(Almost) all our content from 2006 to 2017 is archived and available online under a Creative Commons license. Please read this post from June 2018 for more background and updates about our conference and current status.
2008 Announcements

Presentation publishing procedure changes for 2008

UPDATE 16 OCTOBER 2008: PLEASE SEE THE POST “Let the content be free! (following CC terms)”

It’s late in the evening prior to opening day for the 2008 K-12 Online Conference. Thanks to many hours of work (not by me but by others working behind the scenes) the 2008 pre-conference keynote is scheduled to “go live” at 12 pm GMT tomorrow, October 13th, as originally announced.

Before the pre-con presentation goes live, however, as conveners we want to share some information about how we are changing our internal processes for transcoding and publishing conference presentation files this year. In addition, we want to address an issue which came up last year and may come up again: Cross-posting conference presentation files to other servers.

TRANSCODING AND PUBLISHING

As in the past, all conference presentations will be linked here from our conference blog and will be actually hosted by the College of William and Mary on their servers. There are two primary reasons for this: accessibility and archival. Many school organizations utilize content filters which block many video sharing websites. By providing all conference materials on our main k12onlineconference.org website as well as hosted files from the William and Mary server, school organizations should be able to “whitelist” (unblock) both the k12onlineconference.org domain and the wm.edu domain and provide access for educators and students to all conference content. The only exception to this is some of the wiki sites utilized to provide additional information for the conference are on other domains. (On Wikispaces.com) By archiving and curating all the primary presentation files of the conference, K-12 Online seeks to provide an ongoing and perpetual resource for educators worldwide interested in utilizing conference materials individually or with groups. If we were to NOT archive these presentation files in a single location, a strong possibility would exist that some files could be moved or server accounts could be de-activated, resulting in a lack of access to conference materials. As in past years, we hope to provide the greatest level of accessibility for conference materials while simultaneously ensuring presentations are archived for future generations.

This year, conveners are utilizing a pro Blip.tv account to upload and transcode presenter-submitted video files. Our Blip.tv account transcodes files into mp3 audio format as well as m4v iPod video format. We anticipate this will save a significant amount of convener time in compressing and prepping files for sharing, since files have been shared in a variety of formats as well as sizes in the past. Files uploaded and transcoded on Blip are hidden (made private) by the convener uploading them. After files are transcoded on Blip they are (as in the past) going to be uploaded individually to the W&M server, and those links (to mp3 and m4v formatted files) will be published on the conference blog when each presentation goes live.

In the past, a single convener (Lani Ritter Hall) formatted and created all 41 presentation posts for the conference blog. This was an INCREDIBLY large and time-consuming task. This year, individual strand conveners are composing and posting presentation posts for the 10 presentations in their respective strands. All presentation files, however (both mp3 and m4v) are being uploaded to the W&M server by a single convener, Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach. This situation is required because of server access permissions permitted by the university.

Because of travel and access constraints (Sheryl is in New Zealand and pays for bandwidth by the minute in her hotel) we are going to publish Dr. Stephen Heppell’s keynote tomorrow with links to our blip.tv website. His presentation files will be available for download from the W&M servers by the end of the week. We apologize in advance if your school organization does not permit access to the blip.tv website, and you are therefore not able to download and view the pre-conference keynote tomorrow from your school network. We do not anticipate having to initially publish other conference presentation links from our blip.tv site, however. Remaining presentation links should all be from W&M.

We are pleased, however, that publishing via blip.tv will permit us to not only provide links to a QuickTime (.mov) version and audio-only (.mp3) version, but also a Flash-video transcoded version which will play in a web browser. This version will play from the blip.tv domain, however, so if blip.tv is blocked on your school network it will not be accessible for you. Again, we plan to address these accessibility challenges as we have in the past by publishing all content to and linking from the W&M servers. The pre-conference keynote availability on the W&M server will be delayed, however, until later this week.

CROSS-POSTING CONFERENCE PRESENTATION FILES

Last year, particularly at the start of the conference, several people offered and asked for conference presentation files to be cross-posted to different servers for downloading. This process of “mirroring” files for download (or more accurately “file shadowing”) on different servers is common for many software downloads.

Because of our need and desire to compile server access statistics for our conference which are as accurate as possible, WE POLITELY DISCOURAGE participants and others from providing mirrored, alternative, or file shadowed copies of K-12 Online presentations on other servers other than W&M. Content in presentations for the 2008 conference is explicitly licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. For the reason just mentioned, however, file mirroring is discouraged during and following the conference.

We are looking forward to another outstanding year of creative idea sharing and collaboration with K-12 Online! Please remember to forward and share our conference marketing flyer with all the educators you know, so as many people as possible can join in the learning which is just STARTING here for the 2008 conference. 🙂

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comments

  1. Alec Couros

    I have been using Blip for some time now, and it’s a great service.

    One of your sentences has me curious – “Because of our need and desire to compile server access statistics” … I understand the desire, but why the need? I could see the need if this conference was tied to funding, but I didn’t think it was.

  2. Alec Couros

    And I guess I just noticed one more thing:

    “Content in presentations for the 2008 conference is explicitly licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. For the reason just mentioned, however, file mirroring is discouraged during and following the conference.”

    I understand what you are asking, but I find the latter restriction contradictory to a CC/ATT/NC license, especially following the conference.

  3. Wesley Fryer Post author

    Alex: All work for the conference has been done entirely by volunteers. At some point I certainly hope we’ll be able to find some compensation for some of the people who make this possible. It’s a ton of work and a HUGE sacrifice to our families… We did apply for a MacArthur Foundation grant last year but were not selected. I hope we’ll try for other funding sources next year.

    There is tension between having boundaries and limits for the conference and wanting things to be open, creative and dynamic. We do want to be able to tell the story of the conference, and part of that involves participation. We estimate 50,000 people participated in 2006 and 100,000 in 2007. Will 200,000 participate in 2008? I don’t know. I hope the growth pattern continues. If we don’t compile server stats, however, we can’t make those types of estimates as reliably.

    Success for the conference certainly goes way behind total numbers of participants, however. For me, seeing and hearing about the personal connections which happen as a result of the conference and the classroom projects which impact student learning are the most exciting. We don’t have elaborate metrics to capture and assess all the things happening in and around the conference, but we do want to have some documentation. I think this helps communicate the value and reach of the conference, which can be important when discussing things like participation value and professional development credit.

    Can anyone else chime in with reasons why it’s a good idea to try and compile participation statistics for the conference?

  4. Wesley Fryer Post author

    That contradiction is why we are explaining our request to not mirror presentations. According to the licensing terms people certainly could mirror presentations. However, because of what I’ve attempted to articulate here, we politely discourage mirroring so we can compile more accurate access statistics.

    We are confident providing our files via W&M and temporarily via Blip will provide sufficient bandwidth for downloads. At some point we may look at other options (I’ve considered suggeesting Akamai) but at this point for the participation levels we have, our publishing options appear to be sufficient to meet bandwidth demands.

    Your feedback and that of others on these and other issues will, of course, be valued and helpful as we look at these issues now and down the road.

  5. Alec Couros

    Wes, I have no doubt of the tremendous work that would go into an important online conference like this. And of course, I know that those presenting have put in many hours as well. I was asking because my understanding was that the conference had no official sources of funding. I am not debating the hard work or arguing the point of the value of metrics, but once I saw the ‘need’ I (rightly) assumed it was tied to some sort of funding model. Thanks for clarifying that there is a desire to find funding for the conference, and I hope that your attempts are successful. I would add that it is important to me, as a contributor, that this be made explicit (as you have done so). Understanding the organization and organizational objectives of any institution, journal, or conference that I contribute to is important to me as one who believes in openness, transparency, and non-commercial uses of the content I create. And, I guess I won’t even get into decentralized vs. centralized content …

    I hope that there will be possibilities in the future to talk about some of these issues in more detail.

  6. Wesley Fryer Post author

    I think it would be great to have open discussions about this Alec. As conveners we are continuing to share our work and thinking about about the conference in transparent ways to hopefully promote just these sorts of discussions.

    It may be that it would make sense to change the content control model at some point for the conference. If we did, however, I’m thinking that would take place after the initial presentation “goes live,” since part of the conference buzz is having (during the regular conference) 4 new presentations publish each day.

    It might be valuable to outline and consider benefits versus drawbacks of a decentralized content sharing model. There may be ways to assess participation metrics other than file accesses. And, the value participation metrics may be outweighed by the benefit of a decentralized content sharing model. I think this is an excellent conversation to have.

  7. Chris Betcher

    Wes, how does embedding the Blip content into individual blogs stand?

    Presumably if people use the provided embed code to place the presentation material onto their own blogs, wikis or Moodles, the usage stats will still be tracked at the Blip end?

    Can you just confirm this for me?

    And what’s the policy on embedding? Is it encouraged to spread the word? Or discouraged to centralise things.

    Chris

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