I've just returned home from a couple of days at the Kotesol Conference in Seoul this past weekend. As is usually the case, it was a mix of good and bad. Here are my thoughts:
1. As always, the venue is fabulous. It's convenient transport-wise, has plenty of restaurant choices outside the main gate, and is big enough to not feel too crowded.
2. I enjoyed some of the presentations I went to and picked up a few practical things for the classroom. Even the not-so-helpful ones weren't horrendous, as was the case last year. The emphasis on "101" workshops seemed popular and I noticed on the schedule that there weren't that many presentations on purely researchy, non-applied stuff. This was my main complaint from last year.
3. It was nice to see some people from way back in my early days in Korea. Plus, I got to meet a member of the Seoul Podcast (did you know I was on the Podcast once?!) in person, where previously we'd only talked on the Podcast. I also met a few people who follow the blog, which is always nice. If you want to make contacts or see random people you haven't seen in years, this is the place to do it.
1. Pre-Registration always seems to be a nightmare on the website. It was perhaps different for me, since I was a presenter, but I got what seemed like 6 million emails from many different people about registration. It was quite unprofessional and in my experience from organizing similar things, having one contact person is a very good thing. Any attendees with reports about pre-registration on the website?
2. Presenters had to pay more in conference fees. This is totally ridiculous in my opinion. After all, without presenters, there is no conference. One of my friends decided not to do her presentation as a protest against this. I will be joining her next year if things stay the same.
And what did I get for my extra fees?
A. Being changed to a new classroom that wasn't even on the map. I was amazed that anyone even came. I would have just thought it was annoying and given up.
B. A 9:00 Sunday Morning presentation time. I'm not from Seoul so it forced me to stay overnight, adding to the expense of my weekend. Perhaps the Seoul-ites could be given these early-morning slots?
C. No "room monitor" until about 1/2 way through my presentation. A Tech-guy interrupting my presentation 2/3 of the way through to make sure I had no tech problems. It was purely sink or swim on my own for getting the computer and projector and powerpoint set up.
Anyway, I'm kind of neutral on the whole thing. In the future, I'll be sticking to the conferences where I don't pay more in fees, or get to go for free for presenting as a matter of principle.