Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Reflecting on reflection paper presentations

We introduced reflection papers this year at AECT. They were not as successful as I had hoped. This session type is modeled after the reflection paper presentations introduced at CELDA (Cognition and Exploratory Learning in the Digital Age) 4 or 5 years ago.

I just returned from CELDA 2009 and the reflection paper session worked beautifully again there. There are some relevant differences. The sessions at CELDA were about 2 hours in length with 8 presenters in each session. The posters were put up in the room at the beginning of the session. Session attendees were given 15 minutes to take a quick look at the posters at the start of the session after reviewing how the session would proceed. Then, each presenter had 3 to 5 minutes to present the problem addressed – not an overview of the paper but the problem addressed in the paper, why the problem was significant, and the general approach taken to address the problem. There was no Q&A after the individual problem statements. Then, the presenters were seated as a panel at the front of the room and the facilitator (in this case it was one of the conference organizers – I did it twice this past week and Kinshuk did it twice – we had 4 such sessions) provided an overview of the main issues presented and proceeded to ask a few questions of the presenters to get things started. There followed a serious discussion among panelist-presenters and the audience that lasted for about an hour. All four of these sessions turned out be quite good and conversations continued after the session and throughout the conference. Some presenters were seasoned researchers and some were junior researchers.

I am hoping we can approach that kind of session at AECT – high quality, active mentoring involved, good discussion and interaction, and so on. The key difference, I think, is that the reflection paper presenters were given a chance to reflect on their problem and approach as panelists in a very collegial discussion atmosphere with many probing questions.


  1. Hi, Mike, in fact, I enjoyed this hybrid format. I effortfully designed my PowerPoint (here is a partial of the product-http://tinyurl.com/yb2qmff), color Poster, and handouts to participated in my session diligently. Here are two minor observations relating to the reflective paper session: Geographically, it was located at the "peripheral" side of Coe ( we understood there were many “ core” sessions needed to be situated certain spots : ) !) , and psychologically seemingly grads accepted their "status".

    In your blog, mixing the seasoned with junior researchers seems a good strategy to bring in some “mentoring-weight” and visibility.

  2. Mike, et al,
    I have always most enjoyed sessions at any conference that are interactive, that invite discussion or at least follow-up Q & A. I guess I'm just an experiential learner. I am most inspired by new ideas when I have the opportunity to process them with the presenter. I think this format also offers emerging talent a great place to showcase their work.

  3. Thanks for these comments on the reflection paper sessions - we hope to continue these hybrid sessions allowing more time for Q&A and involving senior session discussants. Barbara Lockee already has some good ideas how to improve these sessions but please do not hesitate to pass along your thoughts to her.

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