Connecting, Curating and Contemplating

A picture of the pier at Glenelg, South Australia. Taken by Paul Goldacre at the Ascilite 2016 Conference and shared on Twitter.

Introduction

I have participated remotely in two conferences in the last two weeks.

Last week it was Ascilite2016.

This week it was Moodleposium2016.

I followed both conferences from my home in rural New South Wales. My proximity to the local telephone exchange means that I can access an ADSL2+ service.

There is a lot of discussion in my town, Braidwood, about the enormous opportunities the National Broadband Network (NBN) could bring to the quality of people’s lives and to new business practices. We hope to be connected but at the moment …

This is a message received from the NBN. "The rollout has not started in your area."

My experiences of the two conferences have encouraged me to think about:

  • Connectivity
  • Connecting expertise
  • Curation

and the opportunities we have for #prosocial, accessible sharing.

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Connectivity

A day after Moodleposium 2016, wrote about “equitable access to broadband” in a Conversation post. Thas points out “There is a significant divergence in the nature and availability of communication and internet services for regional Australia” and draws attention to the emergence of a Regional, Rural and Remote Communications Coalition.

Thas concludes his post with these observations:

it is imperative to ensure regional Australia is empowered through programs focused on digital capacity building.

This should include skills development, assistance to access new technologies and support …

Our area has vibrant schools, a community of home schoolers, a multi-purpose health service, a strong arts community, and resilient rural businesses. One of the town’s entrepreneurs is building a multi-media rich facility to support educational technology projects. All of these groups will flourish with NBN connectivity.

Connecting Expertise

I keep being surprised by the rich diversity of practice that is shared at Ascilite and Moodleposium. My curation of both conferences runs to 150 pages of Google Docs.

I used Twitter as my primary source of activities at the event. I followed the #ascilite2016 and #mpos16 links.

The appearance of Mastodon has encouraged me to think about other channels too.

I am keen to provide a curation of conferences to help me learn more about and reflect on practice. It is my contribution to a process that involves aggregation, remixing, re-purposing and feeding forward (Stephen Downes, 2011).

Emily Rutherford and Jennifer Smith at the closing ceremony for Moodleposium 2016

Accessibility

Ross Mullen discussed accessibility at the Moodleposium. His abstract includes this description:

The presentation will explain what web content accessibility guidelines version 2.0 (WCAG 2.0) is, the types of disabilities a user may have and how those users navigate with assistive technology. By understanding the fundamentals of inclusive design practices with web accessibility will enabled content designers to begin to design more accessible content. We discuss the most common web accessibility pitfalls and how to fix them and how to check your own work is accessible using free online tools.

Ross works at Canaxess in Canberra. Canaxess is “an Australian based web accessibility agency who believe accessibility is not just about compliance, but giving the best possible experience to the end user”.

The WCAG 2.0 Guidelines have been available for as long as I have been posting on Clyde Street and I have done nothing about accessibility. I have read the guidelines now and have followed up on the WebAIM website.

As I followed Ross’s presentation online, I was reminded of Ellen Kuzwayo‘s observation that each form of discrimination brings its own form of discrimination.

Contemplation

My efforts to curate two conferences for personal and shared reflection have given me new opportunities to reflect on connectivism and communities of practice. In addition to the joy of finding such diverse activities at the conferences, Ross has given me a profound moment of clarity about how I might share in a different kind of way.

Photo Credits

Glenelg (Paul Golacre, Twitter)

Mercedes Bends and Altruism Rules (Newtown Grafitti, CC BY 2.0)

Emily Rutherford and Jennifer Smith (Katie Freund, Twitter)

Postscript

This is my first post on Clyde Street that explicitly addresses accessibility issues. I installed WordPress 4.7 and then added the TinyMCE Advanced plugin.

This gives me the opportunity (without coding or scripts) to use a sans serif font (Verdana) and to specify the size of font (14pt). I have included Headings too.

The three pictures in the post have an ALT Text description.

The hyperlink default in this WordPress theme is for urls to be underlined but to remain as black text.

I am going to share this with Ross to seek his views.

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