The American Educational Research Association (AERA), the world’s largest educational research organization, recently adopted some ‘important changes’ to improve the quality of its annual conference. As AERA notes, the purpose of the changes are to ‘enhance the quality of the Annual Meeting as a forum for communication and dissemination of new knowledge.’
Take a look at the document. Notice anything missing? I do. It’s any recognition whatsoever that the vast majority of the presentations are horrendously painful, characterized by terrible PowerPoint, boring monotone delivery, inadequate pacing, and a lack of emphasis on the needs of attendees rather than presenters.
If AERA is going to focus on improving the quality of its attendees’ conference experiences, shouldn’t it at least pay some attention to the elephant in the room, which is most researchers’ poor presenting skills?