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2009 UNC TLT online conference

On Tuesday, March 17, I participated in the University of North Carolina’s 10th Annual Teaching and Learning with Technology Conference. Due to all of the travel restrictions and other budget constraints facing the UNC system, the TLTC Board decided to suspend the registration fee and to host the 2009 conference online. I decided to attend some of the online sessions.

During the Opening Welcome Session, Frank Prochaska, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, noted that this was the first online UNC TLT conference. This conference provided an excellent opportunity for participants to exchange information about the effective use of technology for teaching and learning, and it was a great opportunity to discover some of the innovative approaches that instructors are using in their classes.

The plenary speaker was Bob King who has done a lot of online teaching and is known as “Digital Bob.” King has presented for nine years at the UNC TLT conference, and he was very pleased to be delivering the keynote address. His presentation was entitled “Ready, Steady, and Slightly Rowdy: Rolling into Web 3.0 Katamari-Style.” King says that with Web 3.0 we will need a new attitude. In fact, most of his presentation focused on “attitude.” He sees attitude as a very important part of learning. Attitude is either a “deal maker” or a “deal breaker.” For King, “Web 3.0 signifies a change in the way humans learn from a didactic model to a stochastic model and educators will need a new attitude and metaphors to enact the change.” King encouraged us “elders” to learn from the younger generation by talking with them, finding out what they are interested in, and designing assignments that will engage them. He also encouraged us elders to “get an online life!”

On Wednesday morning, I attended another session on “Student Video Presentations as an Alternative to In-Class Student Presentations.” The presenters (Michelle Harrolle and Charlie Morris) were from North Carolina State University, and they discussed a class project involving a sport finance class. There were 40 students in the class, and the students created a 7-10 minute video presentation. Harrolle explained why she felt that web video was needed in the classroom. She noted that student presentations are a “painful process” for the instructor and that students are “forced to endure” boring presentations. When students develop video presentations, Harrolle believes that students are more engaged through participatory learning and that this type of assignment stimulates creativity. The presenters mentioned that with any technology there will be troubleshooting issues and as Harrolle said: “If technology fails, the overall experience for the students is diminished.” This session was very entertaining with good doses of humor to keep the participants engaged.

The last session that I attend on Thursday morning focused on how librarians at North Carolina State University are using Elluminate to expand their library instructional program. Elluminate offers real-time online learning and collaboration. The presenters were Emily Mazure, Kim Duckett, and Karen Ciccone, and they explained how they were using Elluminate for library instruction. For example: they used the Whiteboard to teach concepts; Application sharing to show search demos; polling to receive feedback; and the chat box for students to communicate. They decided to target Paper Science graduate students in the College of Natural Resources, and they offered several workshops. Unfortunately, only one person attended one session. After this, they decided to create a Pilot Project and offer several workshops via Elluminate. They also marketed the online library workshops by contacting faculty to help promote the workshops. The Pilot Project was more successful, because they had 32 participants who attended five workshops. In a survey, they found that 90% of the students enjoyed using Elluminate.If you want to see a listing of their online workshops, go to:

All in all, this was a great conference! I enjoyed using Elluminate to participate in the conference, and I think that it has a lot of potential for educators to transform the teaching and learning experience.– Bobbie Collins