Laura Gibbs

8. The Wifi Gremlin

Blog Post created by Laura Gibbs on Aug 6, 2018

Yes, those are gremlins in the banner image, and today for my #InstCon30 post I am writing about the wifi gremlin. As you might know, I was planning to do live notetaking from the sessions on Wednesday and Thursday; that was the whole drone idea: I was eyes and ears on the ground for remote participants. But that was... a total fail. A wifi gremlin kept me from getting my laptop on the conference wifi.


My laptop was happy with the wifi in the RDU airport.
And in the Denver airport.
And in the shuttle from Denver to Keystone (wifi in the shuttle: how cool is that!).
And in my Keystone condo.


But my laptop was NOT happy with the conference wifi. There was at least one other person having the same problem as me, and one of the tech support people from Instructure (thank you, Ben!) valiantly tried to help us both, but he could not get either of us on the network. Renee Carney offered to lend me a laptop (thank you, Renee!), but I decided that instead I would just take notes and post them in the evening, which I did; you can see all my session notes (very rough) at the Event Pad, and I'll be using those notes to write up future posts here.


It would have been fun to be live-posting, but to be honest, I found myself so overwhelmed by the conference that trying to be fully present while also being in virtual mode was just too much for me. I know other people are able to do that... but it's just not a skill I have practiced, and it is definitely a real SKILL, one that it would take time to acquire. I can be in real space in real time, and I can be in virtual space in virtual time. But both at once? Ouch: that is hard.


Which means I was actually not a good drone! Despite the hat. Drones are supposed to be real-time, but I ended up being asynchronous after all.


I often call myself the Queen of Asynchrony because I've been teaching fully asynchronous  classes since 2002, nothing in the classroom and nothing synchronous about my classes. In fact, my whole professional life is completely digital and completely asynchronous. And you know... I'm good with that. I actually prefer it. I'm a socially awkward person; I talk too fast; I go off on tangents. SO MANY TANGENTS. Does anybody watch The Good Wife? Remember Elsbeth Tascioni? That's me.


Elsbeth Tascioni


Here's what the actress Carrie Preston says about playing that character:

I decided that she has this real fear that she is abnormal, and that makes her feel very vulnerable and scared. For example, when she asks Alicia, “Do I talk too much?,” that was a real, true moment for her of feeling like, “Oh god, once again I’m not sure how I present in the world.” We all feel insecure about how we’re being perceived by others, and I think someone as brilliant as Elsbeth, that gets magnified by a million and then you sit her down with a shrink? Oh my god, she’s gonna crack!


So, I am very lucky I think to have found the chance to be a teacher (what I always wanted to be) while also having the chance to do that asynchronously, where I can have more/different ways to be "present" without being trapped in the very limited present of same-time-same-place in the classroom.


Conferences, luckily, are totally chaotic compared to the classroom, more spontaneous and free-form, so it's okay if things get a little weird, not turning out as expected. Over and over again, people told me that in going to conferences, the best parts were the random encounters, the chance conversations in hallways, nothing that anybody planned but that just happened in the rushing to-and-fro and/or the standing-in-line or who-you-sit-next-to encounters. That was definitely the case for me!


So, anyway, the wifi gremlin kept from doing the live note-posting in Google Docs that I had planned... but no worries: the rough notes did go up in the Google Docs (just with a time delay!), and I'll be using those notes to prompt future posts about some of the fantastic sessions that I did attend. Just imagine: 10 sessions! I learned so much. It's going to be fun to go back and revisit some of the highlights coming up in future posts; for tomorrow, I'll write about the fantastic OER session that was the first one I attended! :-)