Geelong Science Online Watch Party #scio13vic

Caffeine – no matter how many bad things can be written about its negative effect on sleep patterns, science conference attendees would have to be some of its biggest proponents.

After Science Online 2013, I’m sure many of the attendees and the thousands watching online and taped sessions worldwide were discussing their favourite roast-and-grind flavour as much as the session content.

Watch Party poster from Belgrade, Serbia

And when a targeted product arrives that helps focus the mind specifically on science concepts, Sci Online peeps will be lined up just behind CERN employees for their first taste.

I attended Science Online in North Carolina in 2010, as an employee in the marketing department of the little-known peer-reviewer Faculty of 1000. The level of science knowledge, passion and attendee prestige in each session scared me but also helped to plant the seed that would move me to ditch public relations for the life of a full-time student. In particular, presentations by the Science Cheerleader (Darlene Cavalier), Annie Crawley and session comments from Carl Zimmer and Lyndell Bade  inspired me to head into the marine biology field.

Being in Australia once again while the 2013 conference proceeded, I was determined to watch at least a few sessions online and was lucky to spot a message from George Aranda announcing watch parties would be held at Deakin Burwood and Waurn Ponds campuses.

So I signed up and joined medical PhD student Vanessa at Waurn Ponds (and 4-5 at Burwood) for two days of highlight sessions. Needless to say, the videos were mainly inspiring, intriguing and motivational and the number of coffees drunk increased as the days went on.

The whole conversation has been recorded on this Storify page and also under the #scio13vic tag on Twitter.

Numerous attendees have written blogs on it including Scicurious, Princess Ojiaku and many others – most of them are listed on ScienceSeeker.

The storify by Scicurious above is a great way to follow the discussion on Blogging for the Long Haul – many of the ideas are relevant whether you are a blogger, science writer, student with an interest in communications or professor scared of putting your work out there for the general public.

While I’m not in a communications job any more (apart from freelance writing and of course, this here blog), the conference helped inspire me to push for more writing workshops to be conducted at my university – in an effort to improve the writing level of science undergrads in my course for starters.

I’ve lost count of the number of papers I looked at as a favour to classmates last year, only that find that – while their science knowledge might be above mine – the low quality of essay and academic paper writing were harming their final marks. Deakin is only one of several universities that needs to lift its game in teaching science students good science writing.

In a month, I’ll be back at uni for first semester and keen to put some of the learnings into practice!


About oceanicexplorer

Posted on February 11, 2013, in research, science, travel and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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