WJ Online Conference

What you told us about Technology Essentials 2010

By SharonS | March 1st, 2010 | 1 Comment

Thanks to everyone who attended our first-ever online conference last month, especially those attendees who took a few minutes to respond to our post-event survey. The main goal for this conference was to give a conference experience to those who would are not able to attend other conferences due to budget issues or other resource constraints. We also wanted to give members an opportunity to try out online learning, social tools, and to collaborate with colleagues from across the miles. Finally, we wanted to pilot the online conference format to evaluate its effectiveness and see if it is something that we could conceive of doing more frequently.

I think we can safely say that we met our goals across the board. Here’s what we learned:

Of the 1160 people who registered, most were from public libraries (47%) and academic libraries (29%), and more than half serve populations of fewer than 25,000 people. We also had students and unemployed professionals in attendance.

The top 5 states in terms of attendance were Indiana, Georgia, Illinois, California, and Minnesota. There were also 39 people from outside of the U.S. who registered.

Average attendance at each of the 10 sessions was 291 people. Some folks went to just a few sessions, while some attended every session. We also heard from libraries who set up a room for multiple staff to watch and listen.

The top responses to our survey question about what went well was that the in-session chat area was informative and engaging and that technical issues were fixed quickly. Also noted were that the presenters were knowledgable and prepared, that session timing was managed well, and that audience participation was excellent. Here’s the full list of top responses:

  • chat informative and engaging 45
  • technical issues fixed quickly 38
  • presenters knowledge/preparedness 31
  • time management of sessions 23
  • audience participation 9
  • management/moderation of conference 19
  • polls 14
  • online conference format in general 13
  • orientation to platform/tools 13
  • broad range of topics 13
  • archives – quick and convenient 10

The top suggestion for how to improve the experience was to improve the audio quality. Other suggestions were to decrease slide lag time, to show the presenters while they are speaking, and to help minimize chat distraction. Here’s the full list of top responses:

  • audio quality 27
  • slide advancement 23
  • chat distracting 13
  • ability to see presenter 11
  • fewer technical difficulties 9
  • session material in advance 8
  • reminders and login information 6
  • break time (shorter, longer) 5
  • better use of online format 4
  • presenter delivery – unengaging 4
  • longer sessions 3
  • more often 3
  • start earlier (ends too late) 3
  • add video 3

We also asked what topics you would like to see covered in future conferences. The top 10 topics suggested were:

1. customer service
2. social networking
3. grants and grant writing
4. cataloging
5. CMS options
6. patron training
7. reader’s advisory
8. copyright issues
9. library management
10. marketing

With this valuable feedback, we plan to offer another, even better conference in the future on one or more of the topics you suggested. Stay in touch with Crossroads to learn about this and other events at WebJunction.

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