This year, the MoodleMoot conference was held in New Orleans, hosted by BbWorld/DevCon. While combining the Moot with the larger BbWorld conference did provide more resources overall for the conference, it was a detriment in terms of session content and networking/Moodle community connections.
Almost all of the BbWorld and DevCon sessions were Blackboard product specific, and it was more difficult to find and connect with fellow Moodle community members outside of the Moodle specific sessions.
The Moot session format also left something to be desired. Each 50 minute session slot was broken up into 3 presentations - which meant there was not enough time to go into much detail on any topic. It also made it difficult to attend all the presentations of interest because they may be spread across different rooms for the same timeslot.
The big takeaways from this year's conference were:
Amazon Alexa and skill development
Attendees received a free Amazon Echo Dot, and the DevCon: Amazon Alexa & building great voice experiences session reviewed how to get started with the Skill Kit API. With some of the other LMS applications already starting to support voice activated features, our team is excited about learning more about the API and what might be possible for development integration with Moodle.
As a hot topic in the education technology industry right now, there were several presentations on learning analytics - providing information on tools available for Moodle, as well as overall strategies and approaches for implementing learning analytics in higher education. This topic has been on our team's radar for some time now, and we hope to start developing some learning analytics features for Moodle.
ADA compliance is another hot topic in the education technology industry. While the concept of accessibility has been around for a long time, the increased use of teaching with technology has made it more important than ever to ensure that content is accessible for all users across all platforms. Our team is already working with other university communities as part of an accessibility committee to help provide resources to faculty, staff and students to ensure compliance across campus.
Overall the conference was a good experience, and our team hopes to be able to put some of what we learned into practice in the coming year!