For this prototype, I combined a typical conference program with “bullet journaling” — a new spin on the classic hand-written daily planner.

The Lily Conference has my admiration and attention. I ran across their awesome conference program while looking for a new professional development opportunity. They’re using active learning techniques (including minute papers, reflection opportunities, etc) within the program, which is a format I haven’t seen before. The program has pre- and post-conference activities, too, which helps elevate the program into a reference that attendees will probably keep longer than the typical program.

My department at Large Maroon University hosts a conference every year, so I started brainstorming ways we could borrow ideas from the Lily Conference for our program. As I worked on the program I gradually realized I didn’t want a program at all. What I really wanted was a journal! I wanted to give every conference participant a notebook holding both inspiration and plenty of blank pages. A tool they could use to plan how to introduce active learning and evidence-based teaching into their classes.

I also wanted the conference journal to be fun. As you can see in a few of the prototype photos below, I wanted the pages to invite people to use colored pencils, washi tape, and stickers on their journals. In a perfect world we’d shake up our morning breakfast by having journaling supplies at each table, along with a staff member who could provide tips on how to use the journal.

My prototype uses a disc-bound journal system, but I think would also work as a softbound book (like a Moleskine) or a spiral. I used the disc-bound system because it’s what I had on hand. I think if my department had pursued this we would have eventually chosen anther binding due to the manpower cost of punching the holes for the rings.

Sadly, this idea looks like a “file and forget.” The prototype had me excited for days, but my bosses weren’t as enthused.

Prototype Photos