Prior to the TCC Worldwide Online Conference, we were asked to read and analyze supplementary articles that gave more information as to the idea behind the creation and use of such online conferences. In my reading, I found the article written by Dr. Kimura and Dr. Ho, Online conferences and workshops: Affordable & ubiquitous learning, Opportunities for faculty development, to be the most intriguing. The reason for my interest was purely analytical. I am a fan of being able to support my conclusions with numbers and this article did a great job giving context to the reasons behind the continual conference creation every year.
One of the major themes throughout the article was the idea that online conference and specifically the TCC Worldwide Online Conference can be a viable substitute for facing to face conferences. One of the biggest takeaways for me was in the article it talked about the cost to attend a face to face conference. The article stated that “$3000 USD cost is similar for one traveling fro Hawaii to attend a conference on the mainland USA” (Kimura 2003). This dollar amount is significant, especially in the educational field as monies allocated to professional developments are usually either tight or restricted in terms of travel expenses. To stress my point, there were rumors about Hawaii DOE teachers not being allowed to use school funds for off-island professional developments due to the cost. So, with the costs of online conferences being only a small fraction of traveling conferences it is a more viable option, especially for the public school sector.
Another point brought forth in the article was the idea of having more direct interactions with the presenters. This is an appealing aspect to conference goers as often, especially at larger conferences with bigger name presenters, you may not be able to spend time with the presenter or even be able to ask a question. This point was strengthened by comments by online participants who commented ideas like, “At major physical conferences, one usually sees cliques develop and interaction limited. This seemed less in the virtual conference venue.” Also, “being able to receive feedback from colleagues from all over the world.” This idea of more on-demand interactions with content area experts lends itself to the superiority of online conferencing versus face to face.
Kimura, B. Y. & Ho, C. P. (2008). Online conferences and workshops: Affordable & ubiquitous learning, Opportunities for faculty development. Proceedings of the Distance Learning and the Internet Conference 2008. Retrieved from http://www.waseda.jp/DLI2008/program/proceedings/pdf/session3-1.pdf