We like conferences. It’s a window where you get to present your research. It’s an opportunity to meet colleagues from all over the world. It’s your possibility to get new and valuable input from others working within your field of interest. That’s some of the great benefits of attending conferences. However, as we experience it, most conferences have some downsides as well.

Most conferences allow you 20 minutes for a standard paper presentation and 10 minutes for a rather unfocused Q&A session. While you’re presenting your paper in one room, 7-12 people are presenting their paper in another room. As a consequence of this everybody seem to run out of your presentations half way through, as they want to attend another paper presentation by somebody who’s just a little more important than you. And most conferences are just getting bigger and bigger. For the conference organizations, size seems to equal quality.

Usually, you’ll spend 1-2 months preparing your conference paper. It’s a lot of hard work. And you do that to get your 20 minutes of fame. When you get back from the conference, you have to consider publishing the paper, which may well mean 1-2 years of continuous work with editing, revision, submission, etc. In that process, you’re more or less left on your own and have only limited (if any) contact with the people you met at the conference.

Discussing the pros and cons of conferences, we decided we would try to change that.

Our philosophy with the symposium series “Learning in Higher Education” is to bring together a small group of researchers (maximum 25 people) to write an international anthology. The chapters written for the symposium/anthology will be circulated among the participants, and we will form focused discussion/review groups that give constructive feedback to the authors during the symposium. We will address the questions that are on your mind, and focus our discussions around ways in which such questions can be answered. We will spend the days together at the symposium helping you to write the best possible chapter for our anthology.