Catalyst Community Spring Conference 2023

31 May 2023 by Sam Taylor
Female sat by a computer screen watching a conference, screen displays tiles of the conference participants.

In April over 75 attendees joined us for our recent community conference, hosted online using BigBlueButton. The day was a way to bring our diverse community together and to share ideas, experiences, and hopefully code!

Screen shot of Catalyst team wearing red t-shirts about the conference welcome slide

Catalyst Business Development Team

Morning welcome session

We started the morning with an opening talk from our Director, Joey Murison where he welcomed our newest partners, provided updates on our achievements both internally and externally, and outlined where we were at with our infrastructure projects and roadmap planning. 

Joey Welcome Presentation

Joey Murison, Catalyst IT - Welcome presentation

We were then treated to a talk from Atish Gonsalves, Founder of Gamoteca who gave a fantastic overview of the platform and the ways in which it supports collaborative learning. This talk was well received with one participant commenting: Great example of effective use of technology - an ideal way to support development & knowledge, requiring constant practice & feedback loop

Catalyst and Gamoteca have partnered in the past to develop the integration of Gamoteca with Totara, and is used by one of our partners, UNICEF, as captured in the following case study: UNICEF launches human-connected, game-based learning with Gamoteca.

Atish Gonsalves, Gamoteca - Welcome presentation

Platform break-out sessions

Following on from Atish’s talk we were very grateful to have three leaders in their respective platforms join us for a 30min overview of up-and-coming features.

  • Mary Cooch (Education Manager from Moodle HQ) joined us to talk about Moodle 4.1 and 4.2 and the newest features of interest.
  • Meredith Henson (Head of Partner Success from Totara) showcased the added benefits of the Totara Talent Experience Platform.
  • Kristina Hoeppner (Mahara Project Lead) presented a preview of Mahara 23.04 including a closer look at the new Outcomes portfolio feature.

We at Catalyst are very grateful to the above presenters who gave their time to come and talk with our community, and their talks can be watched back on our Catalyst Community page.

Partner stories

The most exciting part of the event for me is hearing what our partners have been up to. First up was a talk from the British Red Cross training team on their adoption of Moodle Workplace to deliver training in topics such as First Aid and Mental Health, which contribute funds back to the main charity. The key message delivered here is that having a platform like Moodle (and the confidence to use it!) meant that they could create their courses in-house and respond rapidly to changing advice and guidance, instead of waiting for someone else to update their SCORMs for them.  We then had a great talk from Cambridge Assessment International Education on a suite of agile tools they had created and shared via Moodle to support teachers who needed a quick way of facilitating an activity in the classroom. Imagine needing an easy tool to pick names out of a hat without having to download anything. Next up was a joint presentation with Birkbeck University and Catalyst IT about a plugin they commissioned and we developed to integrate a timetabling system, and its events, into their Moodle site. This honest review showed the steps taken in the development of the plugin, as well as the lessons learned and what’s hopefully coming next!