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AOM goes virtual: Annual meeting update

  • 1.  AOM goes virtual: Annual meeting update

    Posted 05-20-2020 08:47

    Dear Fellow ONErs,


    I hope this message finds you well, amidst the various stages of COVID-19 across the globe that are affecting all our lives. Here in Switzerland, we are gradually reducing the lockdown and I must admit that I'm thankful that primary schools are open again while at the same time worried that this will inevitably lead to a second wave of infections.


    I know that you have all been keen to learn what is going on with the AOM Annual Meeting this year. By now, you will have heard that the meeting is going virtual. But what does that mean for us?


    Yesterday, I joined a conference call of division and interest group (DIG) leaders in which AOM conveyed a basic outline of how things will go on. Many details are still being worked out, but I am sharing what I know and will continue to update you as things develop. In the meantime, some key information:


    • The full program will go ahead virtually. AOM is centrally coordinating an online event through a platform. However, each division has flexibility in how it implements the annual meeting experience.


    • At least 10% of sessions will be held live, including the Doctoral Consortium and Junior Faculty Consortium (headed by SIM this year). At ONE, we may hold more than 10% of PDWs, symposia, and paper sessions live since we are a smaller division. Ivan Montiel (Program Chair) and Sukhbir Sandhu (PDW Chair) will be leading this effort.


    • Many sessions will be "asynchronous". These will have pre-recorded elements. But they will be made available for online interaction, for example via some kind of online discussion forum, that will be available for a period of time (to be determined).


    • Yes, time zones are an issue. Sessions will be planned in different time slots to allow for all members to have some sessions in their normal daytime hours. For the rest of the sessions, you may want to prepare for an intense week of frenzied activity (just like a normal AOM annual meeting!). We can commiserate and bond over "virtual jetlag" when staying up to 3am in order to attend that session.


    • WE WILL NEED VOLUNTEERS to "chair" digital sessions, both live and asynchronous. These volunteers will be our ambassadors for this new format, and I hope that some of you will step up to bring enthusiasm and a can-do attitude to help guide and encourage people who may have concerns and worries about going digital.


    • We will need your creativity. Going online is different. By now, many of us have experimented with this our classes and probably in conferences like GRONEN. You can bring your learnings to the AOM meeting and think about how content will translate. And please, experiment! Let's have fun in doing things differently. And let us know what worked and didn't work.


    • There will be many networking opportunities. There will be "registry hubs" to meet people with similar interests, and "birds of a feather" spaces. Here too, we may need volunteers and cool ideas. Personally, I like the idea of "standing in a virtual Starbucks line" with my peers.


    • AOM is preparing a schedule of milestones – when we have more information, you will hear from us or the PDW and Program Chairs.


    • There will be a fee for attending the virtual conference (currently planned at USD200 for academic members and USD100 for students). This fee allows you to formally register and gain access to the entire conference, papers, presentations, sessions (live and asynchronous), social events and so on. Some people have pointed out this fee seems high. AOM is planning to communicate about the fee and where the money will go. Personally, I think it's a great opportunity for a more inclusive AOM experience – people who normally would not spend the thousands of dollars on flights and accommodation are able to get a fully digital experience this year.


    Most of all, given that the ONE division has been pushing AOM to do more virtually and reduce our carbon footprint, this year's conference provides a unique opportunity for ONErs to bring enthusiasm to the conference and show others how it can be done. Let's have some fun, and let's spread the word. And let's show AOM that virtual conferencing is possible and exciting.


    Finally, let me take this opportunity to thank all of the ONE teams and team members and organizers of the Doctoral Consortium. Each team has had its own challenges to adapt to the new situation and format. As a result, many team members have carried an extra load this year, well beyond what they anticipated when they volunteered for ONE. And there still remains a lot to do. In addition, kudos to René Bohnsack for volunteering to be on the AOM virtualization taskforce – this has given ONE visibility within AOM, something that we can carry forward in the next years. I want to thank all of you, from the bottom of my heart, for keeping us rolling and helping us to pull together. I truly appreciate it, and we could not do this without you!


    Stay strong, keep an eye on the target – we will get there. Let's remember to enjoy the journey. The most important thing is our community and the conference, even virtually, helps that community to connect and stay alive.


    I will be sorry not to see you all in person. But I am excited about popping into virtual sessions left, right, and center.


    Warm regards from a sunny Switzerland



    Judith Walls
    University of St. Gallen
    St. Gallen