2019NVC Wrapup (and an apology)

It’s been over a week since the 2019 National VET Conference wrapped up in Brisbane. I have never been very good at conference wrapup posts, but I thought I should say a few words.

This was my second NVC, and both times I have been amazed at the scope and professionalism of the conference. Velg Training really does a good job with this conference and I’m proud to have been a part of it. The presentations are mostly very VET admin focused, but I did attend a few interesting eLearning sessions. Kerri Buttery presented on H5P, and I think she opened a few eyes. And the networking opportunities at this conference are always good.

My own presentation, What to Consider when Selecting an LMS, was well received. However, I did notice something when reviewing my slides before presenting. It was too late to change my presentation but I saw something terrible on my third last slide.

A Mea Culpa

A slide containing the phrase "Do you know a web guy?"

Yeah, I actually wrote “Do you know a guy?

Ouch.

In my defence, I have a good idea why I wrote that. Earlier in the slide deck, in previous drafts, in describing myself I used the words “web guy”. I feel I’m not a web developer nor a web designer. Webmaster, web administrator, they’re all fairly meaningless terms to the casual user. I’m a web guy, I’m a jack of all trades, I can help you with your website. I wrote this slide with myself in mind, so I used a term that I had used in the past to describe myself.

Except, that word guy has been bugging me. I’ve stopped calling myself a “web guy”, I’m a “web professional”. I’ve been trying to eliminate the word guy from my vocabulary. I usually mean it gender-neutrally (“Hey guys!”), but the meaning of the word can and usually is used to refer only to men. And in this context, I’m implying that web-related tasks, like design or development or administration, or indeed, any task technology-based or otherwise, are the domain of men.

This cannot be further from the truth.

So I’m going to apologise that I used the term. I am sorry.

It’s irrelevant that I didn’t mean this. What’s important is someone could infer this. And that subtle sexism of “STEM is for boys only” is reinforced. Ouch.

I have no daughters of my own, but I have six beautiful nieces, and I want them to know they can be successful in education, eLearning, edtech, web development, web design, or anything else they want to pursue.

And I want to make it clear that this wasn’t the case of someone noticing and demanding I change it. No one has come knocking demanding restitution. There are no psycho-left-wing-feminazis in this story. I’m the one who noticed, and I’m the one who was offended. And maybe I was the only one in the room who noticed, but that’s enough.

The words we use have meaning. We have to select them carefully. I know no one in the room honestly thought I was saying “only men can build and maintain websites”, but it’s the subtitle sexisms in our language that we should address. And I’m very embarrassed that one of these subtitle sexisms made it into my presentation.

I have corrected this mistake in the slide share. I only wish I had been able to correct it before the presentation.

What to Consider when Selecting an LMS

Well, that humiliating but necessary apology aside, here are my corrected slides for my presentation. The audience for this presentation was small RTOs looking to get started with an LMS to deliver online or blended learning.

While I admitted my biases for Moodle, I wanted to present something neutral. Canvas was a gold sponsor after all, and there were a few other LMS providers sponsoring or attending. And, honestly, while I like, prefer and use Moodle, I do not get paid to advocate for them. I’d still recommend they are a good solution to consider, but people have to choose what’s right for them. I wanted to provide the questions to consider when weighing these options.

What’s next?

The 2020 National VET Conference will be held September 17 & 18 on the Gold Coast in Queensland. Will I attend? Well, I will say I am brainstorming possible submissions.

And in a week’s time, I’m headed to Auckland for Moodle Moot New Zealand 2019. I’m very much looking forward to that, so expect to see some posts regarding this.

Scott

Kenneth “Scott” Huntley is a Learning Designer with TAFE NSW (Technical and Further Education, in New South Wales in Australia) and WordPress instructor with The Parramatta College.

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