Great Lakes THAT Camp was a great success. This was my first unconference, and it really suits my style. The basic premise, as Ethan Watrall said at the end, is to put a bunch of smart people in a room and see what happens. Most people proposed topics beforehand, and in the morning of the first day, the 65 or so people there made a schedule, combining topics and refining workshop topics. Miraculously, this only took about 1.5 hours. After that, we broke out into sessions. It took me about half the first day to figure out the vibe – unlike a traditional conference (Like SCMS, which was also going on this weekend), there are no papers. People had interests or projects and likeminded individuals riffed on the topic, suggesting different ideas, sites, solutions and whatnot. Once I figured out that, instead of having an authority on a topic who then gets questioned, each session was an open forum, I saw how dynamic and useful this could be.
Between the sessions and the twitter backchannel, I learned a lot from these historians, archeologists, archivists, rhet/comp scholars and others interested in digital humanitites. It was fun trying to figure out who people were based on their twitter handles, and having multi-layered disucssions. For example, when someone mentioned a link in a session, someone would tweet the link within minutes, creating an ad hoc link/conversation repository. This method also worked for break-out sessions, where a group of people find a mutual interest and schedule a new session by editing the original schedule and tweeting an announcement. More information was packed into these two days than I would ever see in a traditional conference with more people.
I attended sessions on Open Courseware, social media analytics, teaching with technology, geospatial technology, Zotero and scholarly networks, and scholarly publishing, and we had a vigorous discussion about facebook vs twitter. I hope to The people and topics addressed are too many to mention, but I will give a few links for those interested below.
Delicious links from the conference. Lots of goodies here!
A list of all the campers from the blog.