The latest issue of EduCause Review headlines an article Conference Connections: Rewiring the Circuit by George Siemen, Peter Tittenberger and myself. The work is mostly George’s but I was happy to play a supportive role in its production and editing. The article does a good job of overviewing the ‘augmented’ use of network technologies in F2F conferences, use in blended f2F and online conferences and those virtual conferences that are hosted entirely online.

One can’t help but notice the demand for (and extensive use of) wireless connectivity by delegates at face to face conferences these days. Of course, too much of this activity (especially emails) likely situates delegates (virtually) back at home and likely the F2F session suffers from contention for attention. However, we highlight in the article means such as blogging, IMs, audience question possing and polling that can be used to focus and enhance interaction even during F2F conferences. The article also describes ways in which the net is used in blended fashion to support learning before and after the conference.

But of greatest interest in the article (to me) is the overview, examples and (limited) evaluation data from conferences that run completely online. The growing awareness of the ecological and financial cost of travel, coupled with the opportunity cost associated with spending days away from home and workplace, make completely online conferences increasingly attractive. This article is chocked full of links and provides a good discussion of the techniques, benefits and challenges of using net technology to enhance professional development conferences.

Well worth a read, but then I’m biased!!!!