Virtual National Meetings
Last week, the annual national joint meetings of ASCLS and AACC were held in Washington, DC. The meetings were very successful, drawing thousands of attendees nationally and internationally. The meeting offered cutting edge presentations, represented the gathering of top scientific experts and the opportunity to network and socialize.
However, in the social settings, there was much discussion regarding the fact that many attendees had to pay their own way with little (if any) financial help from employers. The cost of registration, travel and accommodation represented a sacrifice for many. Others complained about missing time from work, especially if they had to use vacation or personal time as well to attend a week-long meeting.
The energy use and carbon footprint of thousands of attendees are also substantial.
Online college courses abound through the use of bulletin boards and programs like Blackboard. Several people around the country or around the world might easily collaborate on one project using virtual tools like Web 2.0. With current technology available for teleconferences and Web conferences, should we rethink how our national meetings are offered?
Might it be possible in the near future to reduce cost and increase productivity by planning shorter, fewer in person professional meetings and offering sessions using techniques like Web conferencing?