We take a deep breath and look back on a year which course no one could have imagined this way. What have we made of it? Which experiences have we made? How do we evaluate the #kickoff of the digital event series, how did we find our way in the new digital territory?
From April of this year, the hands suddenly pointed to digitisation. Events that for years had traditionally taken place on site at the DKFZ, the University Hospital or the NCT itself had to be converted to online formats at a rapid pace. Our interdisciplinary Wednesday training sessions were now held online, the Post-ASCO became a digital conference and even the well-known and popular NCT run changed its jersey for a hashtag.
We interviewed some of our colleagues who organised events and had to change things spontaneously this year. Here is a short interview with Petra Oberrauch, Monika Huber and Reinhard Liebers, organising team of the Cancer Core Europe (CCE) Summer School 2020.
What was the biggest challenge for you when converting to a virtual event?
A first challenge was to decide whether we could and would like to replace the "Summer School on Translational Cancer Research" with an online format. Then we looked for ways and platforms that would allow us to make the event as interactive as possible despite the virtual format.
What opportunities do online events offer?
Normally the 5-day Summer School takes place in Portugal with about 70 participants. Thanks to the online format, we were able to reach more than 400 people worldwide on the day of the event. The recorded lectures were also put online and therefore accessible for a longer period of time.
Your 3 tips to online organisers and participants?
- Research possible platforms at an early stage, exchange information with people who already have experience with the respective platforms and test the functionalities in detail in advance.
- Organising an online event means much more than just choosing the right platform. The various tasks, from developing the format and agenda, communicating with speakers and participants, promoting the event, cost planning to technical implementation should be planned as early as possible, just as for a physical event, and should be well distributed within the team. Having a plan B never hurts.
- Online events can actively promote interaction. As an organiser, find out about the various possibilities and decide what is suitable for your event. We would like to encourage participants to actively take advantage of these possibilities in order to get the most out of the event.