Online Conferencing: Participant preferences for networking and collaboration


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Murphy, A. & Antonio, A. (2013). Online conferencing: participant preferences for networking and collaboration. In Open and Distance Learning Association of Australia Distance Education Summit (ODLAA 2013): Education Across Space and Time: Meeting the Diverse Needs of the Distance Learner, 4-6 Feb 2013, Sydney, Australia.

This poster presents the findings from a research study that was developed to evaluate the networking and collaboration trends amongst online conference participants particularly with regard to the use of conference provided social media sites in comparison to collaborative tools that form part of the conference software, such as integrated chat. The data was extracted from three sources, participation analytics collected using Blackboard analytics, content analysis of actual social media and collaborative discussions occurring during the conference and a summative online survey.

Poster presented at the Open and Distance Learning Association of Australia (ODLAA) Distance Education Summit, 2013.

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Online Conferencing: Participant preferences for networking and collaboration

  1. 1. Online Conferencing Participant preferences for networking and collaboration Angela Murphy, Australian Digital Futures Institute Amy Antonio, Australian Digital Futures Institute University of Southern Queensland ● Toowoomba ● Queensland ● Australia To develop effective methods to encourage communication and collaboration What is the primary reason why you were between online conference participants, a better understanding of preferences interested in attending the online conference? and attendance trends is required. Particular interest in learning 194 online conference registrants were surveyed to evaluate the networking technologies and collaboration trends amongst online conference participants. Findings General interest in the topics included participant perceptions towards online conference formats as well as presented preferences for networking and collaborating using social media. The content is directly related to my discipline The conference was delivered through the web conferencing system, Attending Relationship with one of the Blackboard Collaborate, and ran non-stop for 48 hours, with consecutive to learn participating host organization handovers between partners in Australia, the United Kingdom and Canada. Opportunity to network 44% notTo what extent do people attend network Use social Online conference participants areonline conferences to network and media to frequent users of social mediacollaborate? reach audiences 35 25 10 4 7 20 Three in ten people are multi-tasking 26 16 7 4 11 36 or dropping in and out during sessions 16 20 10 12 16 26 I was actively listening, asking 38% questions and/or communicating 21 14 5 4 12 43 I listened closely to the sessions 28% but did not ask questions Daily You only Once a week or more I listened occasionally while Once every two weeks 21% have Once a month working or multi-tasking fragmented I dropped in and out of sessions attention 6% The increasing use of social media platforms and the from the I tried to listen and multitask but audience availability of interactive spaces has increased opportunities 3% didnt manage it very well for dispersed participants to collaborate, share and network Communication and long after completion of the event. None of these 4% attention during conference sessions Twitter is considered by participants to be a social media tool for work and is therefore most appropriate for engaging conference attendees. 35% of participants are using social media or digital technologies during the Twitter Curating tool Blog Facebook conference to communicate or Disseminate new information or content directly related to 85% 65% 68% 36% connect with other delegates my career or work As a medium to deliver my own opinion on topics or 71% 22% 64% 45% Web conferencing software enables synchronous, events internet-based collaboration and communication. Marketing or promotion of my own research or work 56% 25% 52% 24% Consequently, they are ideally suited to enabling the Marketing or promotion of interaction between facilitators and participants valued in my university or organisation 45% 22% 40% 29% traditional face-to-face conferences. Sharing personal information 20% 14% 25% 89% with friends or family Combining pre-recordings with live questions is the For my own private use only 13% 48% 28% 20% ideal format for online conference participants Combine live Pre-recorded mini webinars accessible at any time 34% Full online conference over two or more days and pre- 20% Find that opportunities to network and establish Synchronous and asynchronous events recorded connections during online conferences are limited Mini webinars of one or two hours Shorter sessions, e g , 30 minutes sessions Full online conference over a day 17% 16% Half day mini webinars Other preferences 12% 7% 5% 6% 3% 45% Think that the online format makes it difficult to establish new contacts