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May 02, 2008

Inside out - symposium update

Our annual symposium takes place next Thursday (8th May) at the British Library in London:

Inside Out: What do current Web trends tell us about the future of ICT provision for learners and researchers?

The day is intended to give people a chance to think about the potentially disruptive impact of current Web trends on the provision and use of ICT services within the educational sector, particularly higher education, and will feature talks from a range of perspectives including:

  • Larry Johnson (New Media Consortium, US),
  • Bobbie Johnson (Guardian),
  • Jem Stone (BBC),
  • Geoffrey Bilder (CrossRef),
  • Chris Adie (University of Edinburgh),
  • David Harrison (UCISA / Cardiff University)
  • and Grainne Conole (Open University).

I'm really looking forward to it... though right now things are a bit hectic with all the final preparations and what not.

The event is full but we are planning on streaming all the talks live on the Web, coupled with a live chat facility that will allow delegates (both those in the room and those watching the video stream) to discuss the presentations and ask questions of the speakers.

Presentations start at 10.30am, UK time.

Please note that it is not necessary to register to watch the video stream or take part in the live chat.  However, we have set up a social network for the event and we encourage you to sign up for this if you are planning on attending (either in person or via the video stream).  Doing so will give all delegates a better feel for who is in the audience.

Also note that all the presentations and streamed media will be made available after the event for those not able to see it live.

Finally, we are encouraging people to blog and Twitter about the event - if you do, please use the event tag, efsym2008.

For those with an interest in such things, we are using I S Media to do the live video streaming for us - the same people we used for the symposium last year.  The live chat facility is being done using Coveritlive, which is really a live blogging tool but it supports quite a nice moderated comment facility, so we are going to use it slightly outside its intended space.  It should work OK though.  The social network has been built using NIng.  I'm very impressed with the flexibility and power of NIng and I strongly suspect that would be possible to do an awful lot with it (given the necessary time!) - you basically get full access to the source code if you want it.  Despite that, in some ways I would have preferred to use Crowdvine for our social network, which I think offers a really nicely put together suite of social tools aimed specifically at conference delegates - but unfortunately, the costs were prohibitive for us given the money we are spending on other parts of the event.

Anyway, I'll be keeping my fingers firmly crossed between now and next Thursday and hoping that everything runs smoothly.


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Sorry if this wasn't clear--but we have a free version for people who don't want our professional services.


I think the free version is much better for conferences than Ning because we're focused on helping people meet, whereas they're focused on features (which is just clutter given the attention span attendees have for a conference.

thanks. I absolutely agree with you about Ning clutter and the targetted features of Crowdvine.

I knew about the free option but chose not to use it. Why? Because of the adverts. Ning makes moving up to an ad-free social network relatively cheap, especially for short term social networks such as ours - about $20(US) per month I think.

Note, for the record, I do *not* consider your prices to be a rip-off and, as I said in the main post, I think your product is nicely done and well featured. But for us, as a not-for-profit running a free event for the community and having significant charges to cover for other aspects of the event, we felt we couldn't justify it this time round. We will certainly consider using Crowdvine for other events in the future.

We were also worried about lack of broad uptake of the network by our particular audience - though you might, quite reasonably, argue that if we had used Crowdvine and your expertise we might well have been more successful.

One thing you might want to consider is different rates for the education and non-profit sector I guess?

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