On Thursday, 20 October 2016, I jumped on the night train to St. Pölten in Austria in order to attend a conference on competency-based education (5. Tag der Lehre: „Kompetenzorientiert Lehren und Prüfen“). After a strenuous ride in a very small train compartment, I arrived at the FH St. Pölten in order to discuss various aspects of competency-based education.
For the first time, I participated in a so called “DisqSpace”, a relatively new discussion format that is designed to allow for a higher level of interaction between the presenting speaker and the audience. In each corner of a room, a topic is presented by a guest speaker. All speakers and topics are introduced by a moderator. Thereafter, the participants split up into four groups, which will ascribe themselves to an individual corner (topic). After 15 to 20 minutes the groups rotate and move on to the next “station”. Within 60 to 90 minutes, the audience has visited all corners (topics) of the room.
A smaller number of participants will be able to listen to a presented topic and discuss individual questions with the guest speaker.
Participants are able to attend four interrelated presentations on a given general topic, thereby identifying connections and realizing different solution approaches.
The guest speaker has to present the topic four times in succession in a very condensed way, which I experienced as somehow exhausting.
Interesting and lively discussions might have to be aborted when the group has to move on to the next corner (topic).