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Conference Feedback

Immediately after the conference, we received the following feedback from one of our Zoom presenters.

Hello, I wanted to share my feedback to the conference team from the perspective of a presenter.

• The conference book and website were really well organised.

• The presentation options were helpful

• Zoom works better for our particular needs.

• We’re happy with the turnout we got – some attendees were late which was fine as it was live so their particular questions could be answered individually.

• Overall, we’re really pleased on our end and want to thank KOTESOL for the planning, organisation, and time that the volunteers have put into the conference.

Joanne McCuaig
PhD. Candidate, University of Birmingham
English Language and Applied Linguistics
https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/joannemccuaig

Now that the conference period has concluded (May 3, 2020), I thought it would be useful to share some additional feedback from the Survey form we asked visitors to fill out. Stats and numbers are shared below as are certain selected responses that were “OKed” for sharing.

Numbers

Out of 42 responses:

  • Demographics:
    • 93% are teachers
    • 52% from universities
    • 36% at public schools (24% public elementary schools)
    • 45% have 10+ years of teaching experience
    • 86% with 3+ years of teaching experience
    • 52% are NOT KOTESOL members
    • 74% have a graduate degree or higher (43% in education)
    • 52% have a degree in education (including undergraduate)
  • Location:
    • 55% are based in Korea
    • 19% are based in the Philippines
    • Respondents also include Japan, Hong Kong, Ukraine, Malaysia, Texas, California, Saudi Arabia, Algeria
    • 38% heard about the conference from Facebook (24% from the KOTESOL.org website)
  • Reception:
    • Zoom sessions were the most popular conference offering at 45%
    • Overwhelmingly, people responded positively about learning “actionable skills” and a “positive impression of KOTESOL”
      • Actionable Skills: 88% Yes, 12% Maybe
      • Positive impression: 98% Yes, 2% Maybe

You may check the gallery below for more detailed graphs about the above statistics.

Ratings

Overall, the conference received very high positive reviews and comments with between 70-80% “5-star ratings” all around.

Slack chat, a new technology introduced for the sake of this conference, had slightly lower ratings, but that may have had to do with people not being familiar with the new technology or its purpose. But it still received 77% positive reviews (4-5 stars), with 59% “5-star ratings.”

Check out the following gallery for details:

Our highest ranked speakers (based on YouTube views and survey results) included the invited speakers and Zoom sessions:

PresenterYouTube ViewsSurvey Results
Opening Ceremony362
Plenary (Tomomi Kumai)25811
TNKR1623
SIGs135
Angie Lee52
Kevin Kester466
Blake Brunner46
Lisa Hunsberger (Zoom)7
Adrienne Seo (Zoom)4

Notably, Lisa Hunsberger had at least 60 attendees during her Zoom session, and was asked to also record her presentation for hosting on the KOTESOL YouTube channel later.

There was also lots of interest in Terri Beadle’s Zoom session, and she also agreed to record her presentation for the KOTESOL YouTube channel later.

Other Zoom presenters have also been asked to record their presentations for KOTESOL.

Feedback

The following comments were expressed by multiple survey respondents as well as through the Slack chat:

  • “It exceeded my expectations”
  • “It was great to interact with people in Korea from [insert global location here]”
  • “I was disappointed the Zoom sessions were not recorded”
  • “Zoom was difficult and didn’t work well for me”
  • “Slack / networking were difficult for me. I’ll be emailing the presenters separately”
  • “More diversity in presenters, please (women, internationals, academics, elementary teachers)”
  • “More technology-related presentations, please (distance learning, non-platform specific, online games)”

The following are a handful of selected comments and are posted below with permission (by answering “Yes” to Share your Responses on the Survey form – last question).

I always wanted to attend, but traveling from Ukraine is quite far. Having worked on many training courses in Korea (Daegu and Daejeon) helped me have some understanding of the educational context. I know that there are great ELT-ers in Korea, and wanted to ‘meet’ them virtually. Yes, expectations met!

Thank you for the opportunity to attend and meet your teachers and trainers. In the circumstances like now, the conference is a great example how the world can be more connected and collaborative. I wish more local chapters internationally could learn from you!

Respondent from Lviv, Ukraine

I wanted to see if you could pull it off ^^ But seriously, I wanted to see how it would work … Amazingly smooth!

Respondent from Kumamoto, Japan

I just happened to join — exceeded my expectations!

To be honest, I joined because I just happened to hear about it and it was free and I was home with time this weekend. (Being in the same time zone was convenient too.) I didn’t really think about professional development in Korea before, but the overall atmosphere was more relatable to my work in Japan than I thought. I would like to attend a future conference!

Respondent from Yamaguchi, Japan

You all are so amazing, this was pulled off very well.

Respondent from Busan, Korea

I was looking forward to seeing how the conference would run, being entirely online. It exceeded my expectations.

The conference committee, web admin, and everyone involved behind the scenes did an EXCELLENT job in bringing this all together, and making this happen online. I was thoroughly pleased and impressed. Everything ran so smoothly!

Respondent in Fukuoka, Japan

KOTESOL did an outstanding job, bringing educators not only from Korea, but from many other parts of the world and making it free for everyone. THANK YOU! It was an incredible experience!

Respondent from Rancho Cucamonga, California, USA

The space in an online environment needs to be super regimented and controlled and I think people were very respectful and took a lot of care in muting their mics but if there is another online conference it might do to have the mod say, if you would like to speak, do this. Or something similar. In one zoom chat there was some wasted time on how to begin speaking and I think basic rules for mods to implement at the beginning would be very helpful. 🙂

I really wanted to network, but it was difficult to do so. I will be emailing questions to a few of the presenters and hopefully get some answers.

Respondent from Ulsan, Korea

My first time to use the slack and attend the conference in online form Thank you for the opportunity.

Respondent from Batangas, Philippines

It was a good conference once I got the hang of how it was organized, but it was confusing to access in the beginning. I didn’t know if I was supposed to access the conference via Slack, Zoom or if it was going to be available on the website.

Instructions for how to attend would have been helpful. Sometimes we plan so thoroughly that we forget we haven’t shared that plan with others.

With the Zoom issues (copyright, YouTube etc…) it would have been nice to find individual rooms in Slack for each speaker/presentation other than the featured speakers or just the general chat. That way, attendees would have had the option for that slack chat to be open during the session and receive copies of various files (ppts + others) if the presenter was willing to make them available.

Zoom provides the recorded session’s video on a link that also could have been posted on the KOTESOL 2020 Conference page (perhaps an info section) to avoid problems with YouTube policies.

Many of the presentations seemed to be aimed at University or Adult levels, while I can adapt many of the methods, I’d have found it beneficial if there were options of some presenters with that younger demographic in mind. Especially as there is a definite attention span issue with children and teens that needs to be addressed in a classroom.

Perhaps for future purposes, dividing the presenters by level at each of the sessions, ie. YL, Uni, Adult (as Russell did in his session). That way attendees can choose either based on the level currently relevant to them, or interest.

Respondent from Gangneung, Korea

I prefer face-to-face conferences, although blended conferences could be appealing. Nevertheless, this was a well-organized event.

Good job to all the organizers!

Respondent from Korea

Yes, overall, but there was some contradictory/misleading information. Mainly, I thought (via the FAQ’s section) that the live Zoom sessions would also be recorded (so that those who missed out seeing the others while attending one could revisit them later).

It was a bit hard to initially find the Zoom links for the live sessions, so perhaps make it easier to find such links on the websites for any such future online conferences.

Respondent from Inje-gun, South Korea

It went above my expectations … It was a great conference that I was happy to still be able to participate in and experience. It has left me with a great feeling…. as always. Thanks everyone ^^

Respondent from Daegu, Korea

The technical chair and organising committee did a stellar job given the circumstances. Disappointed about the change of policy regarding recording Zoom sessions. If privacy was the concern, perhaps faces could be blurred in editing afterwards.

Respondent from Gangneung, South Korea

Thank you for pulling together an amazing conference under the constraints of the times! … [It] was much better than I expected.

Respondent from Midland, Texas, United States
Categories
News

Conference Stats & Reflection

The following stats were collected at the end of the conference day, April 25, 2020 at 11:00pm.

Registration

  • 462 registered users (479 form submissions)
    • 80 registered today
  • 233 login success today
    • 229 login failures (54.7% success rate)
    • But this doesn’t take into account the users who may have already been logged in previously and saved their login information (i.e. no need to login again that morning)
By Conference End
  • May 3, 2020:
    • 501 form submissions
    • 492 registered users

Notes:

Registration / Login is one of the most difficult things to “get right” but it’s also one of the most important.

Although I spent a few days working on the best way to get users registered and logged in with entirely FREE methods, I didn’t have a lot of time to test and double-check the registration / login flow for errors and bugs. Common issues / complaints included:

  1. No “activation email” sent / received
    • Some users had to check Spam messages
    • Some users appear to have never gotten a mail (problem with the outgoing mail perhaps?)
    • I personally helped 5-6 users login by giving them a new password when they were having trouble
  2. Facebook login was set to “Developer Mode” until the day of the conference, so visitors using that login method couldn’t login before that
    • Easy fix, I changed it to “Live Mode” that morning. Didn’t realize I needed to do that until someone brought it to my attention.
  3. After registration / login some users were not redirected well
    • Mostly fixed by redirecting all logins to the main conference schedule on this site – but that wasn’t implemented until the day before the event, so some people got lost when trying to login early.
  4. There was no clear message to users that they were logged in at all (no “Welcome back” message, no user icon in the corner, etc)
    • Given the time constraints, this couldn’t really be avoided. With a little more time, I would have liked to show logged in status in the top bar.
  5. There was confusion about WHICH website people were actually logged into. It wasn’t immediately obvious the differences between KOTESOL’s various websites:
    • https://kotesolconf.com = Promotional site, built very quickly, used only for promotional purposes. Impossible to login here, though its similarity with the Live site was great enough to make many people confuse the two.
    • https://live.kotesolconf.com = LIVE site, where all the “protected” content was stored. Users were required to register / login to THIS site to access conference content.
    • https://koreatesol.org = Main KOTESOL site. Some users thought that user logins were automatically linked between this site and the LIVE site, but that was not the case. Given more time, that would’ve been the ideal situation (single sign-on), but the main KOTESOL site may not yet be capable of this (using Drupal 7).
  6. The plugin I chose only allowed login with a username, not the registered email.
    1. Some people (and sometimes me) forgot their username, although they would easily remember their email. This (I believe) led to the higher level of failed login attempts. In the future, I should choose a different plugin, or modify the code to also accept user emails.

Website Usage

  • 444 unique site visitors (from different IP addresses)
  • 569 unique sessions (some IP addresses were the same, meaning the viewer left the site, then returned later)
  • 2,235 unique page views (different visitors visiting different pages – returning to the same page is not counted)
    • Meaning each visitor viewed between 4-5 pages each on average
    • Average session duration (total site viewing time): 4:03
By Conference End

Possibly due to timezone differences, we actually had MORE visitors the day AFTER the conference:

  • April 25:
    • 718 site visitors
    • 1,160 sessions
    • 5,077 page views (4-5 pages / user, 6:20 average duration)
  • Cumulative totals by May 3, 2020:
    • 1,234 site visitors
    • 2,146 sessions
    • 8,635 page views (4 pages / user, 5:00 average duration)

Notes:

I originally estimated between 200-300 online attendees. Last year, I believe the National Conference in Jeonju drew over 300 in-person attendees. But this being KOTESOL’s first ever online conference, I estimated that less than that number would attend:

  • Theoretically MORE than that number could attend (especially with it being FREE), however
  • I also guessed that fewer people would choose to join an online conference than an in-person conference, especially due to the limitations of the online format.
Limitations of the online format and how we overcame them:
  1. Presentations: how can we do “live” presentations, and include speaker / attendee interaction, like a Q&A after the event?
    • YouTube LIVE = can easily accommodate a large number of viewers at once (Zoom and other options are limited)
    • YouTube Premiere = similar to LIVE but allows for a pre-recorded video to be played LIVE
    • Zoom = limited in size with rooms up to 100, and rooms with 50 or more start getting quite crowded and more difficult to manage
    • YouTube Pre-recorded webinars = By setting the videos as “Unlisted”, only those with the link can find them – and we didn’t release the links until the day / hour of the conference
  2. Networking: how can we enable conference attendees to interact with one another, ask questions, socialize in an online format?
    • Zoom lunch table = Open up a Zoom chat room during the lunch hour
    • Slack “hallway” = Utilize Slack (see below) as a virtual “hallway” where people would be able to mingle and ask questions

Slack

(i.e. The virtual “Hallway” of the conference)
Graph from Google Analytics, but shows where the site’s visitors came from that day.
  • 186 participants in 16 time zones
    • Almost 100 new users that morning
    • This means almost half the website visitors also joined Slack
  • 335 Slack messages
By Conference End
  • May 3, 2020:
    • 190 members
    • 2,085 messages sent

Notes:

I’ve used Slack for a number of purposes in the past, and it’s a great technology with numerous advantages over similar chatting apps:

  1. Join link = people can opt-in to join, and there’s no need to invite them individually (although you can). i.e. you don’t have to already be “friends” with them to add them to a chat, they can add themselves
  2. Multiple channels = in a single Slack space, you can open multiple public channels (rooms) that people can opt-in to join, or private channels that can be reserved for specific groups of people (team members, presenters, etc)
  3. Privacy = there is no need to “friend” someone, have their contact info (email, SNS ID, etc), or even know them before communicating. Once in the Slack space, anyone can DM anyone else. So, in some ways it’s a little like Twitter – but a closed-off Twitter space where only certain people with the join link can interact with each other.

For the reasons listed above, I felt that Slack was the ideal solution to address the problem of quick and instant communication, conference-wide announcements, questions & answers, and personal interactions and networking.

However, Slack was a new technology to many of these users, and I don’t think many of them really grasped from the beginning how useful the tool would prove to be. The following were a few things I observed when trying to get Slack up and running:

  1. Pre-conference communication: I wanted to open Slack up early and use it immediately for instant, mass communication with the presenters. Few presenters joined early, and fewer still used it as a communication tool before the conference.
    • In fact, most presenters still channeled their questions through a third-party that they already had contact with (via email or Facebook) before they got to me. So, rather than being in quick communication with presenters, I found I was still relaying information through other people.
  2. During the Conference: Nearly half the people who joined Slack did so ON the day of the conference, and we had rolling registrations throughout the day. This means that many people entered the chat without much experience, and so I had multiple repeated questions throughout the day. Therefore, I found it important to:
    1. Create announcements with the @everyone flag in the #general channel
    2. Pin posts to the channel with the most useful / frequently asked questions (even though most users probably didn’t even notice the pinned posts, it allowed me to quickly access the same information over and over again)
    3. Create Posts in Slack with longer information (like ALL the Zoom sessions links and passwords) that could be easily shared with a link
  3. Post-conference: I was a little surprised that the end of the conference also brought almost the end of the Slack communication. After we sent the “Thank you” messages at 4:00pm, there was a brief suggestion for a virtual “After Party”, as well as the creation of a group to share Pre-recorded webinar links and feedback, but since then, not much additional communication has really occurred. I’ve gotten only 2 DMs.
    • Still, keeping the Slack chat open seems like a good idea for now in case there are still conversations going on behind the scenes (DMs between attendees). And it allows users to still have access to all the links, announcements, files, conference discussion, or whatever else was posted.

YouTube

(i.e. The presentation “Rooms” and “Live” aspect of the conference)
  • 1,129 YouTube views
    • From our 444 unique visitors that day, this equates to an average of 2.5 YouTube views from each visitor
  • 152.4 hours viewed
  • Individual videos:
    • Opening ceremony:
      • 70ish Live viewers
      • 308 by the end of the day
    • Plenary:
      • 110 or so Live viewers
      • 219 by the end of the day
    • Meet the SIGS:
      • 30-50 Live viewers
      • 95ish by the end of the day
    • Hwang (Legal):
      • 50ish Live viewers
      • 95ish by the end of the day
    • TNKR:
      • 35 or so Live viewers
      • 125 by the end of the day
    • Pre-recorded:
      • 30-40 views by the end of the day on average
  • Devices (also applicable to the main website):
    • 45% Computers
    • 55% Mobile devices
By Conference End

Notes:

First of all, it’s important to note that the number of mobile device users exceeded computer users.

This means that any future KOTESOL conference or even workshop that seeks to do something online like this needs to take into consideration the prevalence of mobile devices that will be joining in. Therefore, the website and all utilized technologies need to be either optimized for mobile screens, or allow for the downloading of mobile apps to access the content.

Another thing to note is that many people were LATE to view some part of the conference.

Even though we had scheduled times posted, and some of the videos included 2 minute countdowns, many people “arrived late.” In one instance, this is because the end of the Plenary session overlapped by about 1-2 minutes with the Meet the SIGs video Premiere.

Next time, rather than trying to schedule multiple videos to Premiere quickly in a row, it would be better to combine those videos into one, OR give more time between the videos – because people need to go and click on another link to get over to the next video.

Note about YouTube Premieres: When a user comes to a Premiere late, the screen seems to automatically load the current video location – i.e. mid-talk. Most users would probably not consider trying to restart the video from the beginning, but would just continue watching from that place in the video. They could later go back and re-watch the whole thing again, but most would not consider trying to click to the start of the video if it’s already mid-video in the Premiere.

All-in-all, it seems that the success of this conference comes down more on:

  • The presenters, and how well they can manage their own technology
  • The attendees, and how well they can access the links to each video / Zoom session

Therefore, it is really important to try to make it VERY CLEAR:

  1. Where to find the links,
  2. Where the links lead, and
  3. The times that each link will be active (perhaps we should delay everything additional 5 minutes in order to get more people time to get over there).

Zoom

(i.e. The speaker / attendee “Interactive” element of the conference)
  • 13:00 sessions: between 20-30 participants
  • 14:00 Lisa Hunsberger: 60+ participants
    • Note: Lisa (among others) has agreed to record her presentation to make it more widely available on YouTube

Notes:

  • Passwords: Setting a password on the sessions, though intended to increase security (i.e. prevent trolls), actually hindered some participants from entering the sessions on time or at all.
    • In the future, perhaps passwords don’t need to be assigned. The join link alone will be enough, especially when that is only available for a short time behind a login.
  • Access: People had the most trouble accessing the Zoom sessions. I received numerous (almost a dozen or more) questions in Slack about it. To the point that I collected ALL Zoom info into a single document to be shared on Slack for the conference.
  • Analytics: I wish there was a more effective way to collect some participant data (like Google Analytics) on the Zoom attendance other than just asking the moderators to take a head count.

On the bright side, I noticed a few really creative uses of Zoom in the conference apart from a “regular” Zoom meeting:

  1. Individual recording: Reece Randall had trouble booking a room at his university to record his video, but was able to record himself, alone in a Zoom meeting while doing a screen share.
  1. YouTube Live: Vanessa Virgiel was in charge of helping TNKR with their session, and was able to hook up OBS Studio to record a private Zoom session between herself and the TNKR presenters, including a screen share, and live Q&A time.

Conclusion

By the end of the day, we’d also received 25 responses to the Conference Feedback survey with 100% positive impressions of KOTESOL (the only unanimous answer).

All in all, the majority of attendees seemed to enjoy participating and left very positive feedback about how smoothly everything seemed to run.

Conference by the numbers:

  • 462 website registrations
    • 233 successful logins (on the day, not counting those who’d previously logged in)
  • 444 unique website visitors
    • 569 unique sessions (125 users returning in the same day)
    • 2,235 page views (4-5 pages per visitor @ 4:03 per visit)
    • 45% computer / 55% mobile devices
  • 186 Slack users in 16 timezones
    • 335 messages exchanged
  • 1,129 YouTube views
    • 152.4 hours watched
  • 20-30 attendees in most Zoom sessions
    • 60+ in at least one Zoom session

Thanks for reading!~

By Conference End
Lessons learned:
  1. Making the conference FREE and open to all registrants, as well as hosting all the presentations on YouTube allowed KOTESOL to gather a larger crowd than originally anticipated.
  2. By leaving the website completely open (including registration) for a week after the date of the actual event, the actual size of the attendee crowd was more than DOUBLED even only ONE DAY after the “live” presentations.
  3. Hosting the conference “live” in the Korea Standard Timezone (UTC +9) also likely affected the number of people who were able to view the videos at their “live” times.
  4. Day One and Day Two of the conference drew the most active participants and engagement. And although Slack was quite vibrant in the public channels on Day One with 335 messages, there was actually a lot going on behind the scenes with Direct Messages and in private channels by the end of the conference (2,085 total messages sent).
  5. Although we had nearly 500 registered users on this site, there were more than 1,200 site visitors and nearly 2,200 YouTube video views. We can assume this means two (or three) things:
    1. About 50% of the site visitors either did not register for the site, or were unsuccessful (i.e. many may have just stumbled upon the site through Google Search or a Facebook link out of curiosity and saw no need to register)
    2. Each of the nearly 500 registered users likely watched an average of 4-5 YouTube videos over the course of the week (about the same number of presentations they may have attended at an in-person event)
    3. It is also possible that as “Unlisted” videos, the YouTube links could have been shared separately outside this website’s login page (i.e. if someone registered for Slack and NOT this site, they would still have access to the videos, or if any attendees chose to share a particular video, they would just need to share the link. Once the videos became “Private” on May 3, 2020, accessing videos with a link was no longer possible – now, invitation only, until links are made “Unlisted” or “Public” again).
By the numbers:
StatDay One
(April 25)
Day Two
(April 26)
End
(May 3)
Registered462492
Slack186190
Slack msgs3352,085
YouTube views1,1292,191
YouTube hrs152.4258.6
Website visitors4447181,234
Sessions5691,1602,146
Page views2,2355,0778,635

Sample Feedback

From Joanne McCuaig at the University of Birmingham (Promotional session)

Hello, I wanted to share my feedback to the conference team from the perspective of a presenter.

• The conference book and website were really well organised.

• The presentation options were helpful

• Zoom works better for our particular needs.

• We’re happy with the turnout we got – some attendees were late which was fine as it was live so their particular questions could be answered individually.

• Overall, we’re really pleased on our end and want to thank KOTESOL for the planning, organisation, and time that the volunteers have put into the conference.

Joanne McCuaig
PhD. Candidate, University of Birmingham
English Language and Applied Linguistics
https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/joannemccuaig
Categories
News

Conference Notice

Due to the pandemic of the Novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Korea, the 2020 KOTESOL National Conference will not be held as a place-based meeting on April 25 at Kyungnam University in Masan. Instead, it will transition to an online conference with the goal of providing an authentic and meaningful experience for all participants. 

This is not a decision that has been made lightly. As an organization, KOTESOL values face-to-face events where members and other ELT professionals can come together to share in professional development, network, and celebrate the scholarship and accomplishments of our peers. Sadly, the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic means that, for the foreseeable future, it would be insupportable to convene any sort of in-person meeting. The health and well-being of all conference participants is our utmost concern, and we will not hold an event where that might be put in jeopardy. 

It is the conference committee’s aim that by going forward as an online-only event, we can maintain the value of a National Conference by continuing KOTESOL’s ethos of “teachers helping teachers” through the use of a digital platform. Even in the face of the current pandemic, the National Conference can continue to be a venue that supports the gathering of teachers from a diverse array of teaching contexts, geographic locations, and national backgrounds to share current ELT-related research and best practices. 

As we go forward in organizing this event, please know that we are still working out some of the logistics, and all pertinent developments will be updated on this site as they are confirmed. It is the conference committee’s aim to organize a successful event that serves the needs of our conference participants.

Thank you for your understanding, and if you have any questions or wish to leave feedback, please kindly contact the conference program chair at natconfprogram2020@gmail.com