In person or virtual conferences?

Theres an interesting discussion on slashdot

And there an interesting read as part of this

Your thoughts ?

My humble thoughts…

Developer conferences should almost always be virtual. If there were a question-and-answer period, then there might be some value in attending. Most conferences seem to be a one-way conversation.

Teaching has the answer of it-depends. In a teaching institution such as high school, then interaction with the teacher is important, and this is why high-school is called a teaching institution. This is where a virtual conference is better with the ability to be in-person. One-on-one teaching should be in person, whereas an entire class (300 students or more) should be virtual.

In University, the classes are setup as a learning-institution. This is where the professor relays learning information, and interaction is often minimized. Usually classes are a one-way conversation where virtual may seem to be a better method.

I am open to suggestions, as there are always exceptions to the rule :wink:

Virtual learn is not quite enough for a chemist… While most of the classwork stuff could have been done that way, the lab time is invaluable… It’s where you really learn how to do and approach things.

Kind of like the new Tele-Doctor. My doc called and said our next appt was on the Phone… I told him to cancel it… Not gonna give him a hefty copay for him to simply ask “How do you feel”… He can’t take my BP, Temp, or other vitals, can’t listen to my heart … all of which I feel give him a baseline to continue… And I can’t show him the Glucose readings for the last 90 days… nor can he draw blood for updated A1C… so what good is it

I cancelled a over the phone appointment with the proctologist a couple of weeks ago. That would have been an awkward phone call.

Learning for me is “conversational”
I have a conversation with the instructor and get way more out of it than just a recitation of whatever is on the slides etc
But - thats me :slight_smile:
So I tend to prefer the in person conferences

As well I like the in person socialization outside of the sessions

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I completely agree. There are definitely labs that are definitely critical to thinking. However, I have also been mislead by others who ‘believed’ that certain reactions, results, and mathematics were correct due to a conversation. Yes, the ultimate truth is to perform a test and critique it critically.

Unfortunately in Canada, Chemistry in University has significantly less lab work than a college degree in University. An electronic version of the lab, such as a movie or have the professor demonstrate the reaction might be a possible option?

Did you mean has significantly less lab work than a college degree in a US University?

I did never understand what non science people did with all of their time in college! We had at least as much lecture time as they did, plus a LOT of hours in labs for our undergrad courses, never mind study time!

Not really… Chemistry is as much a trade as it is an academic pursuit… And I know I learned more when things did not work as expected and I needed to figure why, and then get it to work.

While I am not a synthetic organic chemist, doing those labs taught me things that were useful in my career (though I try to avoid doing wet chemistry as much as possible! :wink: )

Can you imagine a would be Medicinal Chemist entering grad school with only having only having seen video demos of synthesis?


In Canada (and probably the U.S. since our education systems are similar but not the same), there is much more lab time for a college degree (2-year degree) than a Bachelor of Science (4-year degree).

I agree that Chemistry is a trade and an academic persuit. A university degree introduced me to the basics and provided general knowledge, and most of the practical work and lessons-learned were out in the field, in a lab, or on a drilling rig. Chuckle, almost all of my work was/is wet chemistry :slight_smile:

Agreed, this is not ideal, and unfortunately seems to be the way that the educational system is going. It seems like the days when you started work from the bottom of the workforce, and worked your way up are gone. I am one of the few that did it the long and hard way :slight_smile:

I’m confused… I was speaking about getting a BS in Chemistry… College is not 2 years… here that would be an Associate degree and the school usually called a Community College not college.

BTW I have always used college and university interchangeably. I got my degrees at a university.

Getting my bachelors there was plenty of lab time… BTW that was back in the 70’s.

The university I went to was on the cooperative education system.

Freshman year was a full academic year which was 3 quarters rather than 2 semesters… after that every year one worked either one or two quarters on a job in industry (or government) and teh rest of teh time was in school… No real vacations!!! One was either in school or working all year, and it took 5 years to get a Bachelors that way… Many (not all) worked at the same place for those 4 years and more than a few who were not going on to grad school wound up working for that employer.

My co-op job was working at an army research center, so I had a lot more practical experience when I finished my bachelors than most!


I found out many years ago that College and University terms have different meanings for education system for different countries. In Canada a College Chemistry degree is often called a Chemical Technologist degree and is 2-years in length. A University degree Bachelor of Science is 4-years in length. A licensed Professional Chemist must have a University Bachelor of Science degree, where a Chemical Technologist is licensed as a Chemical Technologist.

I often get confused as some governments and regulatory organizations sometimes use the terms interchangeably and sometimes not.

When I got my Bachelors in the early 80’s there was some lab time, and the Chemical Technologists had much more lab time, which seems to be the case today in Canada. Yea, its weird.

The US does not have anything like those licenses AFAIK… If it does I have been working illegally for a LONG TIME! :wink:


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Here a LOT of people cannot legally call themselves “engineer” because they are not registered professional engineers and members of the governing body in the province :slight_smile:

For over 20 years… my business card (issued by my employer) said I was a Software Engineer (sometimes with more versbose title included)… and I don’t even have a Degree. (Yet I was at times, the supervising software design archeticth to a team of others that did) :smiley:

This varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction
Here the MCSE and Java Engineer designations, along with others like the old Novell ones etc cannot legally be used
They were actually sued and forced to altered the titles give to people who passed those certifications

Engineer is a VERY specific professional designation and you must be a member of the local governing body, the Associations of Professional Engineers, Geologists and Geophysicist of Alberta (APEGGA), to be able to use the title

I’m not so despite years of experience I literally cannot legally say I am a software engineer

As someone who has spent the last 14 years working remote and interacting via phone conferences… I am kind of tired talking on the phone; however, I have lost any skill set to what it means to go to a meeting in person.

It all comes back to you in a flash just like riding a bike :slight_smile:

OH ! but you DO have to wear pants

The image you planted in my mind will hunt me for ever LOL

Please guys… do wear pants! :stuck_out_tongue:

:wink: it depends…

the more important coaching sessions and meetings are always face-to-face, the less important more on operational basis are via video conference though I am insisting using secure one. Zoom or Teams or GoToMeeting are not considered as secure (they are recording your mic even when muted, using your data and send documents etc). Your own Jitsi, BBB or Nextcloud Server can be considered as secure.

You could always have shoved your mobile … never mind … :roll_eyes:

Karma”s a :dog2: