In Review: 2023 Meeting of the Opencast German Speaking Community

In July, Opencast’s German-speaking community gathered in person for the first time since Covid. The gathering was hosted by community members at the University of Bern in Switzerland during a heat wave. Thirty participants gathered for an un-conference style few days of brainstorming and collaboration.

The meeting in Bern, Switzerland, was a return to the “unconference” style the Opencast community grew up with, so participants engaged in different forms and forums to discuss matters they prepared or suggested ad hoc. 

Our hosts from the University of Bern were keen to make the most of our meeting “in person” and to reduce presentations to a minimum in favour of discussions and joint sessions. This was in line with Opencast’s new conference schedule which moves talks and presentations to an online format later in the year. Also, with the meeting being earlier than usual (and closer to the summer holidays), we were a smaller group of 30 participants - an ideal size to experiment with interactive formats.

We used a Miro board (German only…) to gather topics form the community before the meeting. Starting with a very short session of “flashlight” presentations from the institutions present (“What’s happening at your place?”) and a very few presentations, but soon moved on to further discuss the topics suggested. This resulted in a number of (parallel) sessions for the next day and a schedule allowing everyone to join the sessions he/she was interested in. Topics ranged from:

  • Technical (user statistics, live streaming), 
  • Strategic (life cycle management, community engagement) or 
  • Specific to participants’s needs/intrests (improve documentation for new system administrators)

All of the sessions reported back to the closing session - with the expectation of taking their results to the larger community. So we’re looking forward to a number of ideas to improve both the product and the community in months to come - the joint meeting of system administrators and developers is already being discussed on list…

Besides, one should mention that the meeting took place during the second heat period Switzerland saw this summer, so participants were happy and lovely Bern was very walkable - including the fresh Aare river to go for a swim.

Photo credit: Felix Pahlow