How online conferences can enhance professional networking and development

18th February 2021 11:00-12:00 UK (UTC/GMT) Talk recording: at the IET YouTube channel

Presenter: Tony Carr, Convener of e/merge Africa and educational technologist in the Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching (CILT), University of Cape Town

Title: How online conferences can enhance professional networking and development

Description: Our range of experiences of conferences is likely to include excitement, stimulation, inspiration, and connection, but also sometimes boredom, disconnection, a sense of exclusion, and especially since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, some technological stress. 2020 became the year of online conferences. Many well established face-to-face conferences went online as the pandemic completely reconfigured the notion of when and how we meet. The proliferation of online conferences raises several issues including the range of online conference designs used, how these relate to good design practices for conferences in general, and how they relate to good design practices for online events.

In this event, I will engage you in a critical and creative conversation about the nature and future of online conferences. The presentation will draw on the literature of face-to-face and online conference design, learning and research from the design of the e/merge conferences and online conferences held in 2020, reflections on participation in recent online conferences, and statements by designers of some pandemic provoked online conferences. The event will allow brief experiences of participatory processes in the main meeting room using chat, in breakouts and using a poll. There may also be time for a brief exploration of what it is like to meet in an environment with a spatial metaphor which allows for a better sense of mingling and groups sorting themselves out than is possible in Zoom.

Presenter’s bio: Tony Carr is an educational technologist at the Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching at University of Cape Town. He convenes the e/merge Africa online professional network for educational technology researchers and practitioners across African higher educational institutions. Tony’s operational and research interests include online collaboration, communities of practice in staff development, online facilitation, online professional networks and online conference design. He has convened and led the design of seven online conferences between 2004 and 2020. In a previous career he was a business and economics educator.
Twitter: @tony_emerge; @emergeafrica

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