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Thursday, October 6 • 3:15pm - 3:45pm
Virtually Connecting as a Model for Transformative Learning

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Virtually Connecting is a #connectedlearning community that is reshaping the ways we think about professional collegiality. In a traditional model of professional development, conferences have always been the key location to build conversations and connections. In the era of the conference hashtag and the meeting back channel, claims have been made that it is easier to keep up with conference conversations, even from afar. But despite the fact that knowledge is often shared via presentation slides and keynotes are often livestreamed online, this online sharing is still a distant second to the in-person experience. What is missing is the key opportunity to network and converse with people in between the scheduled conference events, the hallway conversations. What is difficult to experience from a distance is transformational learning that results from immersing yourself in a dialogue with co-learners who are talking about the very same things you care about.
A founding purpose of @VConnecting is to enliven virtual participation in academic conferences, widening access to a fuller conference experience by connecting onsite conference presenters with virtual participants in small groups. Using available technologies, virtual conference attendees can meet and talk with conference presenters. VC is a volunteer effort, and its ranks have grown considerably since Maha Bali & Rebecca Hogue founded/piloted VC in early 2015. Each session is recorded and live streamed, to allow additional virtual attendees to participate in the discussion by listening and asking questions via Twitter. At the heart of this effort is a commitment to building and strengthening relationships. Virtually Connecting helps people not only make new connections, but also make nascent connections stronger.
What is special about the emergence of Virtually Connecting as a new #connectedlearning community is the foundational commitment to equity and access when attempting to design new professional learning networks. Virtual Connecting is genuinely interested in lessening that gap between center and periphery, between local participant and distant observer. VC seeks to expand access to smart and dynamic conversations by including many kinds of learners. It is this kind of connecting that will make a difference by transforming our collective sense of collegiality, by opening up the entry points for new knowledge production, and by helping identify our shared purpose.
This panel will consider the current VC model as we share stories of VC programming and design. What does it mean to be collegial in the 21st century networked world? How have we designed VC conference engagement beyond a simple "report out" concept? How can we program for more integrated collaboration with colleagues offsite? What key design features of the VC model have worked thus far? What has not worked? How does online/networked virtual connecting inform actual teaching and learning practices? What work can VC do to close the gap between "the center" and "the periphery"?
This discussion will be conducted by colleagues both onsite at UC-Irvine and also off site via Virtual Connecting. Panelists include: -Mia Zamora, -Maha Bali, -Rebecca Hogue, -Alan Levine, -Andrea Rehn, -Autumn Caines, -Nadine Aboulmagd

avatar for Nadine Aboulmagd

Nadine Aboulmagd

Senior Instructional Designer & Instructor, American University in Cairo
Hello, I'm the Senior Instructional Designer at the Center for Learning and Teaching at the American University in Cairo. My interests and expertise are in instructional design, online & blended learning, digital pedagogy, educational technology, digital literacies and open educational... Read More →
avatar for Maha Bali

Maha Bali

Professor of Practice, American University in Cairo
Maha Bali is Associate Professor of Practice at the Center for Learning and Teaching at the American University in Cairo. She has a PhD in Education from the University of Sheffield, UK. She is co-founder of virtuallyconnecting.org (a grassroots movement that challenges academic... Read More →
avatar for Autumm Caines

Autumm Caines

Associate Director of Academic Technology, Capital University
Hi! I'm Autumm Caines @autumm on Twitter and yep those are 2 m's. I'm the Associate Director of Academic Technology at Capital University in Columbus Ohio. I blog at http://autumm.edtech.fm I like to help people in Ed Tech connect with one another through this thing called Virtually... Read More →
avatar for Rebecca Hogue

Rebecca Hogue

PhD Candidate, University of Ottawa
I’m Rebecca J Hogue (@rjhogue). I’m a blogger (http://rjhogue.name, http://bcbecky.com, and http://goingeast.ca), a scholar, an educator, and aspiring writer. I'm a PhD Candidate at the University of Ottawa and an Associate Lecturer at the University of Massachusetts-Boston... Read More →
avatar for Mia Zamora

Mia Zamora

Associate Professor, School of English Studies, Kean University
Writer. Educator. Connector. Maker.Associate Professor of English, Director of MA in Writing Studies & Kean University Writing Project; DML blogger.

Thursday October 6, 2016 3:15pm - 3:45pm PDT
Emerald Bay E