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Attending the Online Winter Conference 2020…by The ALT Team

The ALT Staff Team have been working hard during the last few months to bring you the Online Winter Conference 2020. In this blog post, some staff members are sharing their hints and tips for attending a virtual conference!

“This will be my second Online Winter Conference with ALT, having joined the team in 2019. Just as with a face to face event, I think it’s really important to look after your wellbeing during an online event. To this end, I make sure I am prepared beforehand with plenty of drinks and extra snacks, and fluffy warm Christmas socks! I also make sure my busy schedule has some regular breaks in it to get at least some time away from the screen, again as you would at an in person conference. We have a great level of communication going on amongst the team right through the conference, which is really helpful to keep each other motivated and encouraging each other with positive stories throughout the day. I am really looking forward to being part of #teamALT for the 2020 Winter Conference!”

Fiona Jones, Administration Officer

“I’ve been going to the online ALT Winter Conference as a participant for quite a few years now and this will be the second one I have helped to organise as a fully fledged member of the ALT Staff Team. I still can’t quite believe I have been in post for over a year already and we are in December mind you! I love the ALT Winter Conference, yes it is busy and there is a lot going on, but it’s such a warm and friendly atmosphere. I always like to wear something festive and my Christmas tree is up already in my home office (and yes it does have a lot of Pink festive stuff going on! ) I’m looking forward to the line up of really great sessions that we have on the programme and I’m super excited that we have such great representation from our Member and Special Interest Groups this year. We have special meet up sessions during lunch time both days so do come along and say hello and see what excellent work they have been getting up to all year.  I will be buzzing around the conference venue and sprinkling some Pink Sparkly Christmas Pixie Dust everywhere ! Look forward to seeing you there.”

Deb Baff, Membership and Professional Development Manager

“My first online conference I helped to organize was back in 2007 and whilst the technology has got a lot better I still see the main challenge as being how do you make an online conference experience work? One of the challenges with designing an online experience is every time is different. You can have exactly the same technology and format, but our presenters and audience make each event unique. My top tips so that you can help make the ALT Online Winter Conference uniquely great are: make a commitment; be prepared and be realistic with your time. It’s impossible to attend all sessions and your day might be broken up with other meetings, but where you can dedicate some time and space to fully participate. This might include contributing questions or thoughts during sessions, but also helping share or amplify useful points or resources before and after the event. Most importantly given the year we’ve all had, try and have a little fun.”

Martin Hawskey, Chief Innovation, Community and Technology Officer   

“The first time we had a winter conference, it took place face to face in Edinburgh, on a snowy and bitterly cold day, and my mum had helped prepare small gifts of sweets and festive cards for every attendee. The event was great, and for me the little festive touch made it special and more fun for everyone. Ever since our winter conference moved online, I focus on small things to contribute fun and festive touches to the atmosphere. From fairy lights around my desk and wearing a festive jumper to chatting about the holidays with participants on Twitter and sharing many, many virtual cups of coffee, tea and hot chocolate… and campfire moments where some years, we roast actual marshmallows. The Winter Conference has always been first and foremost a celebration in my mind, and this year it feels even more important to keep that in mind 🙂 ”

Maren Deepwell, CEO


Registration for the conference is still open, and you can register here. Visit our conference website to see the full programme line up, view our speaker profiles, get help attending the conference, and viewing our social programme.