Zoom-breakout-room-based online poster session: how did the first trial go?

At 2020 November Networking – ALD at Aalto University (archival page here), Part 2: Local networking, we experimented with an on-line poster session carried out in individual Zoom breakout rooms (optional online poster template here, poster schedule and instructions here).

This event was first of its kind by the organizers, and we asked for feedback. Below you can find the feedback that we received related to the online poster session.

I read from this feedback that:

  • Overall, Zoom breakout rooms were a functional way to organize an online poster session. (From organizer point of view I do note that a testing session will be essential.)
  • Five minutes between poster presentation starts was too little. This gave a hasty experience to many.

Next time, longer presentation slots, thus.

And: next time came already! My Catalysis group was asked to organize (as we already have experience…) an online poster session for the Finnish Young Scientist Forum on Catalysis 2021, webpage: https://blogs.aalto.fi/catprofopen/fysfc2021/.  I will share the feedback that we received for that in the next post.

Riikka Puurunen, May 5, 2021

It went well.
Pretty good! If there are online posters again, perhaps 7-10 minutes per switch would work better. (Of course the session might then take longer, or you wouldn’t be able to attend as many posters.)
There was a issue during poster session. I was using Mac and could not see the breakout rooms then after half and hour I switched to phone where I saw the breakout rooms.
The breakout rooms felt a bit rushed also the constant changing was a bit annoying maybe changing this to a few “presentation rooms” that have parallel  presentations (which is what everybody did with their poster anyway as far as i could tell) similar to parallel sessions in conferences + a dozen extra breakout rooms for prolongued Q&A if necessary would be better? But I don’t really know it was my first “online conference”
I had serious technical challenges to install Zoom 5.3 or newer. That was needed for breakout rooms. Because of that I couldnt participate as much as I planned to.
It was nice to find out how well the poster session worked.

it was good to inform beforehand on the zoom-version needed.

Using the breakout rooms for this was a great idea! Overall this exceeded my expectations.
This went fine as well.
It was great
Poster session was a bit confusing at first, but once it get going it was fine. I think this is mostly because I or others are not familiar with this kind of remote networking and requires some practicing from each side. Maybe the talks/posters could have been even a little longer.
This is a good to give Aalto students and researchers possibility to present their research.
Really liked the poster concept!
All in all, the event was even better organized than many of the online conferences I have seen this far. I liked that everything was done live and not recorded in advance. I also felt like you had the possibility to actually network, something that I have been missing in most of the events organized online, and that communication was made possible through the whole event in both of the parts and especially in Part 2.
Poster session can be longer.
Prevent the poster session rush …
More time for posters and free discussion.
The poster session could have had a bit more time for questions. Most of the presentation I saw did not manage to give the full presentation during the five minutes and then everyone, including the poster presenter, wanted to rush to the next room. It also felt a bit hectic and it was sometimes hard to orientate to the presentation after the previous presentation.

Posted by Riikka Puurunen

About Riikka Puurunen

Associate professor, Catalysis Science and Technology, at Aalto since February 2017
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