LINGUIST List 12.1495

Wed Jun 6 2001

Disc: Suggestion for Online Conferences

Editor for this issue: Karen Milligan <>


  1. Eric Baber, Online conferences

Message 1: Online conferences

Date: Wed, 6 Jun 2001 10:14:06 +0100
From: Eric Baber <>
Subject: Online conferences

Re: Linguist 12.1487

Hello all,

Larry <> wrote:

> Hello everybody on line, I would like to address the comment "Of course,
> there would not be any discussions then!".
> Real-time video conferencing via internet is already technically posible
> many parts of the world, and even in countries with communication links
> that are generally slower or have lower bandwidth, many researchers can
> sometimes afford to travel to those places in their own country (or
> a neighbouring country) where facilites for real-time video conferencing
> may be available. If even that is not possible, then real-time
> participation in at least a question-and-answer session via telephone is
> often still feasible.

That's a distinct possibility, though live audio and/or videostreaming
(rather than conferencing) is probably more realistic at the moment,
in terms of making a conference available to the largest possible
audience. By using audiostreaming online delegates can listen to the
presenter giving a live presentation; this can be backed up by
web-based visuals such as PowerPoint presentations, Word documents
etc. Communication amongst delegates, or between delegates and a
presenter, can be done in the form of text-based chat. By combining
these readily available tools it's possible to hold a conference
completely online. We'll be doing this in fact in November in the form
of the "ELT online conference" ( ) in an effort to
hold a truly international conference which anyone with an Internet
connection can attend at a vastly lower price than having to travel to
a face-to-face conference.

In addition, it's quite right that face-to-face conferences should now
offer online components. Again, this can be done in the form of
webcasting (streaming) the presenters' live presentations, and
offering communication between the presenter or a helper and the
online audience in the form of text-chat and/or discussion
boards. This widens potential audiences tremendously. This is
something we have done on several occasions, and the organisations
were very happy with the outcome.


> These young people
> probably consider our style of conferencing quaint - or worse. Let us
> from them. :-)

Exactly. And not just learn from young people, but also from how
things are done in other industries. The language industry is
notoriously slow about catching on to developments in other fields,
and we only have ourselves to blame for that.

> I am confident that the technical and the structural and organisational
> problems related to such tele-conferencing, as requested by SharbaniI
> Banerji and Turkay Bulut, can be overcome through appropriate allocation
> funds and through planning and training of both the support staff and the
> participants in such conferencing events - what is left to tackle are the
> obstacles in our minds.


Best regards

Eric Baber
NetLearn Solutions
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