One of the purposes of conferences, I think, is to facilitate serendipity. Like when a not-very-enlightening presentations leads, almost despite itself, to a very enlightening Q-and-A. Or when two very different takes on the same concept help you nail down what makes you uneasy about both. After an earnest but not terribly helpful discussion of one college's attempt to move to the "Learning College" model - again, an entire session based on one college - a surprisingly lively discussion ensued in which I saw that the critical mind is not dead.
Al Ain, United Arab Emirates
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