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!?