Virtual Conferences: Pro & Contra

The REMOTE conference at ASU, Arizona State University, was my second fully virtual conference. It impressed me. Although many things could be better, this is —I think—, so far, state of the art. In the following video, you’ll get a few impressions.

What this conference did very well

  • Most talks were done by two people plus a moderator. It’s much more lively than when someone is on their own.
  • Every session was synchronous, had a timeslot and was recorded.
  • A few minutes after a session the recordings were online.
  • There were many different chatrooms. The participants were listed and could be reached by chat or mail.
  • Schedules could be saved and downloaded to one’s calendar.
  • You could get into a session a few minutes in advance and have a look at the handouts.
  • You could watch sessions simultaneously (if you were brave).
  • The chat and the Q&A (informal and formal communication) in every session were separate channels. If you had a real question or if you needed help, you could write into the Q&A.

If I’m not mistaken, it was organised using the product by inxpo. The price tag is quite impressive. But maybe it’s worth it. Let’s look at the pros and cons of virtual conferences in general!

In General

Pro

  • Content/parts/sessions can be asynchronous (pre- or post-recorded)
  • It’s much easier and comfortable for shy people. 😉
  • Ther are no additional travel and accomodation costs.
  • It’s time efficient.
  • You can switch between rooms/sessions (if something’s boring).
  • It’s possible to attend conferences around the world.
  • Participants attend from all over the world. (Diversity, equity,…)

Contra

  • Discipline to attend may lack! It’s hard if work is just in another window on your computer.
  • It’s tiring to sit a few hours in front of the screen. (Some conferences offer ‚Chair Yoga‘ sessions once or twice a day!)
  • Although possible, it’s harder to connect to other people.
  • If there are many participants all writing in a chat, it is IMPOSSIBLE to read what’s going on.

Anything we should add to the list? Please drop me a line!

Best,
Sarah Frederickx