Introducing the Comprehensible Online Conference
I am excited to introduce you to Comprehensible Online, a totally online conference experience.
Comprehensible Online has been a long time in the making. It is something that I’ve been thinking on for the past couple of years. Having traveled to many conferences over the past decade or so, I know all too well the costs associated with attending conferences. You have the travel, lodging, food, and time costs. Because of these costs, for many, conferences have been out of reach despite the excellent professional development they offer.
With Comprehensible Online, I wanted to change that. I wanted to bring the best CI presenters to you, to your computer or tablet, so that you can get the professional development you deserve at the least cost.
When conceiving an online conference, I had many decisions to make and the greatest one was how would the content be delivered. My goal with an online conference is to reach as many participants as possible, and that posed many potential problems. The biggest of which was time-zone differences.
Many online conferences are offered live with a replay option. They accomplish this by bringing all of the presenters to one place and live broadcast each presentation, recording it for later replay. The problem with this approach is cost to the presenters in both money and time. This defeated one of my principal goals.
The other option, the one that I opted for, is video presentations. Why did I choose that? Convenience. Convenience for both presenters and participants.
The presenters would save hundreds of dollars and days of time by not traveling to a central location. Instead, they would videotape their presentation in the format they deem best and submit it to be placed on the central conference site. This means also, that they don’t have to coordinate a presentation time that is convenient to many but not all, of the participants who would be spread throughout many time zones.
For the participants, they wouldn’t have to rely upon early wake-up calls or late nights to watch the presentations. Since all presentations are recorded, they can watch when convenient to them during the conference window.
I was worried that because the content would be recorded, the participants would lose touch with the presenters. I’ve solved that by adding a comment area within each presentation where participants could ask questions, post comments, and interact with other participants, as well as the presenter. Since it is in comment form, participants and presenters don’t have to simultaneously be online to communicate. This frees everyone to get involved in the discussion on their terms.
I’m not going to lie. This is a big experiment. An experiment that I’m hoping will be a great success for both the presenters and the participants.
Let’s all come together to make Comprehensible Online a rewarding experience for all and one we will look forward to year after year.