Monday, December 20, 2010

Planning for the Virtual International Day of the Midwife 2011

The Virtual International Day of the Midwife is a 24 hour online conference for midwives and anyone interested in the issues of childbirth. It is held on May 5th as part of the celebrations of the International Day of the Midwife - for those of you who are interested, you can follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

New organising committee
Last year's event was so successful we've had to follow the example of Merrolee Penman and her occupational theory colleagues and the World OT Day, and form an organising committee - the event is now too big for me to be able to handle by myself. The committee includes Deborah Davis, Pam Harnden, Chris Woodhouse and Tracey Pemberton.

Here are the decisions we made following our first committee meeting last week.

We are going to keep the current VIDM website which uses the Wikispaces platform. I had thought of moving to a different platform that would look more professional. But we decided to stay with Wikispaces because we are modelling the use of free, collaborative software. It is also telling the story of the VIDM which now has a valuable collection of resources for midwives. However, we will tidy up the website to make it look more professional, more along the lines of the World OT Day website, with photos of the participants and abstracts of their talks.

Format of VIDM
We have decided to keep the format of VIDM the same as the last two years - 24 live events and asynchronous resources. We did play with the idea of having just live events like the World OT Day, but I think that keeping the VIDM open to asynchronous events makes it more accessible to those who cannot get to the live events for whatever reason - the aim of VDIM has always been to be as inclusive as possible.

Recruiting speakers
We have decided to use a mix of recruitment strategies - shoulder tap and call for expressions of interest. Which ever way we recruit speakers, they will be asked to supply an abstract of 50-100 words so the audience can see what they are going to talk about. If we have more than 24 EOI, we will have to develop some sort of process by which we decide which speaker will be accepted. What continues to be vital to me is that we keep VIDM relaxed and accessible, and not turn it into yet another formal academic conference.

We have decided not to pursue sponsorship this time round, mostly because Otago Polytechnic is providing us with access to Elluminate again - thank you Otago Polytechnic!! However, we will keep an eye out for research funding that would help us employ a research assistant who can help us write up the event into a research paper.

Same strategy as always - to disseminate as far and as wide as we can.

Elluminate room or rooms
Over the last two years we have had only one Elluminate room which we used for the whole 24 hours. This has been great for people who have been logging on in a crowd - the room has been kept open and no-one has had to worry about doing anything else. The downside is that we have not been able to record the events very easily. We have decided to follow the example of the World OT Day and have 24 individual rooms. This may be a little more complex to organise, especially for those who are following us for more than one session. But it will make it so much easier to provide recordings.

We will need more facilitators across all time zones, and I think it will be best if they each do two or three sessions so they get into their 'facilitating groove'. And alongside them will be a small team of us who will keep an eye on the bigger picture, probably over a six hour slot of time. I hope that I will be able to incorporate the students of the course "Facilitating Online 2011" to give us a hand, and provide them with practical experience of online facilitation.

If you are interested in being involved in some way with VIDM, please let me know.

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