim Gareth from Lakewood College. Jim was unfamiliar with OLC and the Innovate conference, but joined OLC Live, because of a tweet from Kelvin. This conversation gave Kelvin a chance to explain what our conference and our Live broadcast were about.

The next clip comes from one of Dave and Autumm’s tours of the conference. In this clip, Dave and Autumm walk us through the OLC Innovation Lab, helmed this year by the effervescent Keegan Long Wheeler.

One of the most important interviews of the conference was Autumm’s conversation with Kate Sonka and Michael Berman. They, along with Chris Gilliard, were co-chairs of the new Diversity and Inclusion Committee.

I conducted the last two interviews of the conference. The first of these was with one of the conference keynote speakers, Jordan Shapiro. Jordan gave a provocative talk about how time is a construct, and we should rethink the routinized daily schedules of school.

The last interview was with Jess Knott, Angela Gunder, and Cathy Russell. Most of our conversation focused on their presentation about applying Joseph Campbell’s concept of the monomyth to learning design. Jess and Angela were conference co-chairs, so we also talked about their experience of the conference and their hopes for next year.

OLC Live Preview

My favorite part of any conference is talking to people. Catching up with friends, chatting with people after a good presentation, and drinking in the excitement in the hallways fill me with ideas to take back home.

For OLC Innovate 18, I wanted to bring this knowledge sharing into the digital space. OLC Live is an attempt to create the space for you and everyone else following the conference from home to join in the conversation.

Starting Wednesday morning, I will be partnering with Autumm Caines, Dave Goodrich, and Kelvin Thompson to host an online conference room. Using a room provided by zoom.us, we will interview many of the conference organizers and presenters. These guests will share their work and talk with you.

In addition to interviews, we will also host open discussions around the key themes of the conference. Based on the program we’ve picked out a few of those themes and invited experts to lead the discussions. We are also leaving plenty of time open so that you can lead the discussion.

On Thursday, at 11am, we will open the room for an Innovate Unconference. We will gather topics on Wednesday and Thursday, and then use Zoom’s breakout rooms to set up round table discussions. Participants can join whatever conversation they want, and share their questions and experiences. I hope we can lure some of the on-site conference participants away from the sessions in Nashville to join in as guests in the unconference you create.

OLC Live is about innovating a pathway to bring virtual participants from the back conference room to instead lead the conversation in their own space. I can’t wait to see you there.

Code Ocean

Sarah Clayton in the libraries organized a demo for Code Ocean today. The company offers reproducibility as service allowing you to upload or import code and data in a variety of open source languages and run it on their servers. The most common use case would be someone publishing their code and data along-side a journal publication so that readers can test it for themselves.

Below are a couple of versions of their interface as embeds. I like how you can manipulate the code, run it, and see the results in situ. I’m particularly interested in how this might be used in place of a GitHub gist to teach both code and the various scientific and engineering concepts that the code facilitates.

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