For the last week, we’ve had such a WONDERFUL exchange of ideas and opinions related to a single survey comment that I thought I’d see if we can repeat it.  This week, let’s address this:

I know this is beyond your control but I found myself twice having to choose between really great presentations. Thursday – Anomalies and Curiosities and the Roundtable discussion Fueling the Imagination. Friday Panel 50 Years of Women and Panel Strategies for Change. I am grateful that you will be putting these on the web so I can view them and I don’t have a solution because I am sure scheduling is a nightmare. Perhaps most important for you to hear is how many excellent panels were put on. Absolutely loved Pete Pinnell’s presentation. Love to hear him again.

First, as an aside, in case you don’t know, YES, we are getting conference presentations up online as quickly as we can.  About two a week are posted to our YouTube Channel, follow us there, or follow the blog or our facebook page to be alerted to all the new content (and Pete’s lecture went up just this past week!)  More coming soon also to the NCECA 360 Podcast, so check that out as well.

BUT, the crux of the issue here is the amount of conference programming NCECA offers, and my question for you is this….Is it too much?  But wait! before you answer that, let me give you a little background, insight and other things to consider.

About 6 years ago, we had three large lecture hall rooms for presentations (what we call concurrent programming), plus the big hall for the simultaneous demonstrators.  At that time there was also a room for slide forums and a room for video screenings, and the K-12 programming room.  Around that time, we added the student-led programming, and started to bolster the K-12 programming.  We realized that there may be TOO MANY choices, so about 5 years ago, I think, we actually reduced the number of concurrent session rooms from 3 down to 2.  Which helped, except then we created the Process Room…..and this year we added the Fab Lab as well.  So now we have the two big lecture rooms, simultaneous demos, process room, fab lab plus K12 programming, and student-led programming (the last two of those, incidentally, are often very popular with populations OUTSIDE of their intended audience).  So have we ballooned too much?  More people now attending the conference means we MUST have more options (or more space, which may or may not be possible since we sometimes can’t take a sledgehammer to a wall in a convention center), but with many options comes not only many hard choices, but also greater expense.  If you didn’t see it before, check out my conference cost breakdown from last year inside-nceca-vol-2-no-5-the-costs-of-the-conference.  Something I realized SINCE I wrote that post last fall is that when we add rooms, we also have to add additional A/V crew and equipment, which can get very expensive as well.  Many people already believe that the conference cost is too high, though I strongly believe this relates less to the cost of an NCECA Conference pass and more to the additional costs of attending, none of which NCECA benefits from.

So, that’s my opening volley.  Now I’d love to hear from NCECA members….we will be talking about this at our spring board meeting as we plan the program for Portland, so tell us what you think, either in the comments below or in our NCECA Facebook Group discussion!