USDLA 2019 Conference Reflections

The 2019 USDLA National Conference in Nashville was a great opportunity to network and connect with distance learning professionals from throughout the United States. It was our 2nd year as a sponsor of the Virtual Conference.

The theme of tuning up your distance learning was a great connection into the music vibe of the city!

Here is a compilation of some of our favorite pictures, a full recording of our breakout session, and how we supported the local and remote sites.

We presented an encore presentation of our TxDLA breakout session, “Building Community & Improving Your Quality of Life with Video,” on the second day. We love using video to improve our lives at work as well as at home and this presentation resonated with participants who shared additional ways that they have used video, too. The main points that we focus on are how video helps us with human interaction, bridging time and distance, and creating an effective blended experience. If you want to doodle along on our handout, here is the link to it.

How We Supported the Virtual Conference

This was our second year supporting the virtual conference. Discover Video streamed the keynotes as well as awards and i2i Technologies, with the support of Lifesize, streamed, recorded, and facilitated a series of breakout sessions for two days.

We used our framework for designing an effective blended learning environment to make decisions about how to create an equitable experience for both remote and local participants.

  1. Set the intention.
  2. Inventory available resources.
  3. Assess circumstances of the environment.
  4. Make a plan.
  5. Do the plan. Review outcomes.

Our plan for this activity was to use a standards based video conferencing endpoint in the room with the presenter so that we didn’t have to tie up a laptop, have pan-tilt-zoom capabilities for a HD camera, and a high-quality microphone to capture audio in the room for the remote sites as well as a speaker for the onsite participants. The camera was placed to capture the presenter(s) and the computer content was directly connected into the video system so that the remote sites would be able to see the content clearly.

Remote sites viewed the live stream of the event. Roxanne was the bridge between the chat with remote participants and the interactive video with the presenter(s) in the room. This was a change from last year. Last year, some remote participants connected in via two-way video. When they wanted to interact, it was clunky and disrupted the flow of the presentation too much. This year,  Roxanne was the “voice” for the remote participants. They would enter questions into the chat and Roxanne would unmute her video as a signal to Ken who was facilitating in the room. This kept the audio and video flow smooth and the speakers were able to stay focused on the information they were sharing with the audience.

Thank you to all our remote participants for connecting in and for our presenters in the virtual room!