Wednesday, 21 May 2008
WebPA is now award wining
I spent last week at the IMS Global annual conference in Austin, Texas, USA. The main reason for being there was to represent the WebPA project for a submission that I made back around Christmas time.
The main aspect of the awards process after being shortlisted comprised of a speed dating style presentation to small groups of conference attendees for five minutes and then all change to the next group. All in all we repeated this for a total of twenty three times. I am really glad that Peter Willmot, a colleague here at Loughborough, was able to accompany me there, as I don't think that I would have been able to do that on my own. At the end of the presentation time I think we had lost the plot, I can't remember what we said, to whom and when. Some of the groups that came round must have had the same things repeated to them a couple of times during our presentation. I do know that this whole process lasted over two hours.
The rest of the conference had some interesting points, but in the main a lot of the sessions where misleading. I attended a session on learning out comes and analytics, which turned out to be more related to data mink for student retention, the challenges and reasons why it is difficult to do.
However, as with every conference it was the networking time that was more beneficial. Various people showed interest in the WebPA system, including representatives from the Open University in the UK, Sakai and the New Zealand Qualifications Authority. All of which I intend to follow up in the near future.
At the end of the conference was the awards ceremony, during which the WebPA project was presented with a Bronze Award. Although I am sure that we could have gotten a silver or higher if we where more prepared for the presentation people herding session. But a bronze is better than no awards at all.
Looking back on the experience I definitely would say that the almost ordeal of going through the whole process including the presentation aspect has been well worth it. Not only will this benefit me as an individual in my career (I put in the submission in the first place), but also the institution that I am based and of course the project and JISC. I will also take the opportunity to thank the JISC Cetis for all the help and support in assisting us with the submission, and supporting us at the conference.