As a regular participant in and proponent of virtual conferencing I was excited to see the announcement from ACRL about its “first-ever” Virtual Conference offered jointly with the Coalition for Networked Information (CNI) and EDUCAUSE. Being that 2006 is an off year for ACRL National Conferences this affords a great opportunity to join in an academic library conference without leaving your library. The conference theme, “Innovate and Motivate: Next Generation Libraries,” will explore how revolutions in technology impact academic librarianship and higher education. That seems quite appropriate for a conference in a virtual space.
The conference will take place April 20-21, 2006 in a LearningTimes Online Conference Community. If you have participated in any of ACRL’s online workshops or the virtual conference sessions that ran simultaneously with the 2005 Minneapolis conference then you are already familiar with the LearningTimes online environment. If you are curious about participating in a virtual workshop or conference in the LearningTimes virtual setting, you have an opportunity on November 10 to give it a try. On that date, at 3:00 pm EST, the Blended Librarians Online Learning Community is hosting a webcast on “Powerful Powerpoint” that will feature Kris Wiemer, instructional designer, providing ideas and tips on creative ways to improve PowerPoint presentations for better teaching.
Here’s a tip for participating in a virtual conference. Treat it like a real conference. Don’t expect to be at the library getting your regular work done while you jump in and out of virtual programs. You’ll be distracted and it will detract from the quality of the experience. Instead immerse yourself in the conference. There will be plenty of ways to join in an interactive experience. Another tip – equip yourself with a good headset. I’ve participated in dozens of virtual session and I always wonder why librarians come to participate without one. With it you can talk to the rest of the participants and presenters and be more engaged in the program. A good headset is under $30.
You can find the complete text of the Call for Participation, including track descriptions and the online submission form at: http://www.ala.org/ala/acrl/acrlevents/virtualconference.htm. Submissions will be accepted through January 6, 2006.
I’ll be posting more about this conference between now and April 2006.