Today will be the end of the Tennessee Board of Regents e-Learning Summer Institute about Web 2.0 at the University of Memphis. This has been a blast, much as I expected it to be when I first heard about it from Gary Storts of TBR. Gary called to offer me the opening keynote for the institute and asked if I might do a breakout session or two later that same day. The implication was that I would come in for the activities on Wednesday (day 1) and then go back home. They offered me a speaking fee plus expenses which I readily accepted. I think I caught him a bit by surprise when I asked him whether it would be OK for me to stay for the rest of the institute. I offered to do more of the hands-on workshops and that they wouldn’t have to pay me any more money. I wanted to stay because I knew it would be a great opportunity to be immersed in Web 2.0 for three days with like minded people.
Let’s just say that it has been everything I hoped it would be and then some. The photo above (courtesy of Gary Storts) is from the keynote in THE ZONE, which is is this very cool Star Wars-like lecture hall (at right). The best part of all has been the people, There have been about 70 people in attendance and I have got to know many of them and all of them have been incredibly nice and fun and engaged. Our hosts here at the University of Memphis have been wonderful and the TBR staff has been a joy to work with.
For the record, I’m sure some people (back home anyway) are mainly concerned about the financial side of this event. Before you need to speculate (any more than you already have), I have taken annual leave from my college in order to spend this time in Tennessee. That’s the rule, before I can accept any money personally for events like this I have to ask for and receive permission from my boss and also taken vacation days while I’m gone from campus.