Re:Implementing a modest proposal

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Posted by Wendel Swan on January 12, 1999 at 15:03:28:

In Reply to: Re:Implementing a modest proposal posted by Alan Nagel on January 12, 1999 at 08:57:39:

Alan has already made some astute observations on Jerry's "modest proposals." I agree with most of them, but will add my own:

: 1) Fewer lectures.

"High quality research" is but one of many attributes in a good presentation. The basic problem in the rug field is a shortage of qualified individuals who can and will make presentations. Fewer lectures may mean fewer bad lectures, but also fewer good lectures.

Speakers for the ICOC submit abstracts of their presentations months in advance of the conference and are supposed to have a final version to the Academic Committee for submission to the simultaneous translators prior to the conference. This process does not resolve all the problems or complaints.

ACOR invites speakers but does not request the submission of any material prior to the conference. Just as with the abstract submission and vetting process, sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn't.

: 2) Longer lectures.

While 20 minutes may be way too long for some speakers and 60 minutes may be too little for others, only the most extraordinary orators can hold an audience for an hour.

Round-table discussions can be a good format, but success is no more assured than it is with an individual speaker.

: 3) Written texts.

The ICOC publishes its proceedings as OCTS after the conferences, but it would be virtually impossible to have all the written material ready by the time of the conference. What would you do about all the slides and "live" rugs that are so vital to many of the lectures or presentations? Written texts may be SOP in academic conventions and handouts may be very useful in some rug settings, but full written texts are both impractical and not useful for most rug lectures.

Personally, I think that lively and informed discussions can be the best part of any rug gathering, but there is just no way to predict or manage them. Q+A periods can be beneficial to the speakers as well as the audience. Perhaps a bit more time should be allotted to them. Even good Q+A sessions would be only one component of a good conference.


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