Gearing up for Moodlemoot

MoodlemootAU 15 is happening down in Melbourne next week, and I’m excited!

This year I’m presenting, participating in a Working Group, chairing a couple of sessions, and catching up with Moodle friends from all over the place. I’m also hunting for answers to a couple of issues we’re experiencing at ACN.

Basically, a moot is an opportunity to reconnect with the wider Moodle community. This is my fifth Aus Moodlemoot, somewhere around my 20th conference in 5 years, and I’ve learned a bit about being prepared.  So here’s the list!

1.  Send out a “Requests please!” email about a week before the event

Last week, I sent out an email to all our educational staff (and staff involved with Moodle), asking for their questions/comments/feature requests for me to chase at the moot.  I recommend doing this a week beforehand, so you’ve got time to collate responses.  Word it carefully, as you don’t want to overpromise and underdeliver.  And many thanks to the lovely Merrin Bennett for this idea last year!

2.  Compare where you are now to where you were this time last year

I know this sounds a little kitsch, but I went back and found the preparation documents I had before last year’s moot, and reviewed them to see how much progress we’ve made compared to how much we wanted to make.  And we’re doing good, but its interesting to see what persistent problems we have – this adds items to the list above, but also gives me pause for why these issues haven’t been resolved yet.

3. Prepare your schedule

Look at the session timetable and map where you want to be, and what you’re hoping to get from it – this is on my to-do list for the weekend, when I catch up with some friends who are also attending the moot.  I find its really important for me to jot down why I want to go to a specific session, so I know what questions to ask, or how it ties in to what we’re trying to achieve at work.

4. Remember the social aspect

Moodlemoots involve folks from all over the world, so keep some space in your schedule for socialising and connecting with like-minded peeps.  If the venue is out of town for you, have a quick look at the Tourist Information pages for the city, and keep some ideas handy for activities you’re interested in – find out if any need advance booking!

For me, a lovely friend and I are planning to do the Phriney Fisher Festival together – it’s running across the whole moot, so check it out :)

5. Check your social media sites

Twitter is one of my biggest ways of connecting with others when I’m at a conference, so I make sure all my devices can connect to my accounts.  This also goes for Slideshare, Storify and Pintrest, and I keep an eye out for other tools I may find useful.  If you’re not on Twitter yet, now is a great time to start – hit me up @moodlechick, I’ll be happy to keep in touch with you :D

6. Know the transport options

This year we’re in Melbourne, where the SkyBus will get you from the airport to the city for a small fare, and the trams can get you around the central business districts (for a small fee on your Miki card, available at some tram stops).  I’m lucky to have a friend with local wheels, so getting to the conference venue will be easy enough, but if you’re not so fortunate, start connecting with other attendees and seeing who’s at the same accommodation as you – you may be able to split taxis, or find the best public transport together!

7. Set your auto-responders to stun!

Make sure you update your email auto-responder and phone answering message, so folks know you’re off to the Moodle event of the season!


8. For presenters…

You’ve promised yourself for weeks that the slides would be done, and now its a week out!  I’m putting the finishing touches on mine, but will also have a thumb drive handy, with slides in .ppt and .pdf format, just in case.  I usually put my contact details on the last slide of my sessions, and I try and upload them to Slideshare as soon as I’m done.  Also, try and get in touch with the session chair well before the session, so they know who to look for, and any special requirements you may have.  Be clear about how they will let you know when your time is up, and anything you’d like them to highlight when they introduce you.

9. For session chairs…

As a presenter – thank you for being there to smile at me as I try to prevent the butterflies in my stomach escape through my nostrils.  Really, thank you!  I’m chairing a couple of sessions, and am scouting out information about the presenters, reading their abstracts and having a question or two on hand for when they are done.  I’ll be looking out for presenters before the first keynote (probably hanging with the cool kids at the Pukunui stand), and in the room well before the session starts to help presenters get set up.  I’m going to check where the tech folks are in case of issues, and be there with water, smiles and encouragement!

10. Have fun!

You would be amazed at the amount of effort from so many wonderful people that has gone into this event happening!  So connect with your community, share your stories, and have fun!


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