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

In the previous post, I reported on the feedback that we received for the first-ever online poster session that we organized, using Zoom and the breakout rooms as basis. This was in November 2020 (2020 November Networking – ALD at Aalto University).

Feedback from the November 2020 online poster session was encouraging: clearly the concept can be repeated, and also improved. Soon, (as an already-experienced person,) I was requested to organize another online poster session: in April 2021 for the Finnish Young Scientist Forum on Catalysis (FYSFC 2021). With help from my group, we tweaked the earlier instructions and organization a little. Main change was that we gave more time for the presentations: instead of starting a new presentation every 5 min like in the first event, we started with a new presentation every 10 min.

Again, we collected feedback of the online poster event; this feedback is shared below. I interpret that:

  • Zoom breakout rooms are a meaningful way to organize an online poster session
  • 10 min for poster presentation slot can be ok. The feeling was less hasty than from 5 min presentations, and this is also seen from the feedback (absence of complaints of too short slots — even a request to have still longer time reserved).

Would I be willing to organize a Zoom-breakout-room-based online poster session again in the future? Sure! Two rounds of practice has taught how to organize one (good pre-planning is a must!). Also, I have seen how this type of an online poster session can be a meaningful way network remotely, when we cannot meet in person. A further benefit is that as university teaching staff, we have this tool at hand, and we don’t need to spend time (or money) on learning new systems. We can use the tools we are used to — just in a bit a new way.

The poster session was really good

(Question: How well did we manage with Zoom?)

Everything was organised very well.
It was a very nice experience. Freedom to jump between rooms and interact with people works really well.
Smooth, just continue
very well
I think the use of Zoom was good overall
Very well
I did not notice any problems.
Technical arrangements were very successful
very good
Great job, no complains
Was simple and efficient.
… Poster session was well planned and conducted
poster session is great


(Question: What could be improved next time?)

It would be great if one could go through the online posters before “presentation”. Then it would be easier to follow and ask questions.
5 min puffer between online poster session

avoid directly following time slots in poster session

(Question: other feedback?)

all in all it was a well organized event. There didn’t occur technical problems like in other online events previously. The whole event had a comfortable duration.
Nicely prepared event

Posted by Riikka Puurunen

About Riikka Puurunen

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