What is an “online conference”?

[you can “attend” in your pajamas]

In-person conferences

In an in-person conference, such as we have all experienced, attendees travel to a conference site (often at significant expense) and are offered an array of sessions, each in its own room where an individual presenter or small panel of presenters speak on a subject of interest. Listeners in the room can ask questions or comment if time allows. Sometimes each session may attract a dozen attendees, more or less. Often conflicts in the conference schedule prevent attendees from getting to all the sessions that interest them. And once a session ends, it is over and cannot be revisited.

Online conferences

In an online conference, attendees do not need to leave their homes or offices but rather, as the name indicates, can engage in the sessions and discussions online, and at no cost. International in scope, an online conference can feature presenters and attract visitors from around the world, and each conference session might gather dozens, even hundreds of visitors, who can engage in as few or as many of the sessions as catch their interest. And since the conference is archived online, the sessions and discussions remain available to readers after the conference ends.

Asynchronous operation

Online conferences operate asynchronously, that is, participants do not need to be online at the same time, but can check in at their convenience, experience a session, leave a question or comment, and come back the next day, or later, to view the continuing discussion. This kind of interaction can continue as long as the conference is “open,” usually for a few weeks.

How it will work

Our conference is scheduled to be open for three weeks, starting on Monday, March 28, the day after Easter 2016. During that time, participants visiting the conference URL will find a list of a dozen or more presentation Titles and authors. Each Title on the list is a link to a presentation that might involve text, image, audio, video, or narrated PowerPoint. Many visitors will simply read and enjoy the presentations, but those who wish to do so can post a comment or a question for the author. Authors monitor their pages regularly while the conference is open, and are able to address the questions and reply to the comments. Other participants can comment on the comments, and a lively discussion can ensue, carried on asynchronously over the course of the three weeks the conference is open. The conference will be closed to further discussion at the end of the day on Sunday, April 10.

Preserving the conference

After its three-week run, the conference will be closed to further activity, but all presentations and discussion will be “frozen” and archived, remaining online and available for anyone to read in the future.

We very much appreciate your interest and participation.

Soli Deo Gloria