I have never been to a virtual conference before. How does it work?
A virtual conference is similar in many respects to a traditional one. It is a time for interchange of ideas, talking and networking with colleagues, and sharing and learning from other projects engaged in similar work. There are also a few critical differences. You don't have to fly anywhere or keep to a pre-set agenda. There is no jet lag, and no hotel bills. You can get on-line, anytime of day or night and read what your colleagues have said and communicate with them. If you are on-line at the same time as other colleagues, you can send them an instant message and have an immediate conversation. Most of the conference, however, is asynchronous which means that you can leave comments, queries and replies and they will be answered when your colleagues come on-line.
Like a traditional conference, we have a keynote speaker. Professor Michael Fullan will be presenting a paper written especially for this conference entitled "Large Scale Sustainable Reform." Unlike at a traditional conference you will not be able to hear him deliver his whole speech, but rather you can print it or read it from the screen at your convenience. Michael Fullan has provided an audio introduction so that you can hear him a little as well.
After reading the Keynote, please join the discussion of the keynote which will be moderated by Michael Fullan. This is also similar in many ways to a discussion that might take place in a traditional conference. One advantage that a virtual discussion offers is that you can read and post at any time of day. Some people find that they prefer writing a comment or query to asking it in front of an audience. We have invited our discussants Susan Snyder, Judith Warren Little and Ann Lieberman to join in the dialogue and to share their perspectives. Most important, we encourage you to join in, and let your voice be heard. As this discussion will continue over a one week period it will be important to log in regularly so that you can follow the discussion as it unfolds.
One of the most important parts of any conference is learning from and with our colleagues. We have created an interactive Poster Hall in order to facilitate this type of interaction. Twenty veteran LSC projects that are near the end of their NSF funding cycle share the lessons they have learned about sustainability. They have each created a poster where they discuss their original goals, reflections from the end of their project, promoters and inhibitors to sustainability, suggestions for projects starting out and questions for the community. We hope that each registrant will take the time to communicate with the presenters (and with other participants who visit each poster) by posting to the discussion attached to each poster.
We have five panels as well. These panels are led by members of the LSC community who have grappled with a particular concern to many of the LSCs. Read the panelists short papers and then interact with the discussion giving your perspective, comments or questions.
Our Discussants Ann Lieberman, Susan Snyder, Michael Fullan, and Judith Warren Little will share their reflections with us as the week progresses. You can read these in the Discussants Reflect area of the site.
The resources section provides some additional resources suggested by our panelists and discussants.
Feel free to visit the Instant Message Center at the conference. You can send and receive messages from other participants who are on-line at the same time as you.
Don't forget to send us Feedback by visiting the Info Center. We want to hear and learn about your experience participating in this virtual conference! Let us know how it feels similar, better or worse than a traditional one. This is our first time hosting such an event and we will be learning with you.
This Conference is supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation (ESI0088027).
All comments, papers, and remarks represent opinions of the participants and are not necessarily shared by the Foundation.