Monday, July 11, 2011

ICEL 2011: Reflections

On June 27-28 I attended the 6th Annual International Conference on E-Learning (ICEL), along with a friend/colleague with whom I collaborate on various projects. The conference was held at the University of British Columbia (UBC), Okanogan campus in Kelwona. First off, the campus is beautiful - as you can see from the photos below. You can see our poster & handout by visiting this other blog. (this post is cross-posted there as well)

flying over mountains.
Conference opens

UBC, Kelowna Campus
on campus
Some reflections:


Walking up/down hills

View from my room in res.

Walking up and down hills certainly uses muscle not used on the flat prairie, my calf muscles were sore, but it was good exercise!

At first, my colleague and I were not sure to attend to present a poster, kind of like 'second place', however, we decided to do it. Making and presenting a poster was new for both of us (I did do one for a course in my Ph.D. program, so it wasn't completely new for me). Well, I am glad we did this. The posters were up through the first day, then in the morning of the second we stood at the posters and  we conversed with many people - one on one. In this way we could answer the questions the person had, discuss areas they found of interest. I would certainly do another poster. We made great contacts, including a possible future collaboration with some people from the UK. We also found that the keynote speaker, Susan Crichton, was very interested in our work. All in all, great conversations. As a bonus, our presentation was chosen as the 'best poster presentation' - not sure what that really means, but it is nice to have your peers think highly of your work.

This conference is called 'international', and it certainly is. I would guess that at least half of the delegates were from outside Canada and the U.S.. In all 37 countries were represented.It is fascinating to meet and hear about what is going on in so many areas of the world.

from the Eldorado Restaurant
I met so many great, smart and nice people. Several are now twitter &/or LinkedIn friends. I have already exchanged emails with a few. This connecting was probably the highlight for me. On the second day, a person we met who taught at Kelowna took Glenn and I on a quick winery tour, we visited 2 wineries, tasted some fine wine, and we each bought a few bottles to take home! The school bus trip into Kelowna to the restaurant on the lake, the conversation and fun during the meal, and the wine/beer with conversation out in the beautiful night air in Kelowna when we returned to the residence was fantastic. I met people from all over, but especially enjoyed new friends and acquaintances from elsewhere in Canada, Switzerland, Denmark, Scotland, U.K.

What can I say, people try, there were some very well done presentations, but powerpoint is still not always used very well! That aside, there were many good presentations and posters. As I said earlier, it is neat to hear what is going on elsewhere. It is also interesting to know that issues and innovations here are also often innovations or issues elsewhere, the infrastructure, language and customs may differ, but we are all part of this Earth and have more in common than we have differences.

Leaving Kelowna

Final words
This conference was not at the best time for me, I am currently writing my Ph.D. candidacy exam, however, the few days off (I did take and do some reading!) was worth it, for the connections made and the knowledge and ideas gained.


  1. Sounds like an awesome conference, Mike. Great to hear so many countries represented. I would have loved it. Re: final words. So that explains all the work in the sunroom. Good luck with the candidacy exam!

  2. Thanks for commenting, Ray. While the sessions were not equally useful, with some better than others (like any conference) the overall experience - and as you can tell, the people, made it so worthwhile. Yes, I have tried to enjoy the nice weather and do lots of reading, etc in the sunroom. I am on to my last question (its a doozy, too) so back at it!