Unearthing the Community: A Surprisingly Rapid ResultPosted: November 20, 2012
Next Monday I am co-hosting the first Adelaide Computing Education Conventicle, an offshoot of the very successful program in the Eastern states which encourages the presentation of work that has gone to conferences, or is about to go, and to provide a forum for conversations and panel discussions on Computing Education. The term ‘conventicle’ refers to “A secret or unlawful religious meeting, typically of people with nonconformist views” and stems from the initial discussions in Melbourne and Sydney, back when Computing Education was not perhaps as accepted as it is now. The name is retained for gentle amusement and a linkage to previous events. To quote my own web page on this:
The Conventicle is a one-day conference about all aspects of teaching computing in higher education, in its practical and theoretical aspects, which includes computer science, information systems, information technology, and branches of both mathematics and statistics. The Conventicle is free and open to all who wish to attend. The format will consist of presentations, discussion forums and opportunities to network over lunch, and morning and afternoon tea.
The Conventicles have a long history in other states, allowing a discussion forum for how we teach, why we teach, what we can do better and provide us with an opportunity to share our knowledge at a local level without having to travel to conferences or subscribe to an every growing set of journals.
One of my ALTA colleagues set his goal as restarting the conventicles where they had stopped and starting them where they had never been and, combining this with my goal of spreading the word on CSE, we decided to work together and host the informal one-day event. The Australian gravity well is deep and powerful: few of my colleagues get to go to the larger educational conferences and being able to re-present some key papers, especially when the original presenters can be there, is fantastic. We’re very lucky to have two interstate visitors. Simon, my ALTA colleague, is presenting some of his most recent work, and Raymond Lister, from UTS, is presenting a very interesting paper that I saw him present at ICER. When he mentioned that he might be able to come, I didn’t wast much time trying to encourage him… and ask him if he’d mind presenting a paper. It appears that I’m learning how to run a conference.
The other good news is that we have a full program! It turns out that many people are itching to talk about their latest projects, their successes, recent papers and about the things that challenge so many of us. I still have space for a lot more people to attend and, with any luck, by this time tomorrow I’ll have the program nailed down. If you’re in the neighbourhood, please check out the web page and let me know if you can come.
I hope to see at least some of the following come out of the First Adelaide Computing Education Conventicle:
- Raised awareness of Computing Education across my faculty and University.
- Raised awareness of how many people are already doing research in this!
- An opportunity for the local community to get together and make connections.
- Some good discussion with no actual blows being landed.
In the longer term, I’d love to see joint papers, grant applications and all those good things that help us to tick our various boxes. Of course, being me, I also want to learn more, to help other people to learn more (even if it’s just by hosting) and get some benefit for all of our students.
There’s enough time to get it all organised, which is great, but I’ll have a busy Monday next week!