Prompt #2: Conferencing

Oops! I got behind… but here’s week 2!

I can’t see how you would have ended up here without knowing the prompt, but here it is:

  • Discuss the role that attending conferences plays in your professional learning.
  • Reflect on one valuable conference experience you had and discuss why you found it valuable.
  • Let us know what happens once your conference experience is over. Do you share what you’ve learned and, if so, how and with whom?

Hooray! This is not fluffy. This is practical and related to what I love the most – professional learning! 

Hanging out with old colleagues in Denver at AMATYC 2017. The goofy hat was forced upon me since I was on the local area committee for 2018.

Conferences don’t play too large a role in my professional learning. Mostly because of how they are scheduled – I’m a complete control freak in my classes and don’t like leaving my students to anyone else. So I miss out on most conferences because they are during the school year and overlap with classes. I guess that other educators use their summers for actual vacation or something. I usually prefer a day-long workshop or a webinar or just checking up on some #MTBoS blogs to get my professional learning on.

Anyway I’ve been lucky enough to attend AMATYC for the last two years in a row. To me the most valuable part of a conference is the ability to meet, network, and share ideas with other people passionate about helping students. At AMATYC 2017, I was able to reconnect with a bunch of colleagues and find out what was happening at their colleges and departments. At AMATYC 2018, I was able to meet a bunch of professors from other schools as well as some of my stats idols pictured below.

A ton of #APStats graders after a statistics talk. Christine Franklin, Daren Starnes, Allan Rossman, & Roxy Peck are all stats ed celebrities. And I got to have a drink with Beth Chance at a Wiley event! I was in #fangirl heaven.

My biggest problem with a conference (and why I prefer workshops or webinars) is that I have too many takeaways. A good problem to have, I guess. Except that I feel like I end up not doing any of them. With a single workshop / webinar, I can find a gem to use in my classes immediately without being overwhelmed.

I realize I’m skirting the second bullet point of the prompt, but I can’t pin down one valuable experience. Talks I had with Tammi Marshall, Beth Powell, Cindy Anfinson, Mark Clark, Beth Chance… were all highlights from AMAYTC 2018. Chatting with people from other campuses to see how they were planning to address AB705 was pretty awesome and something I wish happened more often.

Our department has experimented with lots of options for sharing and ‘closing the loop’ on professional development that we send out faculty to:

  • Presentations at department meetings:
  • AMATYCcrow
    Flying crow at AMATYC 2018.

    Separate course-specific meetings where participants share what they learned over lunch

  • Blog posts: (not actually about a conference, but I haven’t posted the one for AMATYC 2018 yet)

3 thoughts on “Prompt #2: Conferencing”

  1. Oh, I can totally relate to the “fangirl heaven”. Occasionally, I discovered people at conferences and was lifted from the “Who’s that anyway?”-cloud to “Omg, most impressive person ev0r”-fanboydom in less than a keynote. 🙂


  2. I agree that with a conference there can be just so many good ideas, it’s hard to know where to start. You get all excited about them, but when you get back into the office or classroom, work takes over and all those fantastic ideas you had seem to just float away.


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