Interview with the Folks behind #iMoot2013

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As you know the 2013 iMoot is coming up next week, I was able to do a email interview of Vinny Stocker and Julian Ridden (@Moodleman), two of  the folks behind the scenes of the event put on by Pukunui and supported by a few other organizations (Blindside Networks, and Packt Publishing).

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Registration is available at http://2013.imoot.org/mod/book/view.php?id=31&chapterid=9

Where’d the inspiration for iMoot’s 2013 theme come from?

The inspiration for iMoot 2013’s theme for this year came about when we began to think about the direction online education is taking. Open Source, at it’s core, is all about openness. Moodle, at it’s core, is also about collaboration through openness via a constructionist methodology. Education globally is moving towards openness with the growing trend towards open online publishing via tools like iTunes U and YouTube and the growing movement in MOOCs. Seeing all these existing ideals and emerging trends moving together made an iMoot on “Open” an easy choice to make.

Who all is behind iMoot in it’s 3rd year (orgs and individuals)?

iMoot is itself a collaboration attempt by many in the Moodle community. It is facilitated by Pukunui Technology, and with over 50 people presenting either sessions or Keynotes, and hundreds of participants having conversations either on the iMoot site, the Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/imoot/ or on Twitter #imoot2013 these are the people that make all the difference. We love how the community gets behind the iMoot, it is a great opportunity to learn more about Moodle, and make new friends.

What makes this year different?

This year (with the “Open” theme) we’ve decided to use BigBlueButton to run the presentations. We are proud to promote BBB as a high-quality open source web conferencing system.

What is your favorite memory of last year’s iMoot?

Our favourite memories from last year were seeing the global Moodle community coming together over the four days. Typically online events often come across as stale and clinical, disconnected event. The atmosphere of an iMoot is the opposite of all of these. And it is this atmosphere that seems to just get better each year. We can’t wait to see where the community takes us this year.

What are some of the Moodle addons and technology that make the iMoot work?

The iMoot site http://2013.imoot.org/ is a fairly standard Moodle installation. This was a conscious decision, as it helps to showcase what a ‘vanilla’ Moodle can do.  The only things we have added are the BigBlueButton integration to facilitate the live aspect of the conference and a custom script for displaying the session times.

What do you hope people will take away from the experience?

Our goal at iMoot is to unite the growing global Moodle community; to foster the learning and development of these passionate educators’ practice and encourage collaboration and sharing. If attendees can just take away a small handful of ideas from our many presenters then I would say our job is well done.

In 5 years, is there still an iMoot and what does it look like?

It has grown so much since it’s inception, hopefully the iMoot of 5 years time is even larger and more interactive! We would love to see ways of bringing in live sessions from around the world and turn them into truly “blended” sessions.  We are also keen to try and build the multilingual nature of the event. Moodle is used in 233 countries – it would be great to have participants from every one of them.

What Moodle projects or development initiatives make you most excited these days?

We are passionate about Moodle and the positive effects it can have on groups of learners. It’s impossible to pinpoint individual developments or initiatives, because there are so many, however, the thing that really gets us excited are the regular twice yearly releases of the core Moodle code. It is awesome to see how the Moodle community keeps making a really great product better and better with every release.

We are really looking forward to meeting new Moodlers, and seeing old friends,

Keep Calm and Moodle on!

Vinny, Julian and the iMoot 2013 team.

As a bonus, here’s a behind the scenes video from last year’s iMoot featuring the Moodleman himself [direct video link: http://vimeo.com/42906511]

iMoot 2012 – Behind the Scenes from iMoot Moodle Moot on Vimeo.

5 COMMENTS

  1. Sounds like a wonderful idea. If you’re going to charge money for something, you need to be prepared to provide customer service. I could not register for the iMoot. Several of the links were broken and I feel like the whole experience was a huge waste of my time. Hope others get something out of it.

  2. I have had a wonderful time at #imoot2013!

    The sessions were high quality and it’s been so inspiring to be able to see Moodle best practice examples from all over the world as well as finding out about new Moodle features in Moodle 2.5!

    I myself cannot fault the organisers one bit. Everything worked fine for me (and being a Linux user I am used to things not working out of the box). In fact in all sessions I attended there was always a Pukunui employee and a Big Blue Button representative present to ensure everything was working well and to offer help if the need arose.

    It is true that just before the start of the conference there were some technical issues with the site. However, those were communicated in the forums, on Twitter and on the Facebook page and the team managed to get everything running again very quickly.

    For me personally #imoot2013 was a very valuable and exciting experience and I will continue to benefit from it by watching the sessions I was unable to attend during the summer but even more so through the new connections I have made on Twitter with some truly remarkable Moodlers.

  3. Just want to make one point clear: The iMoot 2013 was NOT a commercial event and the fee charged for registration for 4 days of a full round the clock programme with presenters who are Moodle and learning experts from all over the world is just a small contribution to the expenses of organizing such an event, let alone the work load of the organizers who are normally running a business and who sacrifice their work and private time. The iMoots would not be possible without their enthusiasm and engagement for the cause of learning and also the engagement of all the presenters who do not get paid for their contributions. Setting up the online environment for this event has required more than just creating some courses, everything was so carefully planned to make the virtual conference feel like a real conference. This could only be experineced by being a registered attendee or presenter, making use of all these wonderful features to collaborate, communicate, learn and laugh! Julian and his team from Pukunui did a great job and the people from BBB made it possible to experience mostly flawless sessions, easy to handle. A big thank you for that. This was my 3rd iMoot and I realy appreciated this year’s focus on the change in learning and how Moodle can help there. I will have to catch up on many sessions I couldn’t attend but am grateful to be part of this creative, helpful and enthusiastic community.
    I was in the organizing team of face to face conferences and know how many details you have to consider so I can value the work that has been done here and it is just not fair to complain about minor registration problems when there was always the possibility to contact the team directly.

  4. Agreed, one of the things I like best about the iMoot is that you don’t have to be available 24/7 during the live event and you can revisit recordings anytime. I happened to be on holiday with my wife this year so couldn’t drop in (for fear of my life) but I have the liberty of revisiting all of the awesome sessions after the fact.

    Awesome site, quality experience and always an awesome and engaging audience.

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