First off, I have to admit this: I feel a lot of pressure to “perform” as a virtual attendee (see tips here if you’re doing this first time) after my last Sloan-C conference attendance (winning top virtual participant, being interviewed about it here), etc. So I also feel the need to justify, in advance, why I might not be a super-participant this time around, even though “blended learning”, the topic of the conference (Sloan-C have changed their name to Online Learning Consortium today) is actually the main area of my work now.
Timezone issues were not a huge problem last time. Even though I’m on EST +7 and would much rather attend a conference in the morning while my daughter’s in daycare, last time, I had babysitting help.
But here’s a list of things that can (and probably will) cramp my virtual conference attendance this time around:
- Electricity cuts. We have at least one cut a day these days, if not more (I missed so much of Wimbledon because of this!). Last time during #et4online, I only had one electricity cut in 3 days, and it was during the time I was putting my kid to sleep, so I didn’t miss anything
- Cranky kid. She’s teething therefore cranky when not getting attention, and sleeping badly at night, napping badly, etc., and that’s all time I cannot be spending online doing conferences and tweeting.
- Ramadan. This, introduces multiple complications, as I wrote earlier:
- My mom & husband can’t help out with babysitting because fasting during Ramadan exhausts them
- Family commitments during iftar (breaking fast at 7pm Cairo time) mean one day I won’t even be home for part of the conference, and another day I’ll have my mom-in-law over – so that’s the time just before and after 7pm (that’s noon EST) I’d be helping get food ready, eating, and helping clear the table. At least.
- My best time spent online will probably be after 10pm my time (when my kid is sound asleep, hopefully! and hopefully I’ve not fallen asleep yet) by which time the conference will probably be almost over… but hey, better than nothing!
I’m still hoping to get some time to participate, I just don’t know how engaged I can be, even though there are soooooooo many sessions I’m excited about. Will have to wait and see.
I do wish the recorded sessions could be available immediately so that I could get a chance to talk to the presenter or other participants about a topic soon after – like the next morning or something.