UK Web Focus

Innovation and best practices for the Web

Providing an Amplified Event Service

Posted by Brian Kelly on 22 August 2011

Greening Events II

For several year’s we have explored ways in which a range of technologies can be used to enhance discussions at an event and maximise the impact of events by providing what has become known as amplified or hybrid events. Back in 2005 we made use of an IRC channel to enhance discussions at the IWMW 2005 event (which was notable for alerting the small numbers of people who brought along a laptop to news of the London bombings).  Over the years we have explored use of wiki technologies and social networking services. However as the technologies mature and we have an opportunity to reflect on our experiences and the feedback we have received we are now better positioned to provide advice on best practices for providing an amplified event as a service, as opposed to an experiment.

Our interest in providing such advice is based on our involvement with the JISC-funded Greening Events II project. This project is led by ILRT, University of Bristol who host the Greening Events II blog. Our involvement in this work is to develop:

An Events Planning Toolkit to help event organisers think through what type of event they need to hold (physical, virtual or hybrid) and then to provide assistance in the form of guidelines and technology tools with each stage in the process to enable them to reduce the negative sustainability impacts of their event.

Our experiences in running a wide range of amplified events over the years will inform our development of the toolkit.  Some initial thoughts, based on our recent provision of the amplification of the IWMW 2011 event and summarised in the posts on the Evaluation of UKOLN’s IWMW 2011 Event and Reflections on Technologies Used at IWMW 2011, is given below.

Amplified Event Planning

As part of the planning processes for an amplified event we suggest use of the following template.

Purpose(s): Document the intended purpose(s) of the event amplification. This should also include a summary of the main beneficiaries (which could be the local audience, remote participants, speakers, etc.).

Technologies Used: Describe the technologies which will be used to support the purposes described above

Resources: Describe the additional resources which will be needed to provide the event amplification.

Risk assessment: Provide a risk assessment associated with the provision of the event amplification service.

Evaluation: Describe how you will evaluate the effectiveness of the event amplification.

Metrics: Describe the metrics you intent to collect in order to provide quantitative evidence of use of (and possibly value of) the event amplification.

Example of Use of this Template

An example of use of the template is provided in the documentation of the event amplification for the IWMW 2011 event.  A summary is given below.

Purpose of the Event Amplification at IWMW 2011:

Enhancing discussions at event
Based on event amplification at previous IWMW events we are aware that participants make use of an online back-channel to discuss the contents of the sessions as well as communicate with other participants and the event organisers.
Engaging with remote participants
Based on event amplification at previous IWMW events we are aware that there are people with an interest in the topics being discussed at the event who will be willing to view the talks remotely and discuss the issues raised.
Maximise the impact of the ideas and resources
We wish to ensure that the ideas and experiences shared by the speakers and workshop participants are made available as widely as possible.
Enabling resources to be accessed after event
Based on an analysis of usage of slides used at previous events after the event is over we are aware that there is a demand to access speakers’ slides after the event is over.
Support community-building
Based on experiences at previous events we are aware that participants value the opportunities for participants to expand their community of practice.

Technologies Used

Twitter
A Twitter event hashtag was used to support an event back-channel. In addition a Twapper Keeper archive of the tweets was used to provide an archive of the tweets so that we could analyse the content to help identify the strengths and weaknesses of the event as well provide evidence of the usage of Twitter through use of the related Summarizr service.
Adobe Connect
The Adobe Connect service was used to provide a live video stream of the plenary talks.
Vimeo
The Vimeo service was used to host videos of the plenary talks and interviews.
Slideshare
The Slideshare service was used to provide access to slides from the plenary talks and workshop sessions after the event was over.

Resources

Event Amplifier
A dedicated event amplifier had responsibility for providing a Twitter summary of the plenary talks, publishing summaries of the plenary talks and carrying out and publishing interviews on the event blog.
Event Video Streamer
A dedicated video streamer had responsibility for providing the live video stream of the plenary talks and publishing the videos of the talks and the video interviews.
Event Organisers
The event organisers had responsibilities for monitoring the Twitter and video-streaming channels and responding to comments and queries.
Sponsorship
The licensed Adobe Connect service was sponsored by Collaborate.

Evaluation

Monitoring of Twitter, Shhmooze and video streaming systems
Monitoring of the various online channels enabled the event organisers to respond to any concerns which were raised. In addition an archive of the channels will enable the content to be analysed.
Evaluation form
An online evaluation form provided feedback on the event and of the provision of the event amplification.

Metrics

Twitter statistics
Usage of the Twitter event hashtag was provided by the Summarizr service and has been summarized in a post on Reflections on Technologies Used at IWMW 2011.
Video-streaming statistics
A record of use of the Adobe Connect video streaming was kept and is available on the IWMW 2011 Web site.

Conclusions

The feedback we have received from remote participants at a variety of UKOLN’s amplified events has demonstrated the level of interest in participation in events remotely.  We hope that the guidance which we will be developing will be beneficial to both those involved in organising events and those who are looking to participate in events remotely.  We welcome feedback on the initial set of advice provided in this blog post.

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4 Responses to “Providing an Amplified Event Service”

  1. While I didn’t get the time to do it in the end, providing linked data for an event has a useful secondary value, in that it defines a unique ID (URI) for each session which makes it easier for people to link to explicitly, with media, reviews etc.

    Admittedly Lanyrd do this to some degree, but their API is a tad shonky.

    Joind.in have expressed (to me, at OGG Camp) interest in publishing some RDF if it’s not too hard…

  2. I agree. I feel that ever thing of importance for an event Web site should have a unique(ish) identifier so it can be referred to. This might be a URI but could also include a Twitter hashtag (which one can’t guarantee to be unique). I think this should include:

    • Individual talks and sessions: e.g. “here is the opening plenary talks
    • Groups of related sessions: e.g. “here are details of the workshop sessions
    • Times: e.g. “here are the parallel sessions which start at 2pm.
    • Locations e.g.”here are the talks which take place in the main lecture theatre
  3. […] UKSG conference was an excellent example of an amplified event, with the following opportunities to follow and contribute during the conference, as well remaining […]

  4. […] past few weeks we have been bouncing around a few ideas how to take the remote participation (or amplification as Brian Kelly calls it)  of FOTE13 one step further. I wanted to share some of the ideas we […]

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