RRU Hosts Online Popcorn Hack Jam

After continued success of delivering f2f Popcorn Maker hack jams for faculty & staff at Royal Roads University (where I work), some of my colleagues urged me to organize & deliver a purely only Hack Jam on Blackboard Collaborate, our online teaching space that we’ve used for many of our faculty development workshops & online courses.

We actually ran the workshop twice, the first time as a “dry run” for our CTET (Centre for Teaching & Educational Technologies) team back on August 22 so we could test out the timing of how the workshop flowed for participants where they didn’t have any f2f assistance from multiple facilitators.

Many of our team members who attended the dry run gave us great feedback, so we tweaked a few things in the activity outline & adjusted the timing of certain activities before we actually delivered the official faculty hack jam last week, on September 26.

Prior to the faculty hack jam, we had a great turnout for the number of registrants, mostly because my wonderful colleague Amanda delivered a “Learning Communities” workshop on campus to kick off our Learning and Teaching Model Workshop Series for faculty, and during her workshop, she invited Eva, an instructor in our Conflict Analysis & Management Program who used Popcorn Maker as a tool for students to build a learning community.  She even showcased some Popcorn Maker videos that her students made.


Check out how @RRUCTET is using #popcornmaker in #highered (00:50:40-01:09:15) http://livestre.am/4BSaO via @livestream #teachtheweb

On the day of the Online Hack Jam, we had approximately 20 people in the Collaborate Room, which is the same capacity to a f2f Hack Jam. However, the main differences between a f2f workshop and an online hack jam are:

  • Participants did their “Popcorn” prep-work prior to the workshop (i.e. pre-register for a webmaker/persona account)
  • Participants are asked to watch the Popcorn Tutorial prior to attending the workshop
  • Participants are given a 30 mins optional Q&A session prior to the official start of the workshop so facilitators can assist them with creating their own popcorn accounts as well as questions regarding navigating in Collaborate.
  • During the Design Challenge (i.e. hands-on activity), facilitators attend to participants by going into different “breakout rooms” in Collaborate

We also had Melanie from our Copyright Office discuss one of the major concerns faculty had about using Popcorn Maker, which is (yes you’ve guessed it) Copyright! She shared her wisdom about what materials are good to use and what should be avoided.  It was extremely helpful since at every single hack jam we’ve delivered so far, the concerns about Copyright has always been raised & discussed.

Overall, I’d say the workshop went really well and most people enjoyed the hack jam in an online environment. Here are some cool projects participants made during the Design Challenge.  Pretty awesome considering they did it during an online webinar and was only allowed 25 minutes.  🙂

We are currently talking about the possibility of doing a “canned version” of the workshop but we are still sorting out the details.

Last but not least, here are the resources we used for the Online Popcorn Maker Hack Jam.