We love going to conferences! Traveling to a new city and learning new things are two of our favorite things! It’s always a bonus to connect with other professionals. We recently traveled to New Orleans for a professional conference where we got to experience all of the above.
There are numerous ways to maximize the experience. Attending sessions at the conference, networking with other conference attendees, and sightseeing are some of the best ways to make the most of every conference. If you follow us on social media, you’ll see we did all of these things recently at the Online Learning Consortium (OLC) Innovate Conference in NOLA!
We presented – Using Technology to Enhance Group Work in the Blended Learning Setting – with a colleague. We shared tips for using various technologies; many of these have been described in previous blog posts; however, we focused the tips we shared on how these technologies can enhance group work in various modalities. We also met with book publishers to discuss textbooks and resources for our classes. Additionally, we connected with faculty from other institutions to share best practices and exchanged contact information to stay in contact.
Attending a professional conference can be extremely beneficial! The new ideas that attendees and presenters gain can be implemented upon returning home. You can learn from others and enhance knowledge and skills that will help you be a better educator. Attending conferences helps you to remain current within your discipline or in the field. You may take an idea you gained from a session and implemented it into your classes. You may learn about a new, innovative technology that you can incorporate to enhance an activity. You may gain useful information to share with others in your department. Presenting at a professional conference is a great way to enhance your CV. Finally, the energy and momentum that is gained from being with like-minded individuals at a professional conference are motivating. Attendees often returned refreshed and ready to try new things. It reignites a spark and passion for teaching.
After conference attendance and networking, we enjoyed seeing the city! Conference cities are often stimulated by participants spending money at local establishments and visiting the local sites. So enjoy the city! New Orleans has so much history and culture. The locals are very nice and friendly. And the food was unlike anything we had ever experienced. So get out and make the most of the experience! Then, when you come back home, share what you learned with your students and colleagues.
Begin to research professional conferences to attend. Ask if your department or university provides funding to attend professional conferences. If not, consider attending with another colleague to share some of the expenses, like travel (carpool) or hotel. Make it a goal to attend or present at one professional conference every year!