Digital Researcher 2011 – a virtual attendee’s review

February 14, 2011

Today (in between labelling cells and plating out bugs) I attended Vitae’s event: Digital Researcher 2011 by following it online.

Why didn’t I go in person to the event?

Well firstly, there was no way I could be away from the lab this week. But even if I could have spared the day, although my supervisor would probably have been ok about me attending the event, he wouldn’t have deemed it worth spending lab money on and I couldn’t really justify paying for it myself.

What did virtual attendance involve?

Vitae hosted a virtual attendance webpage, on which slides from the day were posted and audio from the day was available (more later). There was also a hashtag for twitter, #dr11, which all attendees were encouraged to follow.

What did I think of it?

As before the event the website was saying that there would be audio livestreaming 11am-1pm I arranged my lab work so I would get a break and be in the office during this time. I was mildly annoyed when 11.20 came and went and there was still no audio stream (and I knew the lecture was going on because I could see the comments on twitter!) However, eventually the talks were posted – with the afternoon talks and one workshop being livestreamed.

Technical gremlins aside, I actually found the posting of the entire recordings in some ways more useful than the livestreaming as I could go away, do a bit of lab work, come back and pick up where I had left off. Obviously this reduced the amount of interaction I could have on twitter for these talks – I could read what everyone else had written, but couldn’t really contribute.

The content of the day was really useful (I won’t repeat it all – check out the website above for more information) – even though I wasn’t at any of the workshops I still came away knowing more about how I could connect my research with the online world (and a greater appreciation for how important this is). I hope to use what I’ve learnt, both to improve this blog and its reach, and to increase my research network (as, being so new to the field, I don’t really know anyone at all!)

If I could do today again what would I do?

Well if I had money to spare I would definitely attend the event in person, but failing that, I would still attend virtually. Despite not being able to fully participate, there were lots of useful links and tips and some great points to think about and I suspect I will gain even more when I go (hopefully tonight) to the various posts and pages that the workshop groups created during the day.


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