Setting up a conference Cloudscape

Hints and tips for getting the most from your conference Cloudscape

Cloud created by:

Rebecca Galley
19 October 2009

Cloudworks is an excellent way of engaging event participants in key themes prior to the start of the programme, providing a space for discussion, resources, links and references during a conference and persists as a space for ongoing reflection and engagement after the conference has finished. This Cloudscape has been set up to guide you through the process of setting up your own Conference or event Cloudscape.

A paper version of this guide can be downloaded from here.

Contents:

Why use Cloudworks rather than a different tool to support your event?

Step 1 Register and set up profile

Step 2 Set up a Cloudscape

Step 3 Adding Clouds

Step 4 Promoting and moderating your Cloudscape

In addition, the following are good examples of conference or event Cloudscapes for you to look at:

 

Why use Cloudworks rather than a different tool to support your event?

The functionality of Cloudworks compares very well with other tools that are commonly used at conferences (see below)  but the site has the added benefit of having an existing and thriving community of people passionate about education. We believe that Cloudworks does three things better than other sites:

  • Facilitates open, cross-group discussion, collaboration and knowledge creation.
  • Aggregates discussion, slideshows, videos, related links, papers and academic references all in one place.
  • Creates an archive of the event that people can use to reflect, and continue to develop emerging themes and ideas.

Key terms: Cloudscape: a home page for the event or conference

(see http://cloudworks.ac.uk/cloudscape/view/1963/all/5#clouds-in-cloudscape for an example) 

  • Favourite the Cloudscape
  • Follow the Cloudscape
  • Add dates (and the Cloudscape will appear in events listing)
  • Mark as attending (for Cloudscapes with dates) – for entirely online conferences this function can be used for registration.
  • RSS feed
  • View Cloudstream
  • Add tags
  • Add Clouds
  • Sort Clouds into sections (where there are a lot of Clouds in a Cloudscape they can be sorted into categories under tabs. For a conference this might be by day, theme, type of Cloud etc)
  • Upload a picture
  • Add a Twitter feed

Key terms: Cloud: for discussion, sharing and debate around a keynote, workshop, paper or theme.

(see http://cloudworks.ac.uk/index.php/cloud/view/2754  for an example) 

 

Step 1 Register and set up profile

Consider setting up a conference or event organiser profile instead of using your personal profile. This will help you differentiate between your role in organising the event or conference and your role as participant. If you do decide to do this please note that you will have to use a different email address to the one used for your personal profile.

When you set up your new profile you will be asked for the name of the institution or organisation, a Twitter name, an email address and your ‘interests’ (in the case of the conference this will be focus and themes). Try to fill as much of this in as possible as it will help people find you and hear about the event.

Use a picture that is recognisable to conference or event goers - perhaps a logo or a picture of the building where the event will be held.

 

Step 2 Set up a Cloudscape

Setting up your Cloudscape well in advance of the event ensures that the URL can be used on publicity materials. An event Cloudscape is just like any other Cloudscape but used in a different way. From the home page click on the Events tab at the top of the page and you will see a list of upcoming events, and on the right a beige support box. In this box you will see a link which says create a cloudscape. Click on this.

Title: Enter the title of the Conference and in the summary box add the venue and dates.

Description: The description section of your Cloudscape will probably include the following:

  • A short description of the conference - title, focus, venue etc
  • A hyperlink to the conference website
  • Hyperlinks to other relevant webpages (i.e. multimap)
  • An outline of the conference timetable
  • Contact information
  • A link to a TwapperKeeper archive (where Twitter is being used)

Using html

If you are confident in using html (or know someone who is) you can edit the text by clicking on the html button at the top of the Description text box. This way you can add anchors so that visitors can navigate more easily around a longer description, and use different heading colours and fonts etc to structure the page.

Adding tags

Tags will help people find your Cloudscape, so choose 3 or 4 which you think represent the event well (these may match your profile ‘interest’ tags)

If you add a #tag in the Twitter tag box, any Twitter activity which includes your tag will be streamed down the right hand side of your Cloudscape.

Dates: Add the start and end date of your event, and the location. Your event will now automatically appear in the Event listings.

Click on ‘Create Cloudscape’

 

Step 3 Adding Clouds

Before you start adding Clouds to your Cloudscape take time to consider how you would like to structure them - this will depend on your event and there is no right or wrong way of doing it. Please note that Clouds will appear in alphabetical/ numerical order so take case to title them so that they appear in the order you want them to!

We recommend that, where possible, conference organisers set up ‘placeholder’ Clouds for each item and then encourage presenters to take responsibility for organising, maintaining and promoting their Cloud.  This ensures that presenters only add what they are happy sharing, and we have noticed that where more ownership is given to contributors, Clouds are better used and richer in content and discussion. To do this you will need to ask presenters to register on Cloudworks and then give them administration rights to the Cloud (click on ‘Permissions’ on the right of your Cloudscape and then use the ‘search users’ box; once your presenter’s profile is found, click on ‘add as admin’. See the link to a word document with support information for presenters – please download and amend as appropriate.

You will also need to decide whether you want to allow others to add additional Clouds to your Cloudscape. If you decide against this click on ‘Permissions’ on the right of your Cloudscape and then on ‘make Cloudscape closed’.

Examples:

1 day workshop: consider setting up Clouds around topics such as:

  • Introduction (including aims, outcomes and plan)
  • Activities
  • Groups
  • Themes or discussions (one for each)
  • Evaluation

Example

1 day conference: consider setting up Clouds around topics such as:

  • Agenda or programme
  • Keynotes (one for each)
  • Presentations (one for each)
  • Workshops

Example

Multi-day or large conferences: set up Clouds as for smaller conferences, but use the ‘Sections’ tab function to further categorise these for easier navigation. For example you may create tabs for day 1, day 2 etc or individual tabs for Keynotes, presentations, workshops, papers, posters etc.

To use the ‘sections’ function, set up all the Clouds you want to then click on ‘Manage sections’ on the right of your Cloudscape page. Click on ‘add a section’ to add new sections and then click on ‘Add Clouds to a section’. This is very easy to do and prevents the problem of an endless and overwhelming list of Clouds on your Cloudscape!

Example (see the tabs at the top of this hyperlink view)  

 

Step 4 Promoting and moderating your Cloudscape

If your Cloudscape is to be successful then you will need to allow time for someone to promote it (i.e. using email, Twitter etc) and then encourage people to contribute (by asking and answering questions, thanking contributors and adding links, references and comments yourself). Once the Cloudscape has taken off you will need to do less of this but it is very important at the beginning.

Becoming a featured Cloudscape

If you would like your Cloudscape to become featured on the front page, please make your request by email to cloudworks@open.ac.uk and please make your image as close to 256 × 192 pixels as possible.

Emails and publicity materials

Ideally include the URL for your Cloudscape in all publicity material. This gives people a chance to find out about the space and explore. If this is not possible then it will be very important to inform people at the event. Delegates will need to know how to use it and a link to a delegate information document can be found on the right of this page. Please download and amend it as required. It is especially important to ensure as far as possible that delegates are aware that the site is open to all before they begin to contribute.

Using Cloudworks for delegate registration

You can use Cloudworks to register delegates. Ask them to register, log in, and then click on the 'attending'' tab at the top of the Cloudscape. As the conference organiser you can then contact all registered delegates via email through the site with conference updates, information and activities.

Using Twitter to promote the event more widely

Approximately 15% of traffic on Cloudworks comes through referrals from Twitter, for events and conferences the percentage is likely to be significantly more.  Once you have set up your Cloudscape, tweet the URL out to your followers from time to time before, during and after your event. Ask others to retweet it.

Extra content

Embedded Content

Contribute

Juliette Culver
4:51pm 19 February 2010 (Edited 10:44am 19 March 2010)


It can be useful too to set up a cloud specifically for blog posts about the event.

I also noticed Patrick adding speakers' bios to clouds which I thought was a really handy thing to do.

Rebecca Galley
3:37pm 19 March 2010


I have just updated this Cloudscape and supporting documents. If you have any thoughts about how these could be even further improved please let me know by posting here or emailing us at cloudworks@open.ac.uk !

Contribute to the discussion

Please log in to post a comment. Register here if you haven't signed up yet.