Last week, you may have noticed I didn't write a blog up. Welp, that was because a majority of my spare time was prepping for a virtual conference I was able to present at. As part of our ID2ID program, my partner Heather and I were selected to present on our work with Audio Feedback tools.
I wanted to take a few moments to reflect on my presentation and how it went. First, I thought it was going to be a small conference (maybe 50 people in the whole attendance). The presentation before ours had in the low 20s. Therefore, I was feeling good thinking that my first virtual conference would be a bit smaller in terms of audience size. However, once we started our presentation, I quickly saw our attendance grow... first 30, then 40, and at last over 50 people attended. It was crazy how many people out there wanted to hear our talk and had interest in Audio Feedback as a tool for online courses.
Often times in academia, we think of conferences as a way to disseminate information but sometimes forget the value of teaching rather than just spreading knowledge. This virtual conference allowed me to teach the audience about pros and cons of audio feedback, benefits of using audio feedback, what the research states and lastly the best tools to use. For more information or a copy of our presentation, see Effective Feedback: Practices that Promote Social Presence Online. I was extremely happy to see that I was able to touch base with over 50 people across the United States by sitting in my office and focusing on spreading my knowledge of Audio Feedback.
When reflecting back on this virtual conference, I saw some pros and cons. First, it was so easy to just log-in and watch the presentations of interest to me. I could do it from the comfort of my own home, my office, or at a local coffee shop... really anywhere with an internet connect. However, one of the downsides is making sure you at the attendee is dedicated to setting aside the time to 'be present.' I found I kept getting distracted by those who walked by my office, sent emails, etc. While this is a personal issue, I think it is important for others to consider before investing the money in going to a virtual conference. One of the key aspects of attending a F2F conference is that you can be held accountable by going to the sessions and making friends who are interested in the same topics you are in. My advice for those looking to attend virtual conference, make sure you set aside the same amount of time and dedication as you would for a F2F conference.
For a full list of different conferences, please check out Clayton R. Wright's 40th Edition of Educational Technology and Education Conferences.