The main change to the IWMW 2008 timetable this year was the introduction of a barcamp session.  As described on the IWMW 2008 Web site:

Wikipedia defines BarCamp as an international network of user generated conferences, open, participatory workshop events, whose content is provided by participants. A BarCamp is typically one or two full days held at a weekend attended by people with an interest in technology. The day is split into a number of sessions typically of around 30 minutes each. Depending on the number of participants, size of venue, etc. there may be several sessions running simultaneously.

For the IWMW 2008 event we still had the conventional plenary talks and parallel sessions which had been planned in advance. But in addition:

A board [was] provided at IWMW 2008 for people to post up ideas for slots, rooms will then be allocated. Screen projectors will be available in rooms for people to use. During the 45 minute allocated slot there will be time for up to 18 sessions and each session will be 20 minutes long.

This innovation was introduced by my colleague and IWMW 2008 co-chair Marieke Guy, with suggestions from Michael Nolan, Edge Hill University, who shared his experiences of barcamps: “One of the best presentations I’ve seen was titled “stuff I know” and was a guy drawing shapes, arrows and random words on a flip chart while telling us what we should know…“.

And having just had my first glance at the IWMW 2008 feedback forms it seems that the Barcamp idea was a great success.

The Overall views for the event included the comments “Bar camp was an excellent idea that should be utilised more in the future” and “Bit disappointed by the main session but the parallel/barcamp sessions were much better“.

Comments on the Most Valuable Aspects of the Event included
Barcamp and discussion with others and seeing how successfully people have implemented successful change over the last year“, “Barcamp sessions“, “Barcamp” and “Barcamp” 🙂

We were also keen to get feedback on Aspects Which Could Be Improved. Even the responses to this question were all positive about the barcamps: “Bar camps a bit rushed. The session were not too long but changeover cheap drugs online times took too much out of 20 mins, More barcamp stuff please-lets build stuff!“, “Barcamps not long enough” and “Not enough time left between barcamp sessions to get from one room to the next“.

The Barcamp Topics

The barcamps were clearly a success. But what topics were covered? A list of the topics is provided on the IWMW 2008 Web site and is also given below. And note that a page has been created on the IWMW 2008 Ning social network which will enable the barcamp facilitators (and, indeed, the participants) to provide a summary of the session, notes on the discussions and links to relevant resources.

Session1: Wednesday 23rd July 2008 from 14.15-14.35

  1. Sex, Lies and Microsites [see Ning page]
  2. So What Is A Good Open Source CMS?  [see Ning page]
  3. Stuff You Need To Know About iTunesU [see Ning page]
  4. How Can A WCMS Save £3.4 Million In 12 Months? [see Ning page]
  5. Tenish 5-Minute Ways To Improve Your Website [see Ning page]
  6. Web Analytics Guiding Web Development [see Ning page]
  7. Web 2.0 In Student Activism: What We Can Learn From Anonymous [see Ning page]
  8. How Qualified Do You Have To Be To Manage A Website? [see Ning page]

Session 2: Wednesday 23rd July 2008 from 14.40-15.00

  1. Canadian View On Life, Dearth and Social Software [see Ning page]
  2. DIY CMS – Building A Low Budget System, Getting People To ‘Buy-In’ [see Ning page]
  3. Immediacy WCMS In Action [see Ning page]
  4. T4 CMS / Sitestat / Redesign / Rambling Q&A / Discussion [see Ning page]
  5. Barriers To Making Things Work On Second Life [see Ning page]
  6. Simple Scriptaculuous [see Ning page]
  7. Forum: Feedback on Nedstat [see Ning page]
  8. Migrating Into A CMS – What Is Your Experience? [see Ning page]
  9. Live@EDU [see Ning page]

Of course, as the barcamps were fairly informal and may have been provided on an ad hoc basis, there is no requirement for the facilitators to provide such resources, but I think it is useful to have a record of the sessions which were held and to provide an opportunity for those who may wish to have a summary of the session to do so, without myself or Marieke acting as a bottleneck to the creation of such resources.