2013 Forum Evaluation

The 2013 Forum survey was administered to all conference participants; sponsors were excluded unless they also held AIR membership. Survey recipients were randomly assigned to four groups; each group received different versions of the Forum survey. The first five questions were the same for each survey and were the same as the first five questions for the 2012 Forum survey; the remaining questions addressed different Forum-related topics.  

A total of 1,640 people received the survey via links via email invitation after SurveyMonkey opt-outs were accommodated. The survey was disseminated on May 28, non-responders received one email reminder, and the survey closed on June 7. The overall response rate was 56.2% (921 of 1,640). (Of note: the 2012 response rate was 54%—947 of 1,752). Survey data are shared in the aggregate.  

Q1. Overall, how satisfied were you with the 2013 AIR Forum (Long Beach)? (915 respondents) 

The 909 respondents who expressed opinions in response to this question reflected high levels of satisfaction:

Q2. What one change would have improved your Forum experience? (633 respondents) 

Of the 633 participants who offered comments in response to this question, many shared more than one idea or suggestion. The comments were grouped into categories. The most common categories are listed here.

Concurrent Sessions 

Approximately 27% of the comments offered in response to Question 2 related to concurrent sessions—scheduling (9%), logistics (7%), quality (7%), and the accuracy of abstracts (4%).  

The most common schedule-related request was for popular sessions to be repeated during the conference. Other suggestions reflected a wide range of preferences, such as accepting fewer proposals to decrease the number of sessions per time block or extending the conference by a half or full day. 

In terms of logistics, the most common requests were to ensure that session rooms are not overcrowded and for popular discussion groups to be assigned private or semi-private meeting rooms.  

Most comments about quality centered on participants’ presentation skills. Survey respondents offered a wide range of suggestions for presenters to help ensure that sessions are engaging and relevant. The most common suggestion by far was that presenters upload their presentations and papers to MyForum before the conference starts, and many respondents suggested that it be a requirement. 

Finally, respondents expressed frustration about the discrepancy between some session abstracts and the content actually presented at Forum, and offered numerous suggestions to help ensure clarity in the future. 

Food and Beverage

Approximately 17% of the comments offered in response to Question 2 were preferences about food and beverages at Forum. The most common requests were for improved logistics (i.e., shorter lines, reliable access to water and coffee), better quality food, healthier options, and lower costs. 

Hotels and Venue 

Approximately 8% of the comments offered in response to Question 2 related the conference site, including hotels and venue. The most common request was for conference hotel headquarters in which all or most participants stay. Other common requests included minimal walk/transport times, lower cost hotel options, and complimentary hotel wifi. 

MyForum 

Approximately 5% of the comments offered in response to Question 2 reflected preferences for future generations of MyForum, such as the ability to synch across devices and the availability of an Android app. 

Networking 

Approximately 5% of the comments offered in response to Question 2 were requests for more structured networking events during the day and in the evening. 

Q3. Please respond to the following statements. (917 respondents) 

Overall, respondents’ noted that they had very positive Forum experiences. Of the respondents who expressed opinions in response to this question, more than 90% strongly agreed or agreed with four of the six indicators. Only slightly less were establishing one or more new people connections, which resonated with 78% of respondents, and the Exhibit Hall as a place of interest, which resonated with 80% of respondents. 

Q4. The value of 2013 Forum registration fee ($325). (902 respondents)

Q5. Do you plan to attend the 2014 Forum (Orlando)? (918 respondents)

Q6. To what degree did the following events contribute to your professional knowledge/skills? (230 respondents) 

Of the eight Forum features listed, Pre-Forum Workshops/Masters Seminars and Concurrent Sessions were valued the most by respondents who expressed opinions. Of note: This question was not posed of 2012 Forum participants. However, when asked about satisfaction with the keynote speakers and topics, 94% of 2012 respondents who expressed opinions were satisfied with the Monday Breakfast Keynote (Jane Wellman) and 92% were satisfied with the Wednesday Brunch Keynote (Pat Terenzini). 

Q7. How does the scholarly paper icon affect your interest in attending a session? (229 respondents)

204 respondents expressed opinions about the scholarly paper icon and its effect on their interest: 59% said it had no effect, 37% reported it increases interest, and 4% said it decreases interest. Of note: Due to the inclusion of a dedicated lunch break in the conference schedule and limitations in the number of meeting rooms available, the 2013 Forum hosted 29% fewer concurrent sessions than the 2012 Forum. However, scholarly paper sessions represented 24% of all concurrent sessions in 2012 and 2013. (Concurrent sessions counts do not include discussion sessions.) 

Q8. Please describe other types of learning opportunities that would be desirable at Forum. (86 respondents) 

86 respondents offered comments about learning opportunities. 13% of the comments supported the inclusion of debates at Forum. 12% of the comments described preferences for more hand-on and technical concurrent sessions (not sponsored by vendors). 8% of the comments supported the inclusion of Town Hall meetings. 3% of the comments expressed desire for future documentary features with follow-up Q&A sessions, like First Generation in Long Beach. Additional comments reflected a wide range of preferences, such as book club-type discussions, webinars, and online streaming for AIR members unable to attend Forum. 

Q9. Please rate the number of sessions available in each block of time. (231 respondents)

231 respondents expressed opinions about the number of sessions available per time block: 63% expressed it was just right, 32% said there were too many per block, and 4% thought there were too few per block. 

Q10. How did you participate in the Exhibit Hall? (229 respondents) 

The most common activities in the Exhibit Hall were viewing the poster gallery, talking with exhibitors, and attending events. Of note: 67% of the 229 respondents noted that they viewed the poster gallery, whereas 26% noted that they interacted with poster presenters. The respondents who indicated “other” shared specific, individual interactions in the Exhibit Hall. 

Q11. Of the statements below, indicate which you would recommend for future Forums. (233 respondents) 

Most respondents (80%) recommended the continuation of 45-minute concurrent sessions. Little support was offered for preferential acceptance for different types of sessions or presenters.  

Q12. How did you use the printed Program Book? (231 respondents) 

Of the respondents who described their use of the printed Program Book, 54% reported that they carried it to sessions and used it as their main guide during the Forum, 26% did not use it, and 19% read it for planning purposes, but did not carry it to sessions. Also, 27% of respondents used the printed Program Book more than the electronic schedule (MyForum website and app), and 58% took it to their homes or offices after the conference. 

Q13 and Q18. Have an idea for a future Forum? Describe it here. (150 comments) 

Of the 150 participants who offered comments in response to this question, many shared more than one idea or preference. The comments were grouped into categories. The most common categories are listed here. 

MyForum 

Approximately 11% of the comments offered in response to this question reflected preferences for future generations of MyForum, such as the provision of session IDs in all views and in the evaluations. 

Concurrent Sessions 

Approximately 10% of the comments offered in response to this question related to concurrent sessions—quality (5%) and type (5%).  

Most comments about quality centered on participants’ presentation skills and included requests that presenters upload their presentations and papers to MyForum before the conference starts.

In terms of session type, common requests were that discussion groups and informal roundtables be continued and that more hands-on sessions be offered. 

Networking 

Approximately 8% of the comments offered in response to this question were requests for more structured networking events during the day and in the evening. 

Program Book 

Approximately 8% of the comments offered in response to this question were preferences for the program book, including suggestions to shorten it, to discontinue it, and to provide participants with a choice about whether or not they want it.  

Nametags 

Approximately 8% of the comments offered in response to this question expressed support for the new nametags with stickers.

Hotels and Venue 

Approximately 5% of the comments offered in response to this question related the conference site, including hotels and venue. Requests included preferences for less expensive hotels, free wifi at the hotels, and a hotel conference venue and/or connected hotels. 

Evaluations 

Approximately 5% of the comments offered in response to this question addressed session evaluations. Suggestions included requests that the survey include questions that are not “bi-polar”, accommodate general comments, and provide professional development-type feedback. In addition, requests were made for the decreased use of paper and increased use of the web or app-based evaluation. 

Schedule 

Approximately 5% of the comments offered in response to this question reflected preferences for the overall conference schedule. Respondents’ preferences ran the gamut from desires for a longer conference and a shorter conference, and for longer sessions and shorter sessions. 

AIRBucks 

Approximately 4% of the comments offered in response to this question reflected appreciation for AIRBucks and requests that they be offered at future Forums. 

Should the following programming/features be retained for future Forums? (Q14-Q17) 

Q14. Dedicated lunch break with no scheduled concurrent sessions. (222 respondents) 

Of the 206 respondents who expressed opinions, most (83%) support the idea of maintaining a dedicated lunch break at the Forum during which no concurrent sessions are scheduled. Few people (4%) suggested that the dedicated lunch break is not needed. In addition, 13% offered comments. Suggestions included more convenient food options in terms of access (shorter lines) and quality and a truly dedicated lunch during which all meetings and events are suspended, including vendor meetings and poster sessions. 

Q15. Name badges with stickers to identify interests. (223 respondents) 

176 respondents expressed opinions about the name badges with stickers: 63% suggested that they be kept as-is, 22% prefer they be discontinued, and 16% think they should be kept with improvements. Respondents commented on the badge size and the font sizes on the badge and stickers. Sticker theme and design suggestions were offered for the future. Of note: The AIR Executive Office was dissatisfied with the vendor’s change to the font size used for the names printed on the badges, which was different than what was ordered. 

Q16. Dinner Groups with sign-up on MyForum web and mobile apps. (222 respondents) 

113 respondents (51%) shared their opinions about the Dinner Groups and MyForum sign-ups: 74% suggested they be kept as-is, 19% think that they should be kept with improvements, and 6% prefer that they be discontinued. The most common suggestions for improvement were that more Dinner Groups are needed to encompass more variety (e.g., restaurant type vs. topic vs. general gatherings) and that better communication is needed about relevant logistics. 

Q17. All-day coffee/refreshment stations with cash/credit and AIRBucks options. (222 respondents) 

205 respondents expressed opinions about the refreshment stations with payment options: 65% suggested that they be kept as-is, 34% think they should be kept with improvements, and 1% prefer that they be discontinued. The most common suggestions included requests for less expensive options, shorter lines, better access to drinking water, and easier use of AIRBucks. 

Q19. What percent of concurrent session presenters were very well-prepared for their presentations? (227 respondents) 

227 respondents rated presenters in terms of how many were well-prepared: 45% indicated most (75-89%), 41% indicated all or nearly all (90% or more), 10% indicated many (50-74%), 3% indicated some (25-49%), and 1% indicated that few presenters (less than 25%) were very well-prepared 

Q20. What percent of concurrent session presenters reserved at least 10 minutes for questions and answers? (225 respondents) 

225 respondents shared presenters’ treatment of Q&A: 35% reported most (75-89%), 27% reported all or nearly all (90% or more), 22% reported many presenters (50-74%), 10% reported some (25-49%), and 7% reported that few presenters (less than 25%) offered Q&A. 

Q21 and Q22. Features of the best presentations and suggestions for improvement. 

Survey respondents were asked to comment on what the best presenters did to make their sessions successful and to offer recommendations for how presenters can improve their sessions at future Forums. Many respondents shared more than one idea or suggestion, and their recommendations are consistent with comments offered in response to other survey questions. The comments can be grouped into the same five categories, as described in the chart below.