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Message from GRONEN 2020.

  • 1.  Message from GRONEN 2020.

    Posted 07-17-2020 07:34
    Edited by Dante Ignacio Leyva-de La Hiz 07-17-2020 08:13
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    This was GRONEN2020!
    Sharing some learnings, reflections, and an outlook into the future


    Dear colleagues and friends,
    As many of you know, GRONEN embarked on a fully virtual pilot this year: 113 participants, 52 synchronous paper presentations, 58 hours live-stream, and 8 virtual bars and socials (including a remote sightseeing tour through Lisbon, a fireside talk in virtual reality and a pub quiz).
    As AOM2020 is getting closer, here we are with some feedback and learnings we can share with you regarding this experience – which has also been recently featured in nature.
    Participation. Preliminary results from the post-attendance survey suggests that 90% had never attended a virtual conference before but agreed that it was much better than expected! Interestingly, 75% of them attended 70% or more of the program, rather than just taking some little bits; and 80% of the participants are convinced that hybrid formats (i.e. virtual plus physical) are to be considered for the future. Some points that participants let us know surprised them about a virtual conference:
    • "How much I felt attached to the conference."
    • "The intensity of interactions, the possibility to socialize."
    • "The emotional appeal of „having seen the colleagues again" - this time, including their home offices."
    • "Feeling so close with the other attendees."

    The new venue:
    Socialization and engagement.  We had a short opening and closing each day and later on learnt that "these daily briefings by the organizers were super useful to create a sense of community." People also liked the several socialization options enabled by the iChair platform: there were options to chat and having a way to get in touch outside of sessions, e.g. in a chat roulette, or to organize 'social bars'.
    Savings and gains. A quick calculation shows that we were able to save about 65 t of CO2 (580 kg of CO2 x 113 participants), 678 hours of travel, and almost 130.000 € in resources by taking the conference online! A milestone for making academic conferences more climate friendly and accessible. Also, people appreciated the inclusiveness, the comfort, the ease of connection between young & experienced scholars.
     Of course, a sense of place and the possibility to gather with colleagues is priceless; and virtual conference organization is not flawless – quite some effort is needed. For us, that meant setting up a conference platform (and being ready to modify it to adapt to the emerging needs); having a team of technical chairs to support each session, reaching out to presenters prior to presentations and doing a test-run. But we experienced that virtual conferences are possible, being a different model of academic exchange, other than a replacements-by-necessity. Possibly the conference year 2020 will help to spur the transition to more virtual and environmental-friendly meetings in addition to physical ones, even beyond the coronavirus pandemic?

    Valentina de Marchi, René Bohnsack, Christina Bidmon


    This was GRONEN 2020.pdf   266 KB 1 version