13 Days Off Campus at Ed Tech Events - You?

Questions about travel policies, finance and value.

April 30, 2013

In 2013 I'll spend 11 days off campus at ed tech related conferences and events. In 2012 that number was 15 days.  So my two-year average is 13 off-campus days.

What about you?

7 of my 11 travel days in 2013 involve giving talks or sitting on panels.  

The other 4 are for EDUCAUSE in October, and I'm not sure if my proposal has been accepted.

I'm particularly excited for The Teaching Professor Technology Conference in October, as this is an inaugural conference spin-off from the annual Teaching Professor Conference.  I'll be giving a presentation in the opening plenary session titled "The Teaching Professor in 2020: Shaping the Future in a Time of Rapid Change"

How many days can we afford to be away from campus? What would you say is the optimum number of professional travel days?

Does your school, department, or unit have policies about the number of acceptable or optimal days off campus for conferences, events, and professional development?

Does it matter if we are giving talks or sitting on panels?

Does it matter if our institutions pay or if our trips are funded for judging how many days to spend off-campus?

Where are the biggest direct and opportunity costs for off-campus work?

What is the cost of not engaging with our communities of practice at conferences, symposiums, and talks?

How do we balance the benefits to our careers and professional development with the costs of missing local work?

Does the fact that we can always be on e-mail, chat, and virtual meetings - and that we can connect using smart phones and tablets - reduce the costs of spending days off campus?

Has the proliferation of webinars and virtual conferences increased or decreased your conference and meeting time off-campus?

What types of meetings have the best ed tech ROI?  What event would you never miss?  What conference do you wish you could attend?

Do you have "frequent flyers" in your organization - people who always seem to be off giving a talk or attending a panel somewhere? Are you that person? How are these people viewed by their colleagues, bosses, and direct reports?

Each year I find that the number of conferences and events that I "should" be going to far exceeds what I think (and my boss thinks) makes sense to attend. There are a ton of ed tech conferences and events that I would greatly benefit to attend, but the costs of being away from campus more than 11 or 15 days a year seems too high.  

What are your thoughts about time, costs, and off-campus travel?


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