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OSU Open Source Lab

Coming Soon: Beaver BarCamp 15

by Rachel Turner on Fri, May 01 2015

Spring is almost here, and that means Beaver BarCamp 15 is quickly approaching. The OSL's annual unconference is scheduled for Saturday, April 18th. Participants are beginning to gather ideas and information for their sessions, and the Open Source Lab is offering up some helpful suggestions on how to present a successful unconference session:

#. Plan ahead. While the spirit of BarCamp is spontaneous and unstructured, it is a good idea to gather enough information ahead of time to present a well-informed BarCamp presentation. Planning for your session can help you budget your time and make you less nervous.

#. Interactivity. One of the reasons unconferences can be valuable is the possibility of collaborative and interactive sessions. A formal lecture can be restrictive, and can discourage active learning. Include the audience in your sessions. Ask them questions in order to gauge their experience level. Engage the audience in activities and demonstrations. This can lead to a more beneficial session for everyone.

#. Angle. It’s always a good idea to establish a position, or an angle, on a session topic. It increases opportunity for conversation, and gives a good foundation for formatting a session. However, it is important to be ready for others to disagree with your position, and be prepared to listen to their point of view. Avoid getting too defensive about your position on the topic.

#. Visual aids help. Visual aids, whether it is a slideshow, a demonstration or simply an image, are good tools to illustrate your presentation and increase audience interest. It also serves as a discussion point if you get lost or stuck during your session. Be sure to test your visual aids ahead of time in order to make sure everything is saved and working properly.

#. Don't be afraid of a smaller session. While popular sessions can be satisfying, smaller sessions allow for more discussion and exchanging of ideas. Having a small session does not mean you are unsuccessful!

#. Diversity. Beaver BarCamp sessions do not have to be tech-based, and attendees are encouraged to present a wide variety of session topics. Some examples of past topics include Python programming, Zumba, Heartbleed, helicopters and Magic: The Gathering. The diverse session topics add to the unconference, and presenters should run sessions about what interests them, making for a more interesting and better presented talk.

Beaver BarCamp is free and open to students and community members alike. To learn more about Beaver BarCamp, please visit our website.