The conversation about digital events is making a U-turn, we report in the September issue of Convene.
Instead of fearing that digital extensions will take attendees away from face-to-face events, meeting organizers are beginning to appreciate the ways in which they can bring more awareness -- and ultimately more attendees -- to meetings.
There's a similar shift toward hybrid in higher education, where educators have long debated the effectiveness of online classes vs. traditional classes. A recent study by the Community College Research Center at Columbia University shows that students complete online-only classes as a lower rate than students enrolled in traditional classes.
However, the same study reports that students enrolled in hybrid classes, which mix online and classroom instruction, complete classes at nearly the same levels as students in traditional classes.
The study focused on community college instruction, but elite universities also are experimenting with hybrid models. This fall, students enrolled in an introductory sociology class at New York University will watch lectures online and then use classtime for discussion, the Village Voice reports. (Convene columnist Jeffrey Cufaude wrote about a similar model last December.)
Lesson learned: As part of an overall strategy, digital content is a tool, not a threat. Instead of online vs. face- to-face, the new question is, "How do we leverage the strengths of each?"