January 8-10, I was in Boston, where I represented The Open University and FutureLearn at a ‘design charette’ on motivation in online learning networks. This event was hosted by the MIT Media Lab in collaboration with PERTS at Stanford University and the Raikes Foundation.
I haven’t attended a design charette before – these events are intensive, hands-on workshops that bring people from different disciplines and backgrounds together to explore the design of something (in this case online learning networks and, more specifically, MOOCs). The aim is to identify the visions, values, and ideas of the relevant community, allowing community members to collaborate to create innovative solutions.
I enjoyed my first experience of speedgeeking – individuals sit in different areas of the room, and talk to three or four people for a few minutes. On the signal, each group moves on to the next presenter. In 45 minutes, it’s therefore possible to hear a brief presentation from, and ask questions of, around ten presenters. This is a fairly intense experience for the presenters, cramming everything they want to say in a kind of extended elevator pitch, and repeating ten times. A downside is that the presenters don’t get to hear each other – but overall the format allows for a lot of introductions to be made, and gives you the chance to cover a lot of ground very quickly