Online Professional Development Conferences: An Effective, Economical and Eco-Friendly OptionReport as inadecuate

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Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology, v35 n2 Spr 2009

In order to stay current within their field, many professionals regularly attend conferences and training events in distant locales. Travel to these conferences costs professionals, and their sponsor organizations, both time and money. In the past the benefits afforded by these conferences, and the lack of comparable alternatives, have provided justification for these expenditures. However, recent studies have shown that the cost of travel extends beyond the pocketbook. Transportation is a major contributor of carbon dioxide (CO[subscript 2]) emissions, a key suspect in the argument for the negative impact of global climate change. This paper examines the potential effects of travel to these conferences on the environment and promotes online conferences as a comparable alternative to face-to-face events. A successful online conference is used to demonstrate the magnitude of the environmental and economical benefits of online conferences. The authors posit that online conferencing technologies have evolved such that they now offer another option for professional development that is effective, economical and environmentally friendly. (Contains 1 figure and 7 tables.)

Descriptors: Travel, Climate, Professional Development, Computer Mediated Communication, Training, Conferences (Gatherings), Distance Education, Foreign Countries

Canadian Network for Innovation in Education. 260 Dalhousie Street Suite 204, Ottawa, ON K1N 7E4, Canada. Tel: 613-241-0018; Fax: 613-241-0019; e-mail: cnie-rcie[at]; Web site:

Author: Anderson, Lynn; Anderson, Terry


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