I am sure if you ask a lot of people why they attend conferences, in addition to the keynotes and sessions, one aspect that will come out is the networking and social aspects of the conference. Those moments over coffee where you discuss the omissions and errors in the previous presentation; or the conference dinner where you reminisce over past conferences and nostalgically reminding the person sitting opposite that they aren’t like they use to be; pr at the reception where you think there’s going to be something to eat only to find a few nibbles and a cheap white wine, resulting in a desperate attempt to find someone who didn’t eat before they came to the reception so you have a companion for dinner; or at the organised social event, where you turn up to find everyone else has gone off to FAULTY or something like that and there’s just you and that guy who has an ego the size of the Blackpool Tower who you have been avoiding all conference, and now he has you cornered….
Conferences are more than the sum of the presentations, the networking and social side can turn a conference from an interesting experience to an event to remember.
This November, JISC will be running another of their excellent conferences (and yes once more I am the conference blogger) and unlike other conferences this one is online.
So isn’t all this social and networking all lost with an online conference, I hear you cry!
Well in a way, yes! And in a way, no!
As you might expect the social side of an online conference is different from a face to face conference. But it is still there, and it is still possible to socialise and network. At previous JISC Online Conferences we have had a virtual conference dinner in Second Life, there have been lots of discussions over coffee in the social cafe area of the conference and the instant messaging component ensures that networking not only can happen, but does happen.
Just because a conference is online doesn’t automatically mean that it will be an individual isolationary affair. On the contrary it can as a social experience as you want it to be.
If you are a researcher, institutional manager or practitioner involved in technology-enhanced learning and teaching, Innovating e-Learning 2010 will be of interest to you. Delegates from further and higher education and from overseas are welcome. Proceedings take place in an asynchronous virtual environment which can be accessed wherever and whenever is convenient to you.
Find out more about the JISC Innovating e-Learning 2010 Online Conference.