After my brief trip to #aWEAR16, I booked it over to Orlando and got settled into my bed at the Swan and Dolphin Resort about 2am. Perhaps it was not the most ideal way to start a conference, but at least the regular conference sessions did not start until noon the next day. As I prepped for my first session, I ran into Allison Dulin Salisbury and bumped into a number of familiar faces throughout the event such as Pat James, Whitney Kilgore, and Patrice Torcivia. I was also excited to run into my boss’s old mentor, Terry Anderson, and hear an old embarrassing story!
As I mentioned in my previous post, I helped coordinate bringing the University of Texas at Arlington’s Professional Learning Communities (PLC) to the event and we had seventeen of twenty attend onsite and three virtually. We definitely turned out in force and I enjoyed seeing this quote:
— Martin Wallace (@makerliteracies) November 16, 2016
While I was in Orlando, I attended sessions that reflected both of our PLC topics this year: Digital Scholarship/Pedagogy and Learning Analytics. There were a number of relevant sessions, but one of my favorites was one titled Cultural Constraints in Learning Analytics Implementation Strategies. I enjoyed chatting with Denise Bollenback about her study involving 21 global experts and 113 adjunct faculty perceptions around the diffusion of learning analytics. For Bollenback, utilizing a broader approach helped illuminate a number of ways in which institutions develop (or don’t develop) a coherent learning analytics strategy. Her goal was to provide insights into stakeholder agency to help plan for institutional adoption and the organizational changes that need to take place to make it successful.
Attending #OLCAccelerate was a good experience for most PLC members, as it provided a broad sampling of session types and topics. There was also a test kitchen, interesting vendors, good opportunities to network, and some dynamic keynote speakers. Another important aspect is the bonding time that the groups can have outside of Friday afternoons at our university. Some criticism of taking the PLC to the event were an overwhelming number of sessions and people, desiring more on the pedagogy side, too much a vendor influence, the cost of the meals and venue, and the relevance of the event to all members of the PLC and their job functions at UTA. Regardless, I do believe that this was a good event and hope that both groups got a lot out of it that they can use in the future!