Reflecting Allowed

Maha Bali’s blog about education

One Warm Unconference in Beirut #THATCampBeirut

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I just came back from my first unconference

I know I know. I’m the one who wrote that I live an unconference life and I’m working w (the very experienced) Jesse Stommel on the et4online unconference this year – but I had never actually been part of an unconference before.

So today was #THATCampBeirut and it was awesome

It was the unconference after a week-long institute on digital humanities – so many of the people there had been working intensively for some time and were probably exhausted

I got off the plane, took a taxi and got to AUB (joining two colleagues from work who had arrived a couple of days earlier) and finally met David Wrisley who organized both events at Beirut. He and I had been tweeting a storm since we met online in anticipation of this event. He introduced me to so many awesome people on twitter in advance so when i arrived i was already looking forward to meeting them

So the unconference was everything i imagined it to be. I had a chance to talk informally with lots of interesting people, both during sessions and lunch time.  It also made me realize that having lunch off campus a few mins walking distance is a good social activity. It’s not sthg we can do at AUC’s new campus but would be cool if we ever did it downtown

So among the awesome people I met are two awesome pedagogues and digital humanists Najla Jarkas and Zane Sinno (who facilitated one of the first Arab MOOCs) and one Alex Gil of Columbia who we found out is apparently a friend of half my twitter friends but had managed to hide from me before ๐Ÿ™‚

So the awesome lunch and session conversation included exploring interdisciplinary work practices, digital pedagogy (and whether it is needed or different from pedagogy), writing grants and creating fudge space (no really!), #dhpoco, the place of computing and coding in the curriculum, lots of horse/carriage and chicken/egg questions about ed tech, Arab MOOCs, learning styles and whether we should bother w them at all, digital literacy, feminism and academic motherhood, and i also learned at lunch we had sthg like 11 nationalities (in like 15 ppl!), sthg close to 20 languages/dialects, and i learned that while Egyptians find Lebanese dialects soft and flirty, Lebanese people find Egyptian dialects soft and pretty. How weird is that?

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Anyway ๐Ÿ™‚ always great to be in Beirut and at AUB – my favorite campus in the world (aesthetically)

I’ll have to write something more reflective soon ๐Ÿ™‚

I am still not sure what digital humanities are but I have a better idea and I do know I met lots of awesome people (not all named here) and would love to continue to collaborate with them again soon!

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