Lots of Classroom 2.0 people are not just thinking about new ways to use tech in the classroom, but also in professional development, workshops and conferences. Many of us have also participated in Steve Hargadon's unconferences either in person or virtual, or sat in on ustreamed or podcasts of sessions.

It seems obvious that conferences have to be more responsive to participants in this virtual age.

One thing that sets the tone of a conference are the sessions. The fact that many people feel that they learn more in the hall or in the bar means that many conferences aren't choosing sessions that really work. However, the session selection process hasn't been examined much.

The other day I ran across some research about session selection and it was astounding. Their conclusion - the standard review process is “faulty,” “unreliable,” and worse, tends “…to refuse good papers because of the reviewers’ bias against new ideas or new paradigms.”

“So, it is evident that acceptance policies based on the positive agreement of reviewers will increase the probability of refusing good papers.”

If you'd like to read more about this, I did a longer post on my blog - Conference 2.0 - changing how sessions are selected

So the question is - what is the future of the conference session? Is it an idea whose time is done!?

Tags: conference, sessions, workshops

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Sylvia:

I love talking about this. Especially with you!

May I refer folks to the www.conference20.com wiki site as well? I've set this up to not only be a repository for some of the ideas surrounding this issue, but also as a place to list specific events/links for specific existing conferences. I added your most recent post to the resource list.

I'll also use this thread as a first opportunity here to make CR 2.0 members aware of a fun project I'm working on with NECC, where we are going to have a "conference within a conference." We will use their lounge areas to have an "unconference" that takes place during the actual days of NECC. More at http://conference20.wikispaces.com/necc2008.

And let's not forget our all-day Saturday EduBloggerCon on June 28th in San Antonio. http://www.edubloggercon.com/NECC+2008. :)
What an interesting insight. I notice that the conferences I attend seem to have two groups of people: those who present and those who attend. The same people tend to be selected over and over, but that certainly does suggest a bias against the new and innovative. I wonder also about the session formats themselves. Perhaps we learn more in the bar and the hall because we are not in a lecture style engagement???

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