Step-by-step guide to Create an Online Conference

MMVC14 Logo

4th Annual MoodleMoot for 2014 (MMVC14)

MMVC13 3rd annual conference on WizIQ has ended (August 23-25), but you’re invited to watch the recordings and enrol in MMVC14 the conference course area to get updates, content and participate in ongoing discussions. MMVC14 conference course area has opened for participants on learn about socially engaging learning activities and collaborative learning.

Presenting at  MMVC14

You are also invited to present at the 4th annual free 3-day online conference on Moodle and teaching online on August 1-3,  2014.  The submission form for  MMVC14 is now available. Presenters get a certificate of presentation and participants get a certificate of participation if they quality.

Presenting in an Online Conference

Presenting in an online conference empowers both the presenter and the audience. A very close bond develops very quickly between the presenter and the audience. Only presenters and attendees of a live online synchronous class know what I’m referring to. The magic is there and it cannot be replicated in a recording.

MMVC13 Free Online Conference

by Educators for Educators

 Presenting at MMVC13

Reflecting on the Process

The 3rd annual Moodle Moot for 2013 was an amazing experience. I am looking forward to MMVC14, the next Moodle Moot online conference for 2014. Organizing an online conference may seem difficult, but it’s very rewarding. I have been organizing  online conferences since 2007. WizIQ makes the process of creating online conferences and MOOCs easy and a lot of fun.  These are the 20 steps I took in preparing this year’s MMVC13.

Preparing a Moodle MOOT on WizIQ and Moodle

  1. Prepare a proposal form on Google drive to recruit presenters.
  2. Publish the proposal on social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Scoopit, Pinterest and on blogs.
  3. Send an approval message and confirm the time for each of the presentations.
  4. Ask the presenters to provide a profile photo, a short bio, a title of the presentation, a short description of the presentation and a PowerPoint presentation
  5. Read the proposals and respond to the presenters
  6. Create a google drive spread sheet with the following information: (a) Presenter, (b) About the presenter, (c) Title of Presentation, (d) Description of the Presentation, (e) Topic Track, (f) Date, (g) TIME (EST-Toronto), (h) Check the time in your Time Zone, (i) Link to the Webinar and Recording, (j) Link to Presentation Tutorial, and (k) Language of Presentation.
  7. Set up a Moodle website. I created a subdomain of IT4ALL for my Moodle Moot site: http://moodlemoot.integrating-technology.org
  8. Create 3 courses for (a) List of Live Online Presentations (sessions on WizIQ) with no need to login, (b) Presenter Login Area, and (c) Participant Login Area
  9. Set up a live session using the WizIQ plugin on the Moodle for each of the presenters. I made the presenters teachers with no editing rights to ensure that I had full control and no one deleted any of the sessions by mistake.
  10. Ensure that the live classes are public and add them to the courseware in the MMVC13 you had set up on WizIQ site for the conference.
  11. Prepare PowerPoint presentations of bios introducing each of the presenters.
  12. Create a collage of the photos of each of the presenters.
  13. Add the PowerPoint presentations (presenters’, collage, and bio of each presenter) to the content library on the course area on WizIQ
  14. Add the PowerPoint presentations (presenters’, collage, and bio of each presenter) to every live online class (session).
  15. Arrange reruns or practice drills with the presenters and their presentations in a live online class to ensure that the microphone, audio, and webcams are set properly. WizIQ support will do it for you.
  16. Discuss tricks and tips on how to give a presentation.
  17. Email presenters reminding them of the sessions a few days before and then a before their session.
  18. Set up two computers using a different account for each. Record via Camtasia (screencast-o-matic for free on a PC) on one computer so it could be uploaded on YouTube. Use the other computer (another account) to interact with the participants in the chat during the live event. Be ready with links in the browser so they could be shared in the chat box. The important links are: next class, course area for the conference, list of sessions (landing page and google drive doc)
  19. Export and convert videos to MP4 and upload them to YouTube.
  20. Share the videos in the courseware for the participants and presenters and in social networks for the world to view.
It’s very important to get moderators to help out as moderating 12-14 hours a day is very difficult for one person. I also suggest that presenters log into the class 30 minutes before their sessions to ensure that their microphones are set properly. It’s very unpleasant when technology fails to work and a presenter is unable to speak.

Two people had to cancel at the last minute and one presenter failed to turn up, but explained why later on. Trust is a huge aspect of online conferences. I have never been disappointed by any online presenter in the past 5 years. I also organize connecting online (CO09-CO13) live online conference in February of each year and the steps are exactly the same.

Collage Final Final MMVC13

Recordings, Updates, and Ongoing Communication

You’re invited to watch the recordings of MMVC13 by accessing the following places:

  1. Landing Page (list of presenters and links to recordings)
  2. Google Drive Spreadsheet (full information as indicated above)
  3. Conference Course Area (Content, Recordings, Discussions)
  4. Moodle Moot Moodle Site (list of presentations/recordings and discussions)

WizIQ vs Moodle

Why do I use both WizIQ and Moodle? WizIQ is based on SaaS and Moodle is not. I can store unlimited information on WizIQ for as long as I wish because I do not need to host WizIQ or any courses I give on WizIQ. I need to host my Moodle and the courses I add.

Free WizIQ

Free May be Very Expensive

Hosting a Moodle website requires specific programs that you can get within a cPanel, but your hosting company needs to have a WHM or a program such as plesk that enables Moodle to be installed. Moodle has an amazing tracking and notification system that may take more  bandwidth than you had bargained for. You may opt for a dedicated server, if you have 1000s of students. A teacher or a small school cannot afford to pay Moodle partners, who charge from $6000 (on your own server) to $11,000 up front for hosting and supporting a Moodle site. How many of educators can afford that? Moodle partners used to provide hourly support ,but they stopped that because it’s not worth their while.

Business is business, so I understand the need to stay afloat, but what about schools and the stakeholders (teachers, students, parents)? Are schools going to have to fire teachers and increase tuition because the cost of an LMS/CMS is high? Shouldn’t e-learning costs be lower?  So, Moodle may be free to install on your computer, but if you wish to go online and teach with it, you need a sponsor or someone like me who will help out for practically free (see ITHCS). I hope other organizations take the initiative and make Moodle hosting and support affordable for all.

Dr. Nellie Deutsch is faculty at Atlantic University in the MA transpersonal and leadership studies. Nellie is an educator, teacher trainer, researcher, writer, and consultant on e-learning, Moodle, WizIQ, blended learning, teaching, mindfulness and the Alexander practice, and lifelong learning. Nellie earned her doctorate in education and educational leadership with a specialization in curriculum and instruction from the University of Phoenix Her dissertation research (available on ProQuest & Amazon) focused on instructor experiences with integrating technology in blended learning contexts in higher education around the world. Nellie offers free Moodle for teacher courses to new, veteran, and future teachers who wish to teach online, face-to-face or in blended learning formats. She also provides online courses to teachers and ICT people on how to be administrators of Moodle websites. She integrates Moodle and WizIQ live virtual classes in all her courses.

10 Comments

  • Reply August 28, 2013

    Sylvia Guinan

    That’s a lovely image Dr. Nellie. Thank you for this priceless information. I was recording with Camtasia from only one computer.

    That was okay until my own presentation – and then it seems that the Camtasia conflicted with my audio. When I turned off Camtasia it worked again.

    These little tips & tricks make all the difference!!

  • Reply August 29, 2013

    Nan Zingrone

    Great job, Nellie! Carlos and I are hatching an online conference in our specialty that would just live on WizIQ. You’ve done them both only on WizIQ and on WizIQ and Moodle. What would you say the advantages are of also having the Moodle site connected to the conference?

    • Reply August 29, 2013

      Dr. Nellie Deutsch

      Hi Nan and thank you for the kind words, but I prefer to give workshops and model how to create online conferences than to write about the process. However, if you feel this would be useful to others, don’t hesitate to pass on the link of the blog post. I would be happy to help you and others create online conferences and MOOCs using WizIQ and Moodle. Email me and I will be there.

      • Reply August 30, 2013

        Nan Zingrone

        Well I’m sure you’ll be helpful. I was just wondering if you preferred the old way — just the online conference on WizIQ or if you saw significant value added with a Moodle installation as well. I’m already sharing this around! Great blog!

        • Reply August 30, 2013

          Dr. Nellie Deutsch

          Nan, you do not need to use Moodle unless your MOOC or MOOT is about Moodle. Let’s discuss this via email and goole drive so we can get started.

          • August 30, 2013

            Dr. Nellie Deutsch

            Nancy, I prefer only having it all on WizIQ (synchronous and asynchronous). How do others feel?

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