Thursday, June 18, 2020

Rethinking Research and Industry Conferences Online

There are companies offering to provide a platform to reproduce face to face academic and trade conferences on line. But perhaps rethink what is useful and what participants value about a conference, rather than reproduce a physical one.

Martin Dougiamas, creator of Moodle,
and Tom Worthingtont,
EduTech Asia 2018
I have been impressed with EduTech Asia's zoom based live webinars. These are very simple: an MC a panel of two or three speakers and plenty of time for questions. However, they clearly see this as just a stopgap to keep potential delegates and exhibitors connected until they can have a traditional event. Their first event is planned for November in Singapore, which I would be delighted to speak at it again, but not if I have to spend two weeks in quarantine in Australia, on my return.

Also the Australian Computer Society has run two Hackerthons, using Slack, Zoom, and the usual collaboration tools. What makes these effective is that they recruit a team of volunteers to be actively involved with participants. I was a mentor at the first and a lead mentor at the second. What also helps is having sponsors.

A conference is not just one thing. There is the chance for a trip somewhere. TALE 2019 had the attraction for me of visiting Yogyakarta.

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