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ASU Social Embeddedness Conference Ushers in More Attendees as an Online Event


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As ASU continues to monitor COVID-19, the university has transitioned from in-person teaching and learning to remote options. In this challenging time, however, the collective innovation of ASU faculty and staff has demonstrated remarkable adaptability. As a method of celebrating the good during uncertain developments, the University Technology Office is gathering success stories of “remote resilience” from the ASU community. The situation globally and across the country is changing daily, but we also plan to share these stories to keep pace.

Events at ASU have had to undergo significant changes in the midst of the university’s remote modality. The ASU Social Embeddedness Conference, which explores connections and methods to promote social embeddedness at the university and beyond, is no different. But the conference’s quick transition to an online event from a wholly in-person one did not inhibit conversations about that mission, and in fact opened them up.

Christina Ngo, University Innovation Fellow at the Office of Applied Innovation and event coordinator for the Social Embeddedness Conference, faced a big task in rethinking the conference with just eight days until it would be held. “[I tried] to design a positive and interactive experience for attendees, presenters and collaborators,” Ngo said. She added that it was her, and many’s, first virtual conference. Although initial registration and potential attendance was already high, the move of the conference to totally online brought 453 registrants, a 50 percent increase over last year’s in-person event.

Facilitators of working sessions employed Zoom to host breakout rooms, using the capabilities of the video conferencing tool to share screens and manage chat and communication in a non-traditional format. “I think it went as smoothly as it could have,” Ngo said, and the remote structure ended up being able to include even more voices and ideas. “[There’s] no way it would have been possible without a team of flexible and adaptable ASU colleagues willing to learn quickly and test, iterate and iterate again.”

For more information on the proceedings of the ASU Social Embeddedness Conference, read ASU Now’s report on the event.

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