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Kruse, Fabian [Fabian] - 29. Oct 2019, 10:39

A look back at the DevConf and ILIAS Conference 2019 in Dresden

The developers and various pretesting teams are working intensively on the new version of ILIAS – ILIAS 6. The DevConf in Dresden, has now also given us the opportunity to peer a little further into the future and have a first look at ILIAS 7, for which the topic 'Client-side ILIAS' will play a central role. New developments should lead to (among other things) an offline mode for SCORM and ILIAS learning modules as well as for the Test&Assessment. Another item on the agenda is the overhaul of the Page Editor. While some new elements will already be present in the background of ILIAS 6, the big changes to the Editor will take affect in the next ILIAS version.
For the moment though, ILIAS 6 is obviously at the centre of attention. This upcoming version was introduced at the 18th International ILIAS Conference by product manager Matthias Kunkel and Stephan Winiker from the Technical Board. While some areas of the system have already been tested, other parts are still in development. The finished version should be released in early 2020.
A central theme of the ILIAS Converence this year was accessibility. Communications Designer Sabina Sieghart's keynote speech on 'Typography and Simplified Language' was extremely popular and greeted with great interest from the community. Her speech certainly provided food for thought and will undoubtedly resonate in the development of ILIAS and content for ILIAS.
In addition to the topic 'Improving Accessibility', there were four further main topics for the conference:
  • Qualifying with ILIAS
  • Push user experience
  • And the content?
  • E-learning innovations
Due to the large number of contributions, four different conference tracks were offered. This allowed the over 270 participants to put together their own programmes best tailored to their individual needs and interests. That this worked so well was not only due to great planning, but also to the generous amount of space available at the congress centre of the German Social Accident Insurance (DGUV) in Dresden.
It was great to see the DGUV and the Professional Associations (BGs) also well represented in the conference programme. Things got practical quickly with the host's lively opening presentation. We were introduced to the impressive 'Sifa-Learning World' which, using ILIAS, has completely redesigned the training course for occupational safety specialists (Sifa). Not only was the blended learning design interesting, but also the technical implementation: for this, a commercial learning content management system is connected to ILIAS via xAPI in order to manage the existing materials and media in one central location. They are then distributed to the around 40 training providers across the whole of Germany.
Later, this approach was looked at in more detail in a Best-Practice-Space. There were also contributions from the DGUV and the BGs on the topics of accessibility in ILIAS, more intuitive usability, MOOC-like look of ILIAS and the opportunities presented by virtual-interactive scenarios.
Furthermore, as every year, many ILIAS users from higher education facilities and businesses took part in the conference with presentations and workshops. A whole number of ILIAS Premium Partners presented scenarios that they had implemented using ILIAS over the previous year. This year, for the very first time, also saw all contributions in the large hall being live streamed. The company vimotion, also an ILIAS Premium Partner, provided the necessary technology and personnel. We will be publishing the recordings of the streams on the conference website soon!
A special conference highlight was once again our social event. On Thursday evening the attendees split themselves into two groups. One visited the Volkswagen Transparent Factory and the other enjoyed a fascinating tour through the 'Human Adventure' exhibition at the Hygiene Museum. The day finished off at the picturesque 'Carolaschlösschen' restaurant, which was completely filled with our conference attendees. Here it was possible to make new contacts and converse in an informal setting while enjoying the tasty buffet.
At the end of the second day of the conference, two Community Awards were presented. This year's prizes were awarded to Denis Strassner from the Universty of Education in Freiburg and the E-Learning-Team of the University of Bern. Congratulations to the winners and thank you for your commitment to ILIAS!
Many thanks also go to the organisers of the conference, especially the DGUV for their hospitality! Next year we are looking forward to going to Dortmund for the ILIAS Conference 2020.

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