I’m just home from a NITLE workshop on Moodle that was held in Tacoma, Washington. For being off the beaten path compared to other conferences and workshops I’ve gone to (I took notes on everything from upgrade paths and sysadmin tools to statistical analyses of pedagogical approaches and web 3.0), this workshop was surprisingly enjoyable to attend. Of course, a lot of that had to do with the hotel NITLE arranged for us to – er- experience. It’s the first time I’ve stayed in a hotel that operated under the impression that it was a modern art museum. (I’ve got more pictures in my Flickr stream.) The University of Puget Sound is also a beautiful campus, so going there for meeting every day didn’t feel like a chore at all.
I was a little less thrilled with the fact that NITLE sent out directions that landed us all on the wrong street as we hunted for the hotel, and that they kept promising more detailed information about parking that never came… but the hotel, university, and food were all top notch. Oh, and most of the sessions were pretty good, too.
I’ll write something substantive about the sessions later, but for right now, here’s an overview of my flights there and back. I got to the Minneapolis airport only to find that the parking ramp was full, so I had to park at the out-lier terminal that’s a mile or so away. Getting back main terminal involves lots of walking, a train, a tram, and lots more walking. In fact, it takes so long that the flight was delayed by nearly an hour as we waited for most of the passengers to make their way from their cars to the gate. Once in the air, I was treated to a most unusual family dynamic behind me. The family was made up of two kids (3-ish and 7-ish), two parents, and two grandparents (the mother’s parents). The kids behaved just fine. The mother, though, must have asked 4 or 5 times how much longer we’d be in the air. She also wondered, repeatedly, what time it was, and what time that would be in Seattle time, in Minneapolis time, and Seattle time again… She also did that thing that kids do where she’d say “Mom… mom… mom… mom” until her mom would respond. As icing on the cake, she turned to her 7-ish daughter and said (and I quote), “You’ve had a long turn with the iPod. I haven’t had a chance to listen to it at all yet. I think it’s mommy’s turn now.” Excuse me while I go find my jaw…
The flight back was much better, and even arrived 2o minutes early! This was greeted with much joy by my near neighbors on the flight, as we had been treated to the non-stop chatter of a 13-year-old kid flying without the benefit of parents. I didn’t mind so much. I grew up with lots of siblings and can pretty easily tune out chatter and read a book. My neighbors, though, were a little less skilled at that, and a little more amazed at the capacity of a 13-year-old to talk for 3 hours, absolutely non-stop.
Oh, and because I find this amusing, here’s how I spent my time since leaving the hotel today: 45 minute drive to the airport, 45 minute walk to the gate (including the time it takes to check in and go through security), 1 hour wait for flight, 3 hour flight, 1 hour trip from the gate to my car (which, you’ll remember, is a walk, a tram, a train, and a walk away from my terminal… thank goodness I didn’t have any checked luggage), 45 minute drive home, finished off by a half hour cuddle with my neglected kitty and then a half-hour session spent writing this over-long account of the least important aspects of my trip to Tacoma.
I promise, my next post will say something substantive, like maybe a discussion of community and how I’ve come to see that as Moodle’s main challenge.