Conferences as Learning Communities: Some Early Lessons in Using "Back-Channel" Technologies at an Academic Conference--Distributed Intelligence or Divided Attention?
Journal of Computer Assisted Learning Volume 21, Number 5, ISSN 1365-2729 Publisher: Wiley
Most, if not all, researchers attend conferences as a part of their practice, and yet it is an under-researched activity. Little attention has been paid either to developing a theoretically informed understanding of conference practice as knowledge building, or to assessing the extent to which conferences are successful. This paper addresses these issues in the context of a small empirical study of the introduction of mobile, interactive ("back-channel") technologies into a conference setting. Science studies and learning theories literatures are used to develop an eight-point statement describing the aims of an idealised conference. This is then used as a framework through which to make sense of what happened when "back-channel" technologies such as internet relay chat (IRC) and blogging were introduced into the 2004 Colston Symposium "The Evolution of Learning and Web Technologies: Survival of the Fittest?". Focusing on sequential issues and the conference as a forum for knowledge building, the analysis shows that conference order is disrupted by the introduction of the back-channel technologies. Nevertheless, other pressures on academic and professional practice (the governance agenda, calls for greater collaboration and a more consensual approach, and so on) suggest that the potential of the new technologies to help open up the black box of scientific and professional practice will be seen as increasingly important. If these tools are to be used effectively in the future, conferences will need to be supported by new skills and practices.
Jacobs, N. & McFarlane, A. (2005). Conferences as Learning Communities: Some Early Lessons in Using "Back-Channel" Technologies at an Academic Conference--Distributed Intelligence or Divided Attention?. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 21(5), 317-329. Wiley.
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Virtual Conferences versus Face-to-Face Conferences, or Why Do We Bother to Travel to Conferences Although We're E-Learning Experts?
Susan A. Santo, University of South Dakota, United States; Ray Thompson, Department of Special Education, Brigham Young University Hawaii, United States; Bert Y. Kimura, International Center, Osaka Gakuin University, Japan
E-Learn: World Conference on E-Learning in Corporate, Government, Healthcare, and Higher Education 2006 (October 2006) pp. 3009–3013
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