conference blog – questions of etiquette

There are conventions about conference behaviour just as there are in every other area of academic life. Here’s three conference basics.

1. If I’m late for a session, should I go in or wait outside?

It’s just about acceptable to come into a session slightly late. It happens a lot and it’s often unavoidable. The trick is to acknowledge that you are disrupting proceedings. You should get in as quickly and quietly as you can and take the nearest available seat. Don’t go clambering over lots of people, make a huge amount of noise or generally draw more attention to yourself than you need to. If the speaker stops because you’ve interrupted proceedings, then you need to look suitably apologetic. You may feel the need to silently mouth the word “sorry”, but this isn’t mandatory.

However it is much less OK to come late to keynote sessions. They are generally timed to be first thing in the morning or after lunch so that everyone has time to get themselves in and seated. If there is a way to quietly sneak into the back of the room/hall/lecture theatre, then that’s OK. But if you have to make a grand entrance in front of the entire audience, then think more than once about whether to do it, particularly if your presence is going to continue to be distracting for some time while you find a seat. If you are really unavoidably detained, by weather, traffic or something beyond your control, then you’ll probably do it and find a way to make excuses later to anyone that seems put out.

2. Should I just bowl up to someone I don’t know but would like to, and start a conversation?

As long as you’re not interrupting another conversation, absolutely yes. Getting to know new people is what conferences are all about.

If it’s someone who’s given a paper there might be a bit of a queue to speak to them afterwards, so wait in line rather than just butting in. You might want to say that you liked their paper, or you like their work, or you could take up an issue they referred to and that you’d like to know more about. You might want to ask if you can email them later and you can ask for their business card or offer yours with a note on it about your interest. The idea is to create the opportunity to either have a conversation at the time or later.

If it’s someone standing around, looking at books or having coffee, the answer is still yes. And you still need to work out beforehand what you are going to say. Again it could be something about an aspect of their work, or it could simply be thanks for a piece of their work that you’ve found helpful and/or interesting. Don’t overstay your welcome, the object is to introduce yourself, to make contact you can follow up later. Look for non verbal cues that might signal that this is either to be a short or longer conversation. You may not get to have the big deep and meaningful first time, but simply create the space for more interaction later.

3. Should I have a paper to distribute?

Many conferences stipulate that you bring 20 or so copies of your paper with you. This is as much observed by absence as it is in reality. Many people have to travel long distances to get to conferences, and presenters are often worried about using all of their cheap budget airline luggage allowances on papers. Equally, many people don’t want to take the papers on offer at conferences because they don’t want to carry heave the carry on equivalent of a thesis into the overhead luggage compartment. The alternatives to bringing a paper are:
– A handout of slides with a contact address to follow up if people want papers
– A sheet of paper to circulate so people who want a paper can register their interest
– A concluding slide which gives your email address so people can write to get the paper
– Business cards which have the address where people can contact you for follow up and the paper
– Loading your paper onto an open access site like academia.edu or researchgate and giving the location on the first and final slides of your presentation or as a tiny handout.
Any of the above shows that you are happy to share your work.

Of course, if you can’t yet distribute your work because it’s embargoed – and I’m about to do that at a conference next week – you just have to make excuses and say how people can get the paper when it finally gets out of limbo.

What more would you add to this etiquette list?

Posted in conference, conference papers, conference presentation, networking | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

should doctoral researchers blog?

I often get asked about the pros and cons of doctoral researchers blogging, and I know other colleagues do too. There isn’t a right or wrong answer to the question of course, it’s always an “It depends”. But here’s a few beginning thoughts.

For a start, whether to blog or not depends what you are hoping to achieve. Maybe you are thinking about an individual blog, something you create yourself on one of the standard platforms like blogger, wordpress or medium… and if you are, here’s some possible reasons and some things to consider….

(1) Your personal blog is a place to reflect and record what is happening in your research.
A blog can do this. It can be like a journal. You might blog about the things you are reading and thinking about. Formulating ideas into a thousand words or so and linking to relevant texts and other online resources can be helpful to your writing and thinking. It can be an archive and an aide-memoire (see Heather Davis post).

However, there are some potential pitfalls in using a blog as a journal. Take writing about field work for example – you do need to be careful about what you say… “I’ve just seen the most disgraceful behaviour imaginable… “ is not going to endear you to your research participants. You have to anticipate that they might go searching for you and what you do. And why are you journalling in public? What do you want everyone to know, and not know? How will you feel about your first doctoral year reflections some years later – will you want your early researcher self obliterated from public view?

But maybe there is another reason for blogging:

(2) Your personal blog is a way to develop your writing.
Blogging is a great way to develop academic writing. All of the writing advice out there, whether it’s for academic or creative writing, suggests that it’s good to develop a writing habit. Write regularly, everyday. It’s good if writing is as routine as cleaning your teeth. Blogging can be a useful part of a regular writing routine. As well, writing texts that are going to be public can help you develop a ‘voice’, help you to write with some authority, and allow you to practice writing in an accessible style. Writing in public and for a public is also, as Thesis Whisperer says, a key part of developing your academic identity.

But who are you writing for and why would/should they read what you’ve written? How will anyone know how to find what you’ve produced? Maybe you also need to consider:

(3) Your personal blog is a way to create a network.
Well no, it won’t do that. A blog doesn’t create a network, not by itself. Having a network means that you’ve found people who have the same interests as you. This is unlikely to happen just because you have created a blog. It’s not as simple as making a page, writing a few posts and hoping people will find it. Some might, but many more won’t. People have to know your blog exists. So you need to communicate it and yourself in some way – through face-to-face conversations, linked in, twitter, facebook … It’s the totality of your social media activity that creates the network, not just a blog (see Deborah Lupton’s research on this for example).

But as all the social media advice says, you need to do more than just promote your blog – you need to join in conversations. There’s nothing more tiresome that someone who only tweets about their latest blog post and never engages in any other way. You have to be a participant not just a marketer.

Maybe networking isn’t your prime purpose. Maybe you want to:

(4) Use your personal blog to communicate your research.
Communicating means that you have to find readers – see all of the above on networking. You need to get out there and join in conversations in order to get people to become interested in your work.

Many people suggest that the blog is a very helpful place to try out ideas that can be developed into full research publications later. You can use your blog to test run and experiment. You can build your agenda and your profile. But it’s the goal of communication where doctoral researchers have lots of worries. The two things I get asked most are:

Does a blog count as a publication? The answer is yes, it does. A blog is published – on the web – and it can be cited. And if you simply cut and paste your posts into your thesis or a paper then you are technically self-plagiarizing if you don’t note the original.

Now, because publications are high stakes in the academic game, you do need to consider what you need/want to do in relation to publishing. How does it connect to getting a job? Some people think that publishing your research on a blog is wasteful and the ‘good stuff’ should be saved for the publications that matter more – books and refereed journal articles. But it’s worth remembering that a blog post is generally short, it’s not the same as a journal article or a chapter, and you are likely to always do more in a paper or chapter than a post. And some people swear that their blogging was more than a bit useful in the process of getting a job, as it demonstrated to selection committees that they were keen, and able, to communicate with wider publics.

• Another common worry is that someone will steal your ideas. The truth is that this may happen, but it can happen anyway, not simply from blogging. Someone can be in your conference presentation, read an online conference paper, take away your slides handout, read your digital thesis – and they can just as easily plagiarise them too as a blog post. Plagiarism is a hazard of contemporary academic life and each one of us makes our own actuarial calculations about what is too risky.

But I’d also note that the reverse works too – blogging can be a hedge against accusations of plagiarism. I often use my blog to put down markers in the field – so if I’m thinking about something and I blog about it in a dated post, then I can demonstrate that I didn’t steal the idea from someone else who writes about it later!

And of course, stealing ideas is harder if your blog is not anonymous.

But is an individual blog what you want and/or need? The reality is that many doctoral researcher blogs do have quite limited readerships. Those that don’t, those that are well read and known, tend to have focused missions and a clear readership in mind. And even then, only some garner masses of readers. So, before you spend a few hours setting up your blog, it’d be good to spend time getting clear about exactly what you want to do, and why.

It’s worth considering options other than starting off your own individual blog and committing yourself to regular dollops of time writing posts. You could for example write guest posts for established blogs. You could suss out how to become a regular or semi-regular blogger for an online publication. You could form a collective with other doctoral researchers, or with others in your field, and start a newspaper-style blog. Write for Research has a helpful explanation of three different types of blogs. All or any of these blogging options could achieve what you want. It is really, really worth thinking about which type of blog suits you best.

A bit of a summary

So some key questions for aspiring doctoral bloggers are:

• Why blog? What do you hope your blog will do?
• Who is it for? What are they interested in? What else is out there and how is your blog different?
• How will you engage with your ideal readers?

The usual advice is, once you know the answer to these questions, you should try to write your blog’s mission statement and use it to generate the title, and the short description of the blog that appears on its front page. But don’t forget the other question:

• Should you start your own blog, blog with others or blog around?

Posted in academic blogging, doctoral research, networking, plagiarism, publications | Tagged , , , , , | 12 Comments

the academic reference

I’ve recently read Dear Committee Members by Julie Schumacher. The book is constructed as a series of letters, many of them academic references, written by one Jason T. Fitger, Professor of Creative Writing and English, Department of English, Payne University. The hapless Fitger, a novelist who hasn’t published for a very long time, spends his days and nights writing caustic memos to his superiors about the plight of the English Department, wheedling letters to his colleagues in other Departments and of course, letters of recommendation (LoRs) for his students. I reproduce one letter here to give you the sense of the Bad Academic Reference a la Fitger.

This letter is intended to bolster the application to Wexler Foods of my former student John Leszczynski, who completed the Junior/Senior Creative Writing Workshop three months ago. Mr. Leszczynski received a final grade of B, primarily on the basis of an eleven-page short story about an inebriated man who stumbles into a cave and surfaces from an alcoholic stupor to find that a tentacled monster – a sort of fanged and copiously salivating octopus, if memory serves – is gnawing through the flesh of his lower legs, the monster’s spittle burbling ever closer to the victim’s groin. Though chaotic and improbable even within the fantasy/horror genre, the story was solidly constructed; dialogue consisted primarily of agonized groans and screaming; the chronology was relentlessly clear.

Mr. Leszczynski attended class faithfully, arriving on time, and rarely succumbed to the undergraduate impulse to check his cell phone messages or relentlessly zip and unzip his backpack in the final minutes of class. Whether punctuality and enthusiasm for flesh-eating cephalopods are the main attributes of the ideal Wexler employee I have no idea, but Mr. Leszczynski is an affable young man, reliable in his habits and reasonably bright.

You might start him off in produce rather than seafood or meats.

I’m sure you begin to get the picture, from this one letter, of how Dear Committee Members goes. I read sections of it out loud to amuse my friends on our recent week in the mandatory summer holiday cottage. It’s that kind of read – and it is one of those more-than-a-grain-of truth comic novels that you give to your academic mates for Christmas. It’s had mixed reviews, but I reckon it’s absolutely worth having one in your peer group to pass around for a lighthearted read-aloud.

But there is also something to be gleaned from the book about academic references. Fitger doesn’t know much about most of his students and he can only say a pathetically small amount about them. And what he says would mostly be better unsaid. Your average non-academic employer doesn’t want to know about academic work, they just want to know if the applicant will be a good employee. Fitger has precious little to say on that subject and manages to make even punctuality sound like an underachievement.

Throughout the book, Schumacher shows a set of cringe-worthy Fitgerisms – the academic references not to write. They’d make a pretty good beginning to a professional conversation about academic reference writing – when we get around to having them! And why don’t we talk about academic references more?

Almost from the moment you start work in a university you’re asked to write references. Students want references so they can get a part-time job doing temporary clerical work while they study, and when they apply for a real job after graduating. Doctoral researchers need references so they can pick up a bit of teaching or temporary clerical work while they study, or when they apply for a real job after graduation. Academic colleagues need references too – when they are going for promotion, when they put a bid in, and when they are going for another job somewhere else. And that list doesn’t even start to cover the reasons and times that you will be asked to write an academic reference.

It’s a wonder that we don’t talk more about this form of academic writing since it’s so common. Academic references are high stakes texts. They do important work. What a referee says can make a really big difference to decisions made by people the referee never actually sees and may not even know. A relatively small number of words are important in competitions for scarce commodities – paid temporary work a job, reputation, research funds. What you/I write can make a very significant difference to a person’s present and future.

Of course, when we write references we are also putting our own reputations on the line. Reference readers can make a judgment about how much to accept and trust what we say on pretty flimsy grounds. They may have seen us at a conference where we were having a bad day, they may know our work, or some of it, and disagree with it violently, they may have read something we wrote and think we are the smartest person out there. And let’s be honest, they may also have heard gossip about us. This all influences how that crucial reference is actually read. But while you can’t control what other people think and do, you can control what you write.

So, what makes for a good reference? What do people read into a reference, what are they looking for? How do you learn the academic craft of saying- and not saying – what you mean?

What do you have to say on the academic reference? Want to write a guest post? Make a comment? Please join in. The academic reference is a piece of secret academic business that needs outing.

Posted in academic title | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

thinking about research questions

I’ve been asked a few times to post about research questions. My response up to now has been that there is already a lot out there on the topic and I’m not sure what I could add. But of course that’s a bit of a cop-out. So I’ve been thinking about what people get stuck on when developing their questions. And this week, as a bit of a break from blogging the conferences I’m at, I thought I’d have a go at research questions. As it’s also the time of year when people are starting doctorates, or taking on new doctoral researchers and/or writing bids, maybe my timing is right!

I reckon it’s pretty helpful to understand and use the fact that there are are different kinds of research questions. They’re not all the same. Questions can do different things. Let me explain… You can investigate a topic using a variety of questions. Each kind of question in turn allows a range of possible projects which use different approaches.

Here’s a starting list of ten different types of research questions* that you might use to begin to think about your research area. There’s a very big health warning here too – this is by no means a complete list. It’s a tiny beginning intended to give you some starters and to support the idea that there is a diversity of research purposes and approaches for every area of research interest. You might want to take this list and talk about and expand on it with your mates or your supervisor.

Question types

(1) Interpretation
What might x mean?

Examples:
• Interpretation of a text: What might Dicken’s metaphors of illness mean?
• Ethnography: What happens in a dementia ward?

(2) Hypothesis
What is the best explanation for x? – usually stated as a proposition to be tested.

Examples:
• Randomised control trial: Teaching phonics helps children read.

(3) Relationships
What is the relationship between x and y?
What might be the cause of x? – this usually implies correlation of factors

Examples:
• Mixed methods study: What influence do business leaders have on policy-making processes and how is this exercised?
• Network analysis: How do philanthropists influence public policy?

(4) Claim:
What does the evidence about x suggest?

Examples:
• Meta analysis: What does existing research say about how to encourage children’s healthy eating?
• Evidence based review: Is there any evidence to suggest that public health advertisements about exercise change children’s behaviour?

(5) Comparison
How is x different in y and z?
Why is x different from y and z?

• Comparative case study: Why do some hospitals have more satisfied staff?
• Discourse analysis: How do different professions understand ‘client satisfaction’?
• Survey: How do hospital staff regard the notion of ‘equal pay’?

(6) Policy/practice
What should be done about x?

• Action research: What might be ethical guidelines for online research?
• Market research: What might be done to encourage online shopping?
• Design research: What might be a better way to design online learning?

(7) Value
How good is x?

• Evaluation: How satisfied are students with the HE student loan system?

(8) Effect
What happens when…

• Intervention study: What happens when we flip lectures?

(9) Effectiveness
What makes x good?

Mixed methods study: What do successful business leaders do?

(10) Equity
How much of y does x get?
Why does x get less of y?
What happens to x when y happens? This is often accompanied by a policy/practice question – and therefore, what should be done to redress the situation for x.

• Secondary data analysis: Which groups of young people do not go to university?
• Comparative case studies: Why do some universities attract more diverse student populations than others?
• Narrative analysis: What are the experiences of ‘nontraditional students’ attending an elite university?

Using the above, or your own expanded list of question types, can help you think about your options. Start off your project thinking not only about the topic you are interested in, but also what aspects of the topic interest you. You might also think about why you are interested in the topic. You can even think about what you hope to happen as a result of your research. It can be very useful to take some time to go through possible questions to see how they frame your topic in different ways. And it’s useful too, once you’ve arrived at the question you want to ask, to think of the various ways in which it might be researched. This ‘possibility generation’ of questions and approaches is not a bad way to clarify and focus your research project. So it goes, area – interests – questions -approaches...

Have a go. It’s not the only way to sort out a research question of course, but it’s a strategy which could help make your options clearer.

* These ten question types were prompted by Bruce Ballenger’s list of six types of inquiry, p. 42 The curious researcher: A guide to writing research papers. However I’ve elaborated these, a lot, and Ballenger shouldn’t be blamed for this set!

Posted in research, research design, research question | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

conference blog: the put-down

Do unto others/what goes around/karma and other such truisms constitute the unwritten conference rule. This goes from pushing in ahead of people in the loo line to making rude remarks about people’s work. However, this rule is sometimes broken, particularly when it’s time for questions after papers.

Occasionally you see and hear a question-that-is-really-a-put-down so outrageously rude it’s almost to be admired. These question-put-downs become conference gossip quicker than the formation of the queue for the free drinks. This week’s quintessential conference put down – which of course I have only heard about and didn’t actually witness myself – apparently went like this….

A rambling and pretty appalling polemical paper finishes. There is silence. No one wants to engage. Then finally, someone asks in a terribly polite fashion, “So did you have any empirical data at all to back up what you are saying?” Ouch. There is, as you can imagine, an almost audible intake of breath as the the audience hears what they were thinking said out loud but knew it would be much too impolite to say.

I wasn’t told what the presenter said in response but you’d have to suspect there was no coming back from this question-put-down. And you wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of this kind of response yourself – do unto others/what goes around/karma etc. I gather it almost made the audience take pity on the long-winded polemicist. But not quite. The observers could perhaps enjoy the presenter being paid out without having to suffer any consequences themselves.

Now this little anecdote does go to show the dark art of the academic put-down. It’s an apparently harmless question or comment which is excruciatingly patronising/passive- aggressive/caustic/acerbic. It’s not a full frontal attack. Its power is in its unfinished nature, it’s in what’s not directly said.

This level of rudeness doesn’t come naturally to all of us and it does take some level of audacity. However, I’m not suggesting that you practice the academic put-down unless you want to be the stuff of conference gossip and the occasional blog post. And I certainly hope you’re never on the receiving end of this kind of straight-faced sideswipe. But it might be fun to compile a list of the rudest polite conference put-downs you’ve heard.

Any takers to beat this one?

Posted in conference, put-down, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

conference blog: survival essentials

So you’ve arrived at the conference venue and you’ve registered.

You’ve got your conference bag and had a quick look to find the printed programme. There’s other papers in there too. Publicity leaflets about forthcoming books. Publicity materials about the venue. Publicity materials about the city you’re in, often in the form of a pocket map. There may be some additional conference information, and if you’re lucky some of this will be helpful. There may even be some conference logo-ed blank paper (we got four sheets) and a biro that will last for the duration of the conference (mine lasted a few hours).

OK, that’s probably all good. But it’s not enough to get you through the next few days.

Here’s five basic conference survival essentials that won’t be in your conference pack. These certainly weren’t in our ECER bags, but several conversations I’ve had over the last few days suggest that these might be good (read this as important) things to get sorted early on in your conference.

1. Food. It’s vital to work out how to get water, coffee and lunch.
This is not simply a matter of finding the outlets, or observing where the conference organisers are setting up the tea/coffee stands. It’s also about working out how to get to these just a bit ahead of the rush. If you’re too early you look refreshment obsessed. Too late and you stay parched and empty for hours.

Being ahead of the pack requires a calculation about how far your seminar room is from the location of the food and how long it will take to get there. (It’s just like an airport really… It will take you five minutes to get to gate 43… ) Next, you need to work out how you can make a casual and nonchalant exit from the packed seminar room a touch before everyone else. (Sit near the door.) It’s got to be just offhand enough, or it’s got to seem seriously urgent. A sure strategy to achieve the latter effect is to get out your phone so it looks as if you’re leaving the room to respond to an urgent phone call. Who’d argue with a pressing call from work?

1a Free food. There’s also some calculations to be made about the evening conference events. The cheap wine. The mass catered and generally fried hors d’oeuvres. The mystery casserole.

At the end of the conference day everyone’s more than a bit tired so there’s often a very undignified and un-scholarly feeding frenzy. Of course, filling up on the free stuff so you don’t have to buy dinner isn’t an option for everyone. For a start there usually isn’t enough free food to go round (and it’s not really free, you paid for it in your eye-watering conference fees). You therefore have to work out whether you want to be one of those people who elbows their way to a good helping of what’s on offer, or be the other variety of conference goer who retains their dignity, takes what’s left after the elbows have had their way, and saves their appetite for later.

2. Loos. The general principle for conferences is that there’s never enough loos, there’s always a queue and two of the loos won’t work after the first half day. (Well that’s how it is for women. I wouldn’t know about the rest of you.) Just like the food, you have to work out when the likely loo rush time is – generally at the start of breaks, and at their end – and you need to make sure you go at other times – unless of course you’re happy standing in the long line trailing out into the corridor.

3. Clothes. You have to wear conference clothes that you feel OK about. So, do you want to appear formal? professional? laid back? Whatever you decide, you also need to be comfortable. (The conference is not the time for wearing in new shoes. Too much standing around.) And choose something that doesn’t wrinkle too much, unless you like being fashionably dishevelled – now is not the time to be worrying about getting creased. And, wear layers. You need something to put on if the air-conditioning is arctic, and something to take off if the room resembles the local sauna. And of course, when you’re actually presenting you have to wear something that you feel both good and comfortable in. It’s stressful enough doing the presentation without having to worry about how you look.

4. Getting online. All conferences have online facilities. Eduroam is everywhere, so make sure your access is already sorted before you leave home. (Unless your university IT people are on tap, it can be hard to get eduroam arranged by remote control several hundred kilometres away from base.)

Why get online? Well, being online is particularly good in those sessions where papers miss the mark. Gaze directed to your screen, you can look as if you are taking assiduous notes or tweeting cleverly, when in fact you’re doing your email, reviewing a journal article, marking an assignment or booking your next holiday.

5. Travel. Make sure you know the local travel situation. Out of town universities are always accessible by public transport and the conference will usually tell you what route to take to get from the city. However, what they don’t generally tell you is how much change you need to have, how to work the ticket machine, whether they check you’ve got a ticket at all (just in case you don’t have the money and the machine is broken, you understand) and how often the buses/trains run. Conference materials also often forget to tell you how to hail or book a cab. Don’t get stranded at the venue late at night when everyone who knows this information has disappeared.

There. That’s a small conference starter survival kit. Five things that may or may not come in handy, but as well to be prepared.

Have you got more that you’d add to this list?

Posted in conference, conference survival tips | Tagged , , | 10 Comments

conference blog: beware the conference app

This is a guest post written by Dr Julie Rowlands from Deakin University, Australia.

Greetings from the ECER conference at Porto. As a recently appointed academic after a mid-life career change, this is my first international conference. It is very exciting and a little bit (OK, a lot!) nerve wracking. However, this post is not about the conference itself. It’s about what I did and what happened to me before I even got to the conference, because I hope that sharing this story might make the first international conference experience a little easier for others also.

This story starts in Australia, where I am from. Like all conscientious early career researchers I read every pre-conference email from the organisers and was keen to be prepared in terms of knowing where I wanted to be, when and with whom, before I even got to Portugal. As soon as the conference app was available I therefore downloaded it and carefully selected the sessions I wanted to attend. The first of these was my own session of course – there was no way in the world I was going all the way to Portugal only to miss my own session. But there were lots of others also – sessions being given by my colleagues, sessions by luminaries whose work I admire and have cited (and who I hope I might get to meet at the conference), and sessions by those whose names were not familiar but whose work was interesting and relevant to my own in some way. When I had finished selecting all of these sessions the conference app asked if I wanted to sync the details with my calendar. I said yes – and all of the relevant details magically appeared in my Outlook. This was neat! I also registered through the ECER conference website for the personalised online programme. Of course, I also polished and rehearsed my presentation. In short, I left Australia on the 23 hour flight feeling quietly confident with my pre-conference organisation.

My first inkling that something was not right with all of this came when I had arrived in Porto and was having a chat with my presenting colleagues about where we had to be, when. I dutifully pulled out my smartphone, opened the Outlook calendar to check the venue for our first session, only to find that we were presenting – at 6.45 am! This can’t be right, I thought, and carefully checked all other sessions I had selected. They were all at odd times too. Worst of all, my own presentation was showing as being at 2.00 am. It seems that when I arrived in Portugal all of these events were helpfully moved back nine hours, corresponding perfectly with the time difference between Australia and Portugal. That was when I noticed that it was not only the conference sessions that had moved – my son’s swimming sessions and my next eyebrow wax were also in the middle of the night! It seems that by downloading the conference app and moving selected events into my calendar before I left home, everything in my calendar had moved back nine hours, even though I did not have ‘time-zone sync’ selected in my calendar settings. Not to worry, I thought, I will muddle through with the online programme and at least when I go home all of my other commitments will go back to normal. Apparently not, advised more experienced colleagues who had been through this before – some pre-existing calendar entries never recover from this international conference-imposed time warp and need to be deleted and re-entered, from scratch!

The moral of this story is that sometimes too much pre-organisation can be a bad thing – especially if it involves conference program apps. The rule, which I shall be sticking to slavishly from now on, is don’t download your conference app until you have arrived at the venue and are safely in the same time zone as the conference. Then you can download to your heart’s content.

Posted in conference app, conference papers, conference presentation, Julie Rowlands, Uncategorized | 2 Comments