UnConference Sessions | Kent State University

UnConference Sessions

As part of AERI 2016, we will be holding an UnConference event on the morning of Sunday, July 10, 2016.  While many of you may already be familiar with the unconference format, we wanted to share some guidelines with you prior to the session that will help you be prepared to participate fully.

The UnConference offers AERI participants the opportunity to discuss emerging issues or concerns in a less formal setting than a panel, paper presentation, or poster sessions.  There are a few principles to an un-conference: 

  • anyone can introduce a discussion topic for a session 

  • everyone is expected to engage, participate and contribute. If you are a bit shy about public speaking, offer to take notes and blog them for everyone to share, or find another creative way to add something to the group’s experience

  • if you find yourself somewhere that you are not comfortable or productive, follow the Rule of Two Feet: use your own two feet to move somewhere else

At AERI, the UnConference will consist of two parts:

1) Topic proposal session (9:00-9:45 AM)

2) Breakout sessions (9:45 - 12:30 PM)

Topic proposal

Got something you want to discuss? Looking for people interested in the same things you are? Make a pitch and form an UnConference session. Your topic or question may have arisen since our call for paper and poster proposals closed, or may be an idea that is not yet fully formed or tested through research or in the classroom.  The Unconference is your opportunity to gather fellow scholars and teachers to focus on your topic, and may help you further refine your ideas and maybe even help you find a collaborator!  

The rules for pitching are simple:

  • a pitch is succinct – it can take no more than 2 minutes to express, ideally less.

  • your pitch should persuade the attendees to want to discuss it further – open questions are much more inviting than your answers

Things to remember about pitching – un-conference sessions are:

  • topical and current – breaking news and emerging issues are the most engaging

  • informal and conversational – it’s not the place to give the paper you forgot to propose

  • distinct from things going on elsewhere on the AERI program – don’t trump your own presentation later in the week by pitching the same thing here.

We’ll listen to all of the pitches together, and then assign discussion spaces based on a ‘show of hands’ indicating interest. For those of you who want to get a head start on your pitch, you can post your topic on the following website: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/14jLmzSjACHg1-3HBserfIulgtmPY32zJRczMu1ka9g0/edit?usp=sharing. We have started the topic list by including topics proposed by AERI participants at the time of their application to the conference. Check back with the list as we get closer to the event to see what topics have been suggested.

Breakout Sessions

After the pitches, self-organizing groups will move to breakout areas for discussion.  AERI volunteers will be there to help groups find a room for their session. There will be three 45-minuate time periods, so you’ll have a good chunk of time to get your teeth into a question.

Each group is asked to report on their discussion on the UnConference Google Sheet: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/14jLmzSjACHg1-3HBserfIulgtmPY32zJRczMu1ka9g0/edit?usp=sharing (each session can create its own page in the document to record notes).

Please feel free to direct any questions about this event to the UnConference sessions chair, Karen Gracy (kgracy@kent.edu).