Serendipitous connections including blogs, twitter, Virtually Connecting, and postcards resulted in impressive acts of care from students in Japan to those affected by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico (Mehran, 2017; Vantaggiato and Levine, 2017). Such acts of caring/sharing/serendipity are not uncommon in informal networked places. Yet academic conferences for the most part privilege those able to attend in person and typify a classroom delivery model of interaction. #OER20 and Virtually Connecting are exceptions addressing it than other organizations, but even for this conference the submission form required on-site presentation.
Beyond the virtues of carbon reduction, can we create more collaborative professional development that make for a more effective experience for all, regardless of ability/desire to travel? Conferences need not be just in person (with a live stream or twitter back channel) or just fully online, yet formats seem little changed since before the internet existed. In addition to recognizing inequity for contingent faculty (Murray, 2019; Chernoff 2018) very few events consider implications of events for those involved in education who are self-employed– beyond costs of travel, attending/participating is time not earning income.
This performance piece aims to provoke what remains a centrality of in-person conference modes in an era of networked communities and virtual relationships that are more than real.
Chernoff, C (2018). Solidarity in Times of Precarity. [online] Inside Higher Ed. Available at https://www.insidehighered.com/advice/2018/08/10/tenure-track-faculty-should-support-other-academics-more-precarious-career [Accessed December 22, 2019].
Levine, A (2013). True Stories of Open Sharing. [online] Available at: http://stories.cogdogblog.com/about/ [Accessed December 22, 2019].
Mehran, P (2017). Connecting to Puerto Rico Through Augmented and Virtual Realities. [online] Diary of a Technophile and an Equity Advocate. Available at: https://parisamehran.wordpress.com/2018/05/17/connecting-to-puerto-rico-through-augmented-and-virtual-realities/ [Accessed December 8, 2019].
Murray, D (2019) The precarious new faculty majority: communication and instruction research and contingent labor in higher education. “Communication Education”: 68:2, pages 235-245. Available at https://doi.org/10.1080/03634523.2019.1568512 [Accessed December 22, 2019].
Vantaggiato, A and Levine, A (2017). Episode 2: 4 People, 3 Continents, 2nd Podcast, 1 live recording. [online] The Puerto Rico Connection. Available at: https://prconnection.cogdog.casa/2017/65461/ [Accessed December 8, 2019].