2009/365/55: Presenter/Bar View
2009/365/55: Presenter/Bar View by cogdogblog
posted 24 Feb ’09, 9.43pm MST PST on flickr

The topic of the presentation I did today for the EDUCAUSE Southwest Regional Conference with Susan Zvacek (University of Kansas) was Balancing Acts: Making IT Work for Everyone.

We took an alt presentation route to present this via a three act "play" a script of semi-ficticious scripts we wrote meant to highlight some of the conflicts that happen within IT organizations or between them and other parts of an academic unit.

So our "set" was supposed to be a bar at some conference where people have the "real" conversations. The super cheesy Star Wars credit effect video sequence described the scene

I did not get the fully stocked bar I had requested. Oh well.

LiveScribe recorded audio available at

I’m still not sure to make of how this “where was that damned box” presentation went over. People were nice, individually complimentary, laughed some during the silly bits, but I am leaving wondering if they are thinking, “WTF?” I’m not second guessing because I thought it was a great concept, but I am still smarting from my investment in BetaMax video (not really, that was before my time, it just makes for a lazy metaphor).

When you hear a lot of “Nice presentation” comments it leads me to interpret as “Those are the only words I could locate in my scrambled neurons.”

On one level, it wont keep me up at night. I keep wanting to push the presentation form, here bordering on to bad public access channel drama, but at least I had fun, and appreciate my co-presenter Susan’;s eager willingness to play as well as the conference planning committee.

It fell most flat at the point where we left room for questions or sharing of similar war stories. No one wanted to put themselves out there– and I dont really blame them too much; who is going to get up in front of 300 people and share how dysfunctional their organization is? I did offer an anonymous Google form for people to share more privately, and the data sheet is looking stark empty right now.

I love that there is a blog called IT Project Failures — don’t we need more of airing of things that did not work as intended to share the experiences?

It’s not a loss, and in later sessions the PowerPoint trains were in full motion.

And I fell myself still wondering about this conference format of presentations. I am thinking that the stuff we fill our time with- preparing and listening to presentations are all content/activity forms that could take place asynchronously, or anytime. It’s what a lot of us edtech (edupunk or not) folks do with longer blog posts. We provide media, background, resources. My thinking is we can do something better with our F2F conference time than transmitting presentations.

It resonates with this nifty example I heard from CBC Spark presentation at Northern Voice (see The Dog Ate My Vodcast as well as the original story on SmartMobs— I admit I only am sharing what I know of from these sources and have yet to dig more into the sources).

A Colorado chemistry class has turned the structure of class lecture / homework on its head– at home students view lecture videos and access static “content”, the stuff normally done in class– and then use the class time for what used to be homework- projects, problem solving, working through the more challenging part of the lecture material. it seems so basic, but is a complete tradition reversal.

Push the boundaries- do your next presentation with Scotch.

Vodka works as well.

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An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


  1. The bar idea is inspired. People always say that’s what they get the most out of and you brought it inside the conference.

    I’ll have to think of the k12 version- maybe a teacher lounge or teacher work day.

    Tom’s latest blog post…links for 2009-02-19

  2. The link to the presentation does not work.

    I love the idea, and yes I learned more in the bar at each CIT I attended than I ever picked up in the sessions.

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