So, the word is out in The Times of London that Arizona State University (ASU) is planning a massive, free virtual conference on July 13th and 14th to help faculty everywhere prepare for fall term under COVID. Speaking as a volunteer working on this effort, I can tell you with confidence that this event is going to be historic. There will be a large number of high-quality talks. The conference committee has—wisely—mostly eschewed the Big Think talks from Big Thinker speakers in favor of on-the-ground topics that will be immediately useful to faculty, delivered by people who have the hands-on experience. Faculty and other educators can dip in, find talks that speak to their aspirations or pain points, and dip out. The talks will be available afterward for people who can't attend synchronously. I don't think anybody can really predict what attendance will be like—ASU has wisely been setting modest expectations—but the venue has capacity for 100,000 attendees. I am asking you all to help fill this event to capacity.
While the conference is not officially branded as a #resiliencenetwork event, it is very much in the spirit. The conference organizers are gathering up some of the best information and useful presentations from people who are responding to the crisis on the ground right now. Rather than linking out to a thousand sites on a web page, they are coordinating the production and distribution of the content so that it can reach the most faculty possible at the time when they are preparing to deal with the next wave. Notably, the conference is branded as "REMOTE: the connected faculty summit hosted by ASU." Somebody at the university made the decision to downplay their brand in favor of highlighting the purpose of the event and the common cause across the sector.
This is our first example of what a proportionate response could look like.
Details on the web site are currently scant and there's not a lot I can share yet because, frankly, the plane is being built while in flight. Speakers are still being confirmed. Connections with partner organizations are still being ironed out. Staff and volunteers are working frantically to stay on top of the work even as this the scale of the project has mushroomed. ASU will undoubtedly be releasing more details as they get finalized. I will keep you posted. For now, I'm telling you as somebody who has had the privilege of working with the folks who are making this happen: This is going to be a big, big deal.
You can register here.