Networking Café is Back!

posted May 6, 2014, 10:05 AM by Jenn Cummings

Networking Café is back again at Open Apereo. Networking Café is a fun way to discuss issues of importance to the Apereo community and make new friends.

How does it work?

We are going to leverage the “Wisdom of the Crowd”. Using Google Moderator, we will crowdsource the generation of ideas. The Apereo Program committee will vet the ideas to meet certain criteria, as an initial filter, and the ultimate outcome will be decided by voting of Open Apereo attendees. The top ideas will have a place at the table. Literally. The top dozen or so ideas will each have their own table for interested attendees to gather, meet and discuss.

What if I want to just network, but don’t want to discuss a specific idea?

We are reserving several tables for attendees who would like a less formal and more open approach to hang out and meet others at the conference.

What if I don’t want to attend the event?

Well, it is during a break time, and there will be snacks and drinks and plenty of space in the middle of the room to hang out by yourself or with colleagues. So you may want to come in and just check out what is happening and decide at the time, you know, after grabbing a brownie and a diet soda (disclaimer, I don’t know if there will be brownies and personally don’t care for diet soda, but whatever).

Inspired by Open Space Technology, we encourage the Law of the Two Feet. If at any point during the event you are not contributing, and you are not learning, feel free to get up and go somewhere else. You are responsible for the type of experience you have. And we trust it will be a good one that best meets your needs in the moment.

What is this vetting you are talking about, and if this is truly crowdsource, why are you censoring?

From last year’s event, some of the feedback we heard was that subject matter experts of the various tools felt obligated to stay at the tables representing their respective projects. Since there are many opportunities to learn about the many Apereo open source projects during the conference, let’s use this opportunity as a way to address broader questions that may be of interest to the community, and to encourage everyone to utilize more freedom of choice and creativity. It’s not censoring, it’s… uhmmm.. funneling, yeah, that’s the ticket! 

What are the criteria for questions that pass the vetting process?

* Questions that address issues that cross project boundaries or are common to all projects

* Questions or topics that might initiate new projects or new collaborations within existing projects

* Different ways of using existing projects. For example,  exploring innovative applications with Teaching and Learning using one or more Apereo projects

* Identifying a need that is not currently being addressed by existing Apereo projects

* Topics that relate to Apereo and how it can do a better job of supporting established and emerging projects

* Other topics that may be of interest to the community, are not already covered by presentations, birds of a feather or other existing options at the conference, as long as they are not just a project name. For example, talking about Sakai or what’s new in Sakai or about a tool in Sakai, will likely not be accepted as a topic.

How do we start?

Go to Google Moderator right now! Look at existing topics and vote. Make suggestions for new topics. Voting will take place right up until the day of the Networking Cafe. The results will be posted shortly before the event so you know what the options are.

What else?

That’s it. Food, drink, spaces to gather, and suggestions on how to self organize around a topic will be provided. It is not competing with any other sessions, so come on and give it a try!