Eight years ago I was doing classroom design, AV around campus, Teaching and running our Moodle LMS. As Moodle began to take off around campus, I realized two things. Number one, Moodle could do some amazing things, and secondly, I did not have the time or the expertise to really help our faculty do what they wanted. So, like most other Instructional Designers, I began to seek out help. I found a company who would be willing to come in and do some training for our faculty, but for a price. When I presented this to the college, I was quickly turned down.
Not to be easily deterred, I thought that maybe I could start a summer conference and then invite said company to participate and get training that way. Sure enough, now they were willing to come for free. The first year I had $650 from the college and about 35 attendees for the conference. Now, seven years later the conference has an average of 150 attendees and runs about $26,000 a year. It pays for itself every year.
This year we had folks from the top of Alaska (Barrow), Canada, Minnesota all the way down to Alabama and South Carolina attend. This is in addition the the folks from all over the Pacific NW and California. It is much more a community than a conference as we have a huge number of social events, gamification (moot money), ice blocking and even a 5k morning run. If you want to check out all of the past fun from this last week our twitter hashtag #mtmoot is a great place to start, or our official twitter account here.
We start with hands on Moodle training durning our pre-moot, then a big opening reception party. The next day is filled with sessions and collecting moot bucks for our annual moot bash (live music, kegs of microbrews, snow cone carts, outdoor games and over 50 prizes). Companies all over support us because we are open source and non profit. A few of our supporters are IPEVO, Sticker Giant, Mootivated, Makey Makey, and many others.
If any of this intrigues you, you use Moodle, or are just looking for a fun, engaging conference with amazing folks, be sure to join us next year in the Mountains of Montana for the annual Mountain Moot!