[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

[Xmca-l] Re: A New Type of Academic Conference



This proposal for a new type of conference raises interesting issues for me in terms of conflict between the obvious benefits of using technology to reduce the consumption associated with big international conferences and the possible costs associated with reducing opportunities for people to meet (as Mark points out).

One of the odd features of participation in this forum is that one is engaging with ideas which are (to a greater or lesser extent) disembodied - in the sense of not being associated with a person who is known in the complex ways in which we know people when we have met then and engaged with them in conversation (and especially in more playful forms of conversation such as may be possible in breaks, over meals and in bars). Many big conferences are not great at providing this sort of opportunity and of course we are all used to engaging with ideas through print media which also (usually) provide little opportunity to 'get to know' the author.

It feels to me as if there are both risks and benefits associated with the separation of ideas from the people who hold them and this is itself a potentially interesting topic for discussion (in fact I am sure it has cropped up several times on xmca in the past).

It would also be interesting to know whether 'digital natives' who have grown up with the internet and screen based communication have found ways to 'get to know' each other through online interactions - ways of seeing behind the masks which people put on to present themselves?

All the best,

Rod

-----Original Message-----
From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of Mark Chen
Sent: 05 October 2016 21:51
To: xmca-l@ucsd.edu
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: A New Type of Academic Conference

Yes!

Not just to save on carbon emissions but hopefully to also make them serve a greater academic community incl. students and those without any grant funding or institutional support for travel.

Some of the huge benefit to conferences, however, are the informal networking that happens outside of regular sessions (ie, in the hallways, at bars, etc.), so it'd be curious to hear how that is addressed.

mark

On Wed, Oct 5, 2016 at 8:54 AM, Greg Thompson <greg.a.thompson@gmail.com>
wrote:

> I can't recall if this went out to this listserve. Apologies if it is
> a repeat, but this seems like it might be an ideal way to organize a
> virtual CHAT conference considering that we have people from all over
> the world who like to CHAT but who don't always have money to travel to ISCAR.
>
> -greg
>
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
>
> *From:* UCSB EHC [mailto:ehcfellow@gmail.com]
>
> *Sent:* Tuesday, October 04, 2016 9:10 PM
> *To:* Tami Pugmire <tamipugmire@byu.edu>
> *Subject:* Please circulate within your department: A New Type of
> Academic Conference
>
>
>
> Dear Tami Pugmire,
>
>
>
> Would you be so kind as to forward this email to faculty and graduate
> students in your department, as well as anyone else who might be
> interested?
>
>
>
> This is a follow up email to one I sent out earlier this summer and
> outlines an eco-friendly conference approach that we have used at UC
> Santa Barbara that has a nearly nonexistent carbon footprint. In order
> to encourage other groups to try this conference model, we have
> created a White Paper / Practical Guide that explains our approach.
> Details are below.
>
>
>
> Thanks!
>
>
>
>  Ken
>
>
>
>
>
> The environmental cost of flying to and from academic conferences is
> staggering. When we recently calculated the total greenhouse gas (GHG)
> emissions for the UC Santa Barbara (UCSB) campus, we discovered that
> roughly a third of our GHG emissions come from air travel to
> conferences, talks, and meetings. Putting these GHG emissions into
> human terms, this is equal to the total annual carbon footprint of a
> city of 27,500 people living in India. And UCSB is just one of nearly
> 5000 colleges and universities in the U.S. alone.
>
>
>
> This issue can also be approached personally. When Peter Kalmus, a
> climate scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, did the math
> for a recent article in Grist
> <http://grist.org/climate-energy/a-climate-scientist-
> who-decided-not-to-fly/>,
> he found that two-thirds of his personal GHG emissions annually came
> from air travel to and from conferences and meetings.
>
>
>
> At UCSB we have been experimenting with a new type of nearly-carbon
> neutral
> (NCN) conference that takes place online (the talks are prerecorded;
> the Q&A sessions interactive) and which has GHG emissions that are
> less than 1% of its traditional fly-in counterpart. Because we use
> open source software, such a conference can be staged for nearly zero
> cost. An individual familiar with WordPress installations should be
> able to have a conference space (website) prepared in less than a day.
>
>
>
> My reason for writing is that we have created a White Paper /
> Practical Guide that both explains the rationale behind this NCN
> conference approach and also details how to coordinate such an event:
> http://ehc.english.ucsb.edu/?page_id=14080. If you are planning a
> conference in 2016-17, we urge you to consider this approach. Please
> note that this is not in any way a commercial venture. We are just a
> group of faculty interested in doing what we can to help mitigate our
> profession's worrisome impact on climate change by freely sharing our experience.
>
>
>
> Note that this conference model differs significantly from a typical
> webinar, as it does not use Skype, Zoom.us, WebEx, GoToMeeting, or any
> such real-time teleconferencing solution. In a nutshell, here is how it works:
>
>
>
> 1) *Speakers record their own talks*. This can be A) a video of them
> speaking, generally filmed with a webcam or smartphone, B) a screen
> recording of a presentation, such as a PowerPoint, or C) a hybrid of
> the two, with speaker and presentation alternately or simultaneously onscreen.
> Because they are prerecorded, talks are closed captioned for greater
> accessibility.
>
>
>
> 2) *Talks are viewed on the conference website*. Once they are made
> available on the conference website, the streaming talks can be viewed
> at any time. Talks are organized into panels (i.e. individual
> webpages) that generally have three speakers each and a shared Q&A
> session – just like a traditional conference.
>
>
>
> 3) *Participants contribute to an online Q&A session*. During the time
> that the conference is open, which is generally two or three weeks,
> participants can take part in the Q&A sessions for the panels, which
> are similar to online forums, by posing and responding to written questions and comments.
> Because comments can be made at any time in any time zone, scholars
> from across the globe can equally take part in the conference.
>
>
>
> For an example of this approach, please visit the website from our May
> 2016 NCN conference on "Climate Change: Views from the Humanities,"
> which provides a full archive of the event, including all talk videos
> and Q&A
> sessions: http://ehc.english.ucsb.edu/?page_id=12687.
>
>
>
> To see this model in action (and to take part in the Q&A sessions, if
> you like), visit the website for our next NCN conference, “The World in 2050:
> Creating/Imagining Just Climate Futures,” which will take place from
> October 24 to November 14, 2016: http://ehc.english.ucsb.edu/?
> page_id=14895.
> Keynote speakers include Bill McKibben, Patrick Bond, Erik
> Assadourian, and Margaret Klein Salamon. A truly international event,
> we have over 50 speakers from six continents.
>
>
>
> Although originally conceived of as a way to help mitigate climate
> change, this NCN conference model has additional advantages:
>
>
>
> 1) Because of the high cost of airfare, scholars from many developing
> countries have long been summarily excluded from international conferences.
> Without the requirement of travel, scholars can participate from
> nearly anywhere on the globe, especially as asynchronous talks and Q&A
> sessions, privileging no one locale, eliminate the challenge presented
> by world time zones - thereby facilitating truly global, interactive conferences.
>
>
>
> 2) This conference approach is generally more accessible than its
> traditional counterparts, as A) eliminating travel sidesteps many
> hurdles to physical accessibility, B) prerecorded talks can be closed
> captioned for hard-of-hearing individuals, and, C) with respect to the
> blind and visually impaired, the conference website can be optimized
> to work with audio screen readers and talks can also be made available as audio podcasts.
>
>
>
> 3) Similar to open-access journals, the lasting archive created by the
> conference (both recorded talks and written Q&A discussion) gives
> nearly anyone anywhere with relatively affordable technology instant
> and lasting access to all the cutting-edge material introduced at the
> event. In contrast, traditional conferences are often closed-door
> affairs open to only a privileged few.
>
>
>
> 4) The text-based Q&A sessions, which were open for the three-week
> duration of the May 2016 UCSB conference, on average generated three
> times more discussion than takes place at its traditional counterpart.
> One of the sessions generated ten times more discussion, making clear
> that, while different from a traditional conference, personal
> interaction was not only possible, but in certain respects superior.
>
>
>
> 5) Because the cost of such a conference is considerably less than its
> traditional counterparts, a range of groups and institutions that
> could not ordinarily stage an event of this sort are now able to do
> so. This includes universities in the developing world previously
> lacking the significant financial resources required to coordinate international conferences.
>
>
>
> 6) Conference talks can be closed captioned in more than one language.
> Although this was not done for the May 2016 conference, future UCSB
> events are being planned with talks by speakers in their native
> languages that will be closed captioned in English. In addition, we
> plan to have all talks captioned in Spanish as well as English.
>
>
>
> For more details, do check out our White Paper / Practical Guide:
> http://ehc.english.ucsb.edu/?page_id=14080. If you have any questions,
> please feel free to send them directly to me at the below email address.
>
>
>
> With many thanks for considering this NCN conference approach!
>
>
>
> Ken
>
>
>
> Ken Hiltner, Professor
>
> English and Environmental Studies
>
> Director, Environmental Humanities Initiative
>
> 3431 South Hall Administrative Center
>
> University of California, Santa Barbara
>
> Santa Barbara, CA 93106-3170
>
> hiltner@english.ucsb.edu
>
> ehc.english.ucsb.edu
>
> kenhiltner.com
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> --
> Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
> Assistant Professor
> Department of Anthropology
> 880 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
> Brigham Young University
> Provo, UT 84602
> http://byu.academia.edu/GregoryThompson
>



--
You see before you *Mark Chen, PhD*. Above his head appears a label that changes every time you look at it between "*Indie Game Designer*," "*Professor of Games and Learning*," and "*Director, Pepperdine Gameful Design Lab*."
Do you send him a tweet (*@mcdanger* <http://twitter.com/mcdanger>), check out his website (*markdangerchen.net* <http://markdangerchen.net/>), or respond to this email?
He looks at you expectantly with a smile.
________________________________
[http://www.plymouth.ac.uk/images/email_footer.gif]<http://www.plymouth.ac.uk/worldclass>

This email and any files with it are confidential and intended solely for the use of the recipient to whom it is addressed. If you are not the intended recipient then copying, distribution or other use of the information contained is strictly prohibited and you should not rely on it. If you have received this email in error please let the sender know immediately and delete it from your system(s). Internet emails are not necessarily secure. While we take every care, Plymouth University accepts no responsibility for viruses and it is your responsibility to scan emails and their attachments. Plymouth University does not accept responsibility for any changes made after it was sent. Nothing in this email or its attachments constitutes an order for goods or services unless accompanied by an official order form.