There are many reasons that travel, particularly air travel, to conferences may be unwanted or impossible. Such reasons include, but are not limited to, physical disability, lack of financing, political restrictions, and concerns over climate change and ecological sustainability. Nonetheless, presenting at conferences is often key to academic and research networking, disseminating one's research or innovative practices, and career progression. Thus, there is a tension between the reasons one may have for not traveling and the perception of the need to present at conferences. The option of virtual presentations could dissolve, or at least ameliorate, this tension. This presentation analyzes the acceptance of virtual presentations at more than 200 conferences in the field of English Language Teaching and adjacent fields. The proportion of conferences that permit virtual conferences is reported, and for those conferences that do permit virtual presentations, it is reported whether the format is synchronous, asynchronous, or mixed. This analysis then informs a discussion about the ethics of travel for conferences, accessibility, sustainability, and the potential of virtual presentations for conferences that do not currently permit them.
Michael Brown, Kanda University of International Studies, Japan