The Conference (and Classroom) Manifesto

The Conference (and Classroom) Manifesto January 2, 2016

An opinion piece about academic conferences in the New York Times a while back got a lot of attention, and I created a draft post about it but didn’t return to the topic until now.

On the one hand, it was saying something that I have said before – that it is hard if not impossible to quantify the value of such conferences, and administrators at some point are going to begin to question their value.

On the other hand, the same sorts of things can be said about classrooms. In the modern technological environment, do we need students to gather in one physical place to learn?

Educators, for the most part, will say that something that cannot be precisely explained or quantified can happen when students gather. Often it is the things that cannot be scripted that make a course memorable and amazing.

Isn’t the same true of academic conferences?

See also the piece in the Chronicle calling for academic conferences to be saved.

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