The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a shift in the style of academic conferences from in-person to virtual. There have been reports about virtual academic conferences; however, the advantages and disadvantages are not readily apparent from the participants' perspective. This study evaluated a virtual academic conference compared with a conventional one from the viewpoint of participants based on the results of the 24th Japan Association of Medical Informatics Spring Symposium; that association held a virtual conference for the first time. The conference was conducted in three parallel virtual venues using Zoom® webinars. All the panelists and audience members participated from their own sites. The operating team acted as host control for the Zoom® webinar, master of ceremonies, and monitoring and responding to online comments. Questionnaires using the Google Form were sent by e-mail to all registrants after the conference. The number of registrants was about twice that in previous years: 2345 in 2020, 1189 in 2019, and 1007 in 2018. The response rate to the questionnaire was 68% (1591/2345). Most respondents said that the virtual conference was better than the conventional one in terms of image quality of presentation slides (75%), being able to concentrate on presentations (77%), session accessibility (59%), and feasibility of asking questions (53%). In contrast, most (63%) respondents stated that the inperson conference was better for communicating with other participants. Finally, 97% (1535/1591) of participants evaluated the virtual academic conference positively. The virtual conference was highly evaluated by participants because of its advantages compared with conventional ones. However, difficulties in human networking should be addressed in the future.
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Proceedings of APAMI|
|Publication status||Published - Nov 21 2020|