ALT Live Beta

This has been an experiment I have been thinking about doing for a while now, and I emphasise this is an experiment, hence the beta moniker. I have no idea if this will work as planned or is something that people will engage with.

Amplification of conferences is something that has been happening for a while and I have discussed at length in a previous blog post.

In that post I talked about my social media experience of the ALT Conferences I had attended since 2003. I said that ALT-C 2007 was a bit of a sea change and the first of the ALT Conferences that social media really started to amplify the conference beyond the walls of the physical conference. Amplification can take many forms and Brian’s post about providing an Amplified Event Service is well worth reading.

There are many people who can not make ALT-C for a variety of reasons, sometimes no funding is available, many people interested in the conference don’t live in the UK so making it more difficult to get funding and from my own sector, the first week in September for FE Colleges is the busiest one of the year, so very few FE people can attend the conference in person. For these people amplification of a conference can allow them to “attend” and engage. For some the end result will be that they enjoy the experience and attend the conference the following year.

In the past at ALT-C, though we have had the live streams of the keynotes and invited speakers, most amplification has been textual through Twitter and blogs. A few people used Flickr to share photographs and back in 2009 we did live stream “The VLE is Dead” to a remote audience, however using wireless and no remote microphone meant that the final half of the session, the discussion was either difficult to hear and at one point the stream failed!

However it did make me think about doing something more at ALT-C than twittering and writing blog posts. The inspiration was the experiments on live streaming I had done via my mobile phone at the JISC Conference and a MoLeNET Conference and also the live presentations I had done as part of the MoLeNET programme. Experiences of the JISC Online Conferences had also demonstrated the value of video and audio for amplification in addition to textual stuff.

One of the things though I find with existing ideas on amplification is that they focus on the core content of the conference and miss all the stuff that happens outside the sessions. The chat and discussions people have over coffee. I have been at events that have had a fantastic Twitter stream that gets suddenly cut off as everyone has coffee or lunch. The delegates at the event are continuing to discuss and converse, however it all goes silent for the remote audience!

So at ALT-C 2011 I am trying a new idea in order to capture, create and engage in that “silent” online time. Probably the best way to describe what ALT Live Beta is, is if you have ever watched Glastonbury or T4 on the Beach on the television, as well as the “front stage” stuff, they also have a room back stage where they chat, discuss and interview the people who have just been on stage. ALT Live Beta is a live internet video stream of the “back stage” of ALT-C 2011.

Me and Darren Moon (from LSE) will be hosting, broadcasting and doing all the technical stuff. We will be based in the exhibition area at the conference, we have a little booth to act as a studio. We will be streaming live from 8:30 – 6:00 on Tuesday and Wednesday and 8:30 to 1:00 on Thursday. Though you might want to tune in on Monday afternoon as we set up the equipment and do some final testing.

The video stream will be embedded into this page.

If you have an Android phone then there is a Justin.TV and one for iPad and iPhone. You may need to search for “jamesclay” or go to www.justin.tv/jamesclay/ to watch the stream on your mobile device.

With interviews, chat, commentary, guests, discussion and more, ALT Live Beta will be bringing you the best of ALT-C 2011 and lots of back stage conversations live over the internet.

Now we also want to bring in remote participants and I will be using Skype to do this, so if you are interested in participating remotely please e-mail me with your Skype name. You will need to sign a release form which I will send to you.

If you are attending the conference we do need delegates to come and be part of the broadcast. We want to give you an opportunity to talk about what you are getting from the conference, your views on the keynotes, the invited speakers, the papers, the workshops and all the other sessions. Come and discuss your session with remote participants or continue the discussion that didn’t happen because you ran out of time. Without the contributions from delegates, presenters and speakers this may not work as we want it to.

Recorded highlights from ALT Live Beta will be made available later on the ALT YouTube Channel.

Photo source.

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