Sunday, October 5, 2014

Kotesol International Conference 2014....the good and the bad

Kotesol 2015
Kotesol Conference 2014

 I'll start with the positives first:

1. The venue.  I think the move to Coex from Sookmyung was a good one.  You get what you pay for and in this case, you pay for no last-minute schedule/room changes, tech that actually works and a more "professional" environment to host a conference in.  Reasonably easy to get to and plenty of dining options around.

2. Networking opportunities.  It felt like I saw every last person that I have ever known in Korea.  Plus, I met a few new people who I enjoyed talking to.

3. The free coffee (and supposed snacks?).  Good idea, just not executed well.  Think bigger and better next year please!

4. Kotesol partnering with other organizations.  I think this is good thing.  Partnerships means better for everyone.

And now, onto the negatives:

1. I attended precisely one helpful presentation out of the entire weekend.  And I attended about 8 of them.  I was especially disappointed with the invited famous people.  Like really not helpful and quite often very boring.

I'm wondering if it would be better to invite less "famous" international people and instead focus on the locals who are reasonably well-known and popular and give them some of the featured slots.  Especially the ones who bring it down to the classroom level.

2. The scheduling.  For example, Sunday at 1:00.  There were 2 featured presentations, but neither of them sounded interesting to me, or most of the other people that I informally talked to.  Most people ended up taking a 2 hour lunch-break.  It wasn't what I wanted to do, but there was just nothing else going on.

3. Saturday 9am presentations, which were before the opening ceremony. Did anyone actually attend these? I'd be quite disheartened if I was given this time slot.

4. I fault myself for not reading the program carefully enough, but a couple of the sessions I was interested in were actually advertisements for a book.  Maybe an asterisk besides them in the main schedule page would be helpful for people like me who don't read the whole program book.

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