Author Topic: 2013 Conference Report  (Read 2170 times)


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2013 Conference Report
« on: November 19, 2013, 03:38:37 PM »
From Mark McBride:


My apologies for getting report to you so late. Overall the conference feedback was good, although not everyone was thrilled with their experience. And SUNYLA made some serious dough.

(report below and attached, pdf of eval responses attached)
SUNYLA 2013 Annual Conference Wrap Up
October 30th, 2013
submitted by Mark McBride, 2013 Conference Chair

It was a pleasure serving as conference chair for SUNYLA 2013. I was deeply impressed by the willingness all our members showed in making this a great conference. It was also a good year to have conversations around open education, open access, open textbook and the overall concept of what open means. As usual, we saw some great session featuring innovative services and collaboration. Below are general recommendations moving forward on how to improve the conference experience.

Sessions Scheduling
The scheduling of sessions was probably one of the easier pieces at SUNYLA 2013. It was great having the team at Geneseo take this bull by the horns again. My recommendation to continue with the great work started by Bonnie and Tracy at Geneseo is to ask them to act as contacts for the folks doing the conference at SUNY Albany. Overall I believe whoever volunteers to take a major role like this for the annual conference (session evaluations, poster sessions, housing, catering, vendors) that they make themselves available for consultation for the following year. All that information is available out there, but if the people from the previous years planning committee could make themselves available for the first meeting of the following year’s committee it would help with a smooth transition.

Vendor Solicitations
Carol Anne did another fabulous job of soliciting money from the vendors, but it would have made it much easier if a shared spreadsheet was exchanged by the host campus and the Vendor Chair so that everyone was aware of how much money was coming  in. Carol Anne brought in so much money that it became hard plan for events, because the planning committee never knew how much money they had to work with. It isn’t a bad problem to have, but we could have had a much better conference experience for people if the crew at Buffalo State were able to plan on how much money was coming in. We ended up getting so much in free merchandise that we didn’t use any money for giveaways. Also, Chartwells did not charge us the proper amount, nor prepare the appropriate foods not prepare the proper amount of food for lunches and breakfasts. Make sure that group preparing the food for the conference reviews the menus the week of the conference. There was too much confusion between the conference chair and Chartwells.

Signage and Scheduling
No matter how well prepared you think you are you are not prepared enough. We walked the campus three times to ensure we had proper signage, but it was still a major complaint from participants. The construction did not help, nor the rain, but still signage should have been doubled. Also, on Wednesday night during the social, make sure you have the right people scheduled to escort people to housing. There was confusion while events were running about where people are supposed to go. Communicate clearly to people arriving on campus and to the people volunteering to act as guides around campus.

Try Not To Overlap With Another Conference
This caused confusion between participants at both events. Groups were removing signs unaware that the signs were for a conference happening at the same time. If you are going to have conferences conflicting with another group try very, very hard to schedule a meeting between both organizations. We only tried very hard. I should have been more forceful with attempting to schedule that.

Session Evaluations
This year session evaluations were not administered very well. Session evaluations were suppose to be embedded right inside Lanyard schedule but they were not. Make some responsible strictly for making sure session evaluations are created, distributed and the data shared with SUNYLA. 

Conference Evaluations
Overall conference evaluations were good, although the evaluations should have been present on the webpage through out. I recommend strongly using Lanyard again we received very good feedback.