It started in March. Conferences and industry meetings began canceling one by one. At first it was, “we will do it later in the summer”, then “later in the year”. Now we are doing it completely differently or not at all. This interesting topic came to us from The Scholarly Kitchen in their article, “Guest Post — Pivoting your Conference: Pandemic as the Mother of Invention.”

What does a virtual conference look like? Sometimes “virtual” had been seen as “not quite as good.” The one thing COVID-19 has given us is the power and space to be creative and think differently, including rethinking what “virtual” means and that it could mean “better.”

An online environment can in some ways exceed what the face-to-face conference achieves. The key is not to try and cookie-cutter the same agenda, format and content into a different – digital – platform. Maybe we should start with calling them what they are – online conferences.

Melody K. Smith

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