SBLAAR20: Day Two

Busy Just Sitting Around—second day of a 10 day Academic Conference in 2020

Scanning for name badges takes on a whole new meaning in a virtual conference. Half of the meetings I attended were set up as webinars, so scanning for important people was impossible. But, where I could see the attendees, I engaged in scrolling through the names and passively wondering what they were doing behind that strategically placed photo image. The biggest bummer was missing out on waving hello to my friends when I “see” them.

With the virtual setup requiring additional assistance, I signed up before the conference to “tech assist,” which means signing onto Zoom and ensuring the presider has everything they need to run the session. It has been an interesting experience, where I have gained a lot of insight into challenges in the background. The post-COVID world will include more access to physical conferences utilizing virtual engagement.

I will say, there were a few strategies that worked well and some that did not. One thing I liked was a website link to a presentation or paper bibliography. This is easy to link in the chatbox and can be quickly copied/pasted by an attendee.

I think I sat at my desk for more consecutive hours than ever before. Somehow, I was hungrier than usual, yet I was not burning energy by walking around. Clearly, this is evidence that thinking burns calories? I don’t know the science behind Zooming, but I imagine this will be an area of exploration soon.

About this event

Society of Biblical Literature/American Academy of Religion (SBLAAR) is an Annual Academic Conference that extends Nationally, Internationally, and Regionally. This is the first year it is running online as a virtual conference. Usually, it is held in a large metropolitan city in the United States. Read about #SBLAAR presentations. Also, read about other academic conferences.

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