Welcome to the ODTUG Kscope18 conference planning year!
As the conference chair for ODTUG Kscope18, I’d like to be the first to welcome you to the next iteration of the ODTUG Kscope conference! Every year is a fresh opportunity for new and exciting things and this year is no exception.
First things first. Please give a pat on the back to your amazing conference committee. You can find pictures and bios of each person on the official ODTUG Kscope18 website: http://kscope18.odtug.com/page/conference-committee. For those of you who may not be aware, the conference committee works tirelessly all year long to plan the week-long ODTUG Kscope conference. And we're volunteers, which means that we’re juggling our day jobs, families, other volunteer work, and personal time, at a minimum. The planning kicks off the week of the previous ODTUG Kscope conference and we work nights and weekends for the entire next year.
This year will be my fifth year on the conference committee and there are people with various levels of conference planning expertise joining in on this journey. As bringing up new leaders in the ODTUG organization is important, I'm proud to add Jorge Rimblas and Tiffany Briseno to the team. Please say hi to them the next time you see them!
OVERVIEW OF ODTUG KSCOPE18
In case you missed an announcement or two, here are the ODTUG Kscope18 facts that have been revealed to date (as of September 19, 2017):
Conference dates: June 10-14, 2018
Location: Orlando, FL (on-premises at Walt Disney World!)
Conference venue: Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort
Hotel: (same as conference venue: Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort)
Abstract status: Open
Abstract due date: Friday, January 5, 2018
Early Bird discount registration deadline: Thursday, March 29, 2018
YOU SPOKE; WE LISTENED
After listening to your feedback, we are rolling out the new ideas outlined below. A big thank you to the ODTUG Kscope community for sharing these ideas in the conference feedback surveys. Your comments have helped shape the future of the conference!
Idea #1: New Abstract Deadline
Instead of making conference abstracts due eight months in advance in mid-October, we have decided to push this out by a few months. Abstracts for ODTUG Kscope18 will be due after the American winter holiday season, Friday, January 5, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. PST. This has been a long time coming and we think it’s the right time to make this change. It’s ODTUG's first time in many years to finalize content selection so close to the conference event, so we will do our best to meet the newly impacted deadlines with minimal hiccups.
Idea #2: Expanding Opportunities for ODTUG Kscope Volunteers
ODTUG wouldn’t be where we are today without our awesome volunteers. Since the list of people wanting to volunteer with Kscope seems to grow every year, this year we will do our best to help meet demand by offering a couple of new opportunities. Stay tuned by watching this blog feed. Our first call for ODTUG Kscope volunteers should be announced in the next couple of months.
Idea #3: Publishing the ODTUG Kscope Session Evaluation Average
For those of you who were able to attend ODTUG Kscope17, you may have noticed some tweaks to the session evaluation form. We did this on purpose. Take a look below. Do you notice something new?
First, we streamlined the form. Second, in the past we did not have quantifiable statements on the "overall rating”, which used to be a simple scale of 1 to 5. Therefore, it was up to the session evaluator to determine what was meant by the numbers 1 (lowest rating) to 5 (highest rating). At ODTUG Kscope17 we attempted to quantify each rating number with both stars and text so that we could pave the way to publishing a conference session average rating.
Presenters have been asking for us to publish an average rating for years – they want to know how their session score compares overall to other presenters. Given that a good portion of our attendees are new every year, these small standardizations stand to have some impact. Benefits realized: publishing the conference session average rating helps presenters know generally where they rank and allows the ODTUG Kscope18 content selection team to have at least one definitive way to evaluate each return presenter when finalizing the abstract list for next year.
This year we’re going to keep things simple. Below, I'm going to publish the overall conference session average rating and see how that goes. For the mathematicians in the audience, this number is based on the mean, which is an average of all evaluation scores given for all ODTUG Kscope17 sessions Mon-Thurs, including regular sessions, hands-on labs, vendor sessions, and Thursday deep dive sessions.
Future ODTUG Kscope18 attendees – see the importance of filling out session evaluations? Every evaluation counts in this average!
So here we go.
Note: If you’d rather live in ignorant bliss, do not read any more (and avoid social media for a few days).
The overall conference session rating for ODTUG Kscope17 was...
Idea #4: New ODTUG Webcast Series
If you have an average session score above this number, then congratulations and we hope to see you submit again for ODTUG Kscope18. If you have a score lower than this, don’t despair. We do have it on our to do list to roll out a webcast series to help presenters. When someone who is passionate about sharing knowledge learns to be a better presenter, we all win. The mission of ODTUG Kscope is education. We want to educate better by helping you to educate better.
If you have interest in presenting in this webcast series, please reach out to Karin Gately: firstname.lastname@example.org.
UNTIL NEXT TIME
It’s going to be a great year! The passion, intelligence, and creativity of this year's conference team is super motivating. We can’t wait to share with all of you what we have planned. More details to come in future blog posts. Until then, we look forward to serving you and we hope to catch you at another user group event!
Opal Alapat, ODTUG Kscope18 Conference Chair