Researchers from around the world participated in the first NAI Workshop Without Walls in March 2010--with no travel required. The workshop, on "The Organic Continuum from the Interstellar Medium to the Early Solar System," was organized by George Cody and Doug Whittet, PIs of the NAI's Carnegie Institution of Washington and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute teams, respectively. Drawing registrants from 21 US States and 16 other countries, the workshop was a great success in terms of the scientific knowledge exchanged, and as an illustration of the maturity of the NAI's suite of collaborative tools.
We have the technology! - and now we're ready for the next round of topics and organizers. NAI Central will offer full support for the technical production of a workshop, so that organizers can focus on the scientific content. George and Doug have offered their support to future workshop organizers to pass on their advice and lessons learned.
There are some significant advantages to organizing a "virtual" workshop compared to a typical in-person workshop. The timeline for producing the first Workshop Without Walls was just six weeks, from the issuance of the call for abstracts to the workshop itself--and could be even shorter for future workshops if desired. A Workshop Without Walls could be organized very quickly around a breaking discovery, for example. Carbon footprint is low and the fact that the workshop is accessible from anywhere in the world via the internet encourages broad international participation. One hundred percent of participants replying to a survey after the first workshop said they would attend future workshops of this kind.
If you're interested in organizing a Workshop Without Walls, have new ideas about how to use the NAI collaborative tools to advance science, or would simply like to know more, please contact Wendy Dolci (Wendy.W.Dolci@nasa.gov).
For more information on the first Workshop Without Walls: http://tinyurl.com/2blm5s3
Source: NAI Newsletter