The mini-tutorial experiment

I wasn't able to attend last year's LISA Conference, so when I started planning out my sessions for this year, I was surprised to see that the tutorials ended on Tuesday instead of going all week. That wasn't entirely true, though. The half- and full-day tutorials stop once the technical program starts, but the technical program is interspersed with mini-tutorials.

I was a little skeptical at first, but I found that the mini-tutorials addressed my two biggest issues from past years. Shorter sessions made it easier for me to schedule the sessions I really wanted to see. The shorter sessions also made it easier for my brain to absorb the material.

My habit is to do training sessions on topics I don't know anything about. A half-day session, which most are, is often too much information to absorb at once without being enough to make me an expert. The 90-minute tutorials provide enough context for me to see what's out there and see if I'm interested enough in the topic to pursue it further. It also seems like a useful way for first-time instructors to try out material and see what's worth developing into longer tutorials.

Every LISA is an experiment, and I consider the reconfigured tutorials to be a successful one.