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Moving academic conferences online: understanding patterns of delegate engagement

Citation

Raby, Cassandra; Madden, Joah (2022), Moving academic conferences online: understanding patterns of delegate engagement, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.280gb5mp8

Abstract

Scientific conferences are a key component of academic communication and development. During the COVID-19 pandemic in-person conferences are rapidly moving online, yet these virtual events may not provide the same opportunities as in-person conferences. If virtual meetings are to continue to provide effective communication and networking between researchers and stakeholders, they must be adapted to increase delegate engagement and enthusiasm. Here we present a case study of a recent medium-sized online conference. We assessed the behaviour and engagement of delegates with different components of the meeting using data from website analytics and post-conference surveys. Behaviour was variable across the available events, with talks being particularly popular but engagement with social and networking opportunities was variable. Our conclusions have been summarised in six recommendations to support future online conference organisers in enhancing engagement with their events.

Methods

These datasets were collected after an online conference using two different methods: website analytics (from delegates that had accepted website cookies); twitter analytics; and a post-conference questionnaire. Analytic data were not processed in any way other than cleaning and formatting. Questionnaire data have the free text data removed in order to keep the data confidential.

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