This year has been strange at so many levels that it seems a bit petty to highlight one particular area. But preparing material for Autodesk University 2020 has certainly been one such area, and it’s very fresh in the mind of AU speakers around the world.
With this year’s event being all digital, it’s clear that the AU team had to find a way to get classes delivered remotely: one option would have been to live-stream them all, but at some point the decision was made to get everything pre-recorded for on-demand delivery. (On-demand classes are not the only way of experiencing AU 2020, of course: there are accompanying Q&A sessions, an online Answer Bar, keynotes, roundtables, etc.)
To give the AU technical team enough time to get everything posted for November 17th, the deadline for presenters to submit all their material was October 20th. This did present some logistics challenges, however: my own class (spoiler alert!) includes content from other teams that has been scheduled to be shown as part of one or other of the mainstage events, so I had to wait for that material to be ready. So my own recording window was shorter than it might otherwise have been. This wasn’t a big deal, but it would clearly have been at least slightly less stressful to have no external dependencies.
There were two options provided for recording the class delivery. One was to use the service chosen by the AU team: you schedule a recording slot and then simply sign into the service and deliver your content as if you were presenting it live. Apparently the service was excellent – I’ve only seen positive feedback from my fellow speakers. The other option was for speakers to record their own session to certain resolution and bitrate requirements, get it approved by an official AU speaker mentor, and then upload it. I chose this option, and opted to record using Camtasia (my screen recording tool of choice), which allowed me a little more opportunity to make edits. I’ve now uploaded the session recording and PDFs of both the slides and the handout. It certainly feels very strange now to be mostly “off the hook” for AU in mid-October, with only a couple of in-person sessions to sign into during the November 17th-20th conference!
A quick shout-out to the AU team: shifting to all-digital has been a huge under-taking… organising for 750 classes to be recorded and made available online is a logistical hairball. They’ve run preparatory webinars, engaged with speakers via Slack (you should see the steam coming off that channel – it’s insane) and have kept positive and upbeat throughout. I can pretty much guarantee they’re all working 16-hour days, right now, but I also know it will all be worth it, in the end. This is going to be the biggest AU ever (we’ve just passed 50K registrations, apparently), which is definitely something.
Anyway, getting back to my “in-person” sessions…
I’ll be manning the Forge Answer Bar on November 18th 2020 from 8-10am GMT/9-11h00 CET/2-4am EST/11pm (Nov 17th)-1am PST. I’ll share details nearer the time on how to join that (presumably via Zoom).
If you’re interested in attending the Q&A session for my AU class (entitled “SD469711 - Lessons from Project Dasher: Building a Digital Twin using Forge”), then you’ll find me online on November 18th 2020 at 5:30pm GMT/18h30 CET/12:30pm EST/9:30am PST. So hopefully a time that works for most people in Europe and the Americas.
Between now and AU, though, I’m managing to keep myself busy. I have a number of talks scheduled for the coming weeks, all for organisations focused on education in one capacity or another.
The first is for an organisation called 10,000 codeurs (10,000 coders in English). Douglas Mbiandou – who founded the organisation in 2015 – has a vision to introduce 10,000 young African people to the world of IT over a 10-year period. He arrived at this number by suggesting there should be 1 coder per 1,000 population, but – as the goal of 100,000 seemed too ambitious for a continent of a billion people – it made sense to adjust it downwards by an order of magnitude. It remains an ambitious and important goal, and I’d dearly love to see Douglas reach it.
Autodesk is a proud sponsor of 10,000 codeurs, and it’s my great personal pleasure to be talking to its members about our work on IoT in the built environment. The main focus being, of course, our development of Project Dasher using Forge. Here’s a link to the announcement for this talk.
The second session is for a Zurich-based academy focused on encouraging the adoption of computational design by AEC professionals. They’re called PAZ, which stands for the Parametric Academy Zurich. PAZ’s mission is “to help architects, designers and engineers to work more efficiently, with more precision and happiness, optimizing and automatizing their workflows.”
I recently met Nóra and Andrés, the founders of PAZ, for a coffee in Neuchatel, where we decided it might be helpful for me to talk to their students about generative design and digital twins. I’ll be doing so on November 4th.
The third talk – once again related to our work on generative design in the AEC space – is on November 11th, and this time will be for a research group at ETH Zurich’s Institute of Structural Engineering or IBK (Institut für Baustatik und Konstruktion). Many thanks to Dr. Michael Kraus for reaching out and inviting me to talk to this group.
So all in all three very different audiences, which I have no doubt will make for an interesting few weeks!