To travel or not…

To travel or not...

Last week I spent a few days in Northern Ireland. Or, to be accurate, I spent a whole day getting there, a whole day getting back, and a day at a conference in Fermanagh. Considering that my own presentation was 15 minutes long, it is highly questionable the value of my effort. There were no questions after any of the presentations, and though I got several comments and connections in the coffee-break, and over dinner, there was nothing that I couldn’t have answered equally easily by email. So why did I not do the presentation by videoconference? Or even via a pre-recorded DVD? To be honest, it would have been a lot easier, and just as useful – except that many/most organisations are not really geared up to handle vc. In the UHI we are spoiled by the ease and frequency of use, but this is the exception. There is still an unfamiliarity, both in terms of technical competence and etiquette, among organisations that network. They should know better. It is a traditional activity of academics to attend conference, to share ideas and to network, but unfortunately there is usually a better quality of networking in the bar, the cafe, and the meal-times than in most conference sessions. I like travel, in general, but I am getting MUCH more cynical about the value and efficiency of most academic conferences.


One thought on “To travel or not…”

  1. I am fully with you Frank, apart from the time lost travelling, the costs are not always re-imbursed. If there is good value in networking opportunities, or value added from new cultural experiences, then there is an added attraction in going.
    Videoconferencing is something we both advocate, but as you say many places are not geared up for this, or even have the support to play and project a DVD. It is often an additional cost at a conference centre.

    In videoconferencing terms, I have come across a very neat idea, that creates your double at meetings. It’s an iPad robot on Segway wheels.
    I found a UK distributor and now have one, and another to connect to in Australia! It is great fun and it will be interesting to see if it catches on!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s