Proposing a Session
Once you have registered, you can contribute to the type of sessions we will have at the Unconference by submitting a proposal. To give it some focus, there are roughly four things people will do in the sessions: Talk, Make, Teach, Play and Show.
Sometimes one session contains elements of all these, but it's also a fair taxonomy for sessions.
In a Talk session proposal, you offer to lead a discussion on a topic or question of interest to you. It could be:
- a longer formal presentation (hopefully in some way interactive)
- a short presentation to get things started (5-15 mins of material followed by an interactive discussion)
- a group discussion (raise a question you want the group to help answer).
In a Make session proposal, you offer to lead a small group in a hands-on collaborative working session with the aim of producing a draft document, a learning object or a reusable idea.
In a Teach session, you offer to teach a skill, either a "hard" skill or a "soft" skill. Think about ways to make it as interactive as possible.
In a Play session, anything goes - you suggest literally playing a game, or playing around as a group with one or more technologies, or just doing something fun or original.
In a Show session, you show, demo or explain a cool project you're working on, tool or method you are using, or great research your doing. You could also put out a call for others to bring things to show on a topic or theme. The time then becomes a group sharing session.
Advice About Leading a Session
If you convene a session, it is your responsibility to "hold the space" for your session. You hold the space by leading a discussion, by posting a "first question," or by sharing information about your program. Be the shepherd - stay visible, be as involved as necessary, be a beacon of sanity that guides the group.
Ask for help holding the space if you need it. You might, for example, put a session on the board and know that you are so passionate about the topic that it would be better if someone else, someone more objective, facilitates the discussion. Choose someone from your team, or another participant who is interested in the topic.
Don't assume people in the room know more, or less, than you do. You never know who is going to be interested in your session. You might want to start by asking people to hold up their hands if they've been involved with the topic for more than five years, for one to five years, or for one year or less.
Don't be upset if only two people show up to your session. Those two people are the ones who share your interest.
Don't feel that you have to "fill" up an hour of time. If what you have to say only takes 15 min and the group has finished interacting-then the session can end. At the start of the conference, we will discuss guidelines for how this can happen.
Don't feel pressure to have everything take "only" an hour. If you start with a short presentation, and then a group conversation gets going, and your discussion needs to continue past an hour - find a way to make this happen. You might be able to keep talking for awhile in the room you are in, or move to another part of the conference area, or post "Part 2" on the agenda At the start of the conference, we will discuss guidelines for how this can happen.
Be Brave! Others are interested in making your session work!
Do think about the ideas that you want to cover in your session, and how you want to cover them. But don't feel as though you need to prepare a great deal. (If you're over-prepared, your session might lose energy.)
Experiment with the kind of sessions you lead. There is no such thing as "failue" an an unconference.
Propose a Session
These are session proposals submitted by other attendees. Feel free to suggest ways the session idea could be improved or aspects that can be extended or explored during the session by clicking on the session title and adding your comments.