Fishbowl: So What's Virtually Connecting All About Anyways?

Concurrent Session 6
Streamed Session

Watch This Session

Brief Abstract

Virtually Connecting seeks to enliven virtual participation in academic conferences.This session demonstrates what a Virtually Connecting session looks like.


Autumm Caines is a liminal space. Part technologist, part artist, part manager, part synthesizer she is passionate about the use of technology in higher education and the many differing facets of how technology impacts society and culture. She likes spending time at the place where differing disciplines intersect. Autumm is an Instructional Designer at St. Norbert College and is a Co-Director in the Virtually Connecting movement. Virtually Connecting is a volunteer based network that uses synchronous video technology to have conversations between participants and presenters who are at conferences with those who could not attend. Autumm uses her work in Virtually Connecting to explore questions of access, virtual presence, online conversation, spontaneity in virtual environments, networking, and professional development.
Maha Bali is a passionate critical, open and connected educator, writeaholic and learnaholic. She is Associate Professor of Practice at the Center for Learning and Teaching at the American University in Cairo, where she has worked since 2003. She has a PhD in Education from the University of Sheffield, UK. She is co-founder of and co-facilitator of Equity Unbound ( Her research interests include higher education, faculty development, critical pedagogy and critical thinking, open and online education, intercultural learning, and citizenship education. She teaches digital literacies in an intercultural context, and has taught educational game design, and educational technology for teachers. She is an editorial board member of 6 journals of educational technology and higher education, including Hybrid Pedagogy and OLC's Online Learning Journal. She was featured in the Uncommon Women Coloring Book 2018 alongside 15 others for her 'unparalleled dedication to connecting researchers, activists and practitioners around the globe' and was interviewed in the Leaders and Legends of Online Learning Podcast She blogs at and tweets @bali_maha
Rebecca J. Hogue is pursuing a PhD in Education at the University of Ottawa. Her professional background is in instructional design and software quality assurance. She holds a Master of Arts Degree in Distributed Learning, and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer Science. She has over 15-years experience as an instructional designer in a variety of contexts (private sector, higher education, medical education). Rebecca teaches courses in digital citizenship, instructional design, and emerging technologies. Rebecca is a prolific blogger, currently sharing her academic experiences ( and her lived experience through breast cancer treatment ( In addition, she and her husband have a travel blog describing their 16-month journey around the world without airplanes (  Rebecca currently resides in Santa Clara, California.
I am currently an instructional designer at Cornell University. My primary areas of support include international collaborations, online course development and e-Portfolios. Prior to my position at Cornell I taught marketing in Panama, Santo Domingo, Prague and Lebanon using a blended learning model. I incorporate cloud computing tools to increase engagement while the students work online and for collaborations across cultures. I recently earned my PhD at UAlbany School of Education. The title of my dissertation was Five Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Majors: A Portraiture of their Lived Experiences.

Extended Abstract

Virtually Connecting seeks to enliven virtual participation in academic conferences, widening access to a fuller conference experience for those who cannot be physically present at conferences.

Using emerging technologies (such as Google Hangouts on Air), we connect onsite conference presenters with virtual participants in small groups. This allows virtual conference attendees to meet and talk with conference presenters, something not usually possible. Each session is recorded and, whenever possible, live streamed, to allow additional virtual attendees to participate in the discussion by listening and asking questions via Twitter.

The purpose of this session is to demonstrate what a Virtually Connection session looks like. Borrowing from the "Fish Bowl" teaching strategy, participants will be able to observe a live Virtually Connecting session. The "inner circle" of the fishbowl will consist of those participating in the live streamed Virtually Connecting session from onsite, and those participating in the Virtually Connecting session through the Google Hangout. The session audience and those choosing to view the live stream on YouTube will make up the outer circle of the fish bowl. This allows those who may not be comfortable with actively participating in a session to see how the sessions work, and glean a deeper understanding about how one might be able to participate in this type of hybrid conference experience.

The topic of the virtually connecting session will be drawn from the conference themes.