ESPOS Survey 2018

by Tiago Pereira

Hosted by ESPOS on July 27, 2018

It is with great pleasure that we present the results of the first community survey for ESPOS, taken in the summer of 2018. This first survey is important to get feedback from the community and make adjustments so ESPOS better serves it.

Before diving into the results, let us characterise the seminars a little better. Including an initial pilot period, so far 24 ESPOS have been held. The number of institutes ‘attending’ each seminar varies, but is usually at least 10-15. The number of people watching the seminars was only counted in the first experiments, where it was about 100. We expect it to be around 100-200, depending on the seminar. The speakers were from 14 institutes in 7 different countries. The gender and career distributions of the speakers were as follows:

Survey results

A total of 64 anonymous answers were received. The distribution of responders by country of work was the following:

The questions and results were as follows:

We received the following suggestions for ESPOS topics:

  • More theoretical seminars
  • Continue talks by international visitors to widen the international scope
  • Keep a balance between observational and modelling talks
  • Balance different topics: corona, chromosphere, heliosphere, solar interior

For other suggestions regarding the format, we received:

  • An ESPOS-style conference day
  • Review lectures
  • More talks by students
  • A short session of community news before the seminar
  • Have a 20 minute talk and 10 minutes of questions

Next, there were several points that participants ranked how they’d make them less or more likely to attend ESPOS in the future:

From the above, it is clear that the points that would make people more likely to participate, are having more colleagues join, better and more accessible stream, and improved chairing.

Finally, we received lots of positive feedback. Here’s a summary of the several general suggestions given:

  • Allow individual access to the stream, or live stream the whole seminar (e.g. via YouTube).
  • Better audio quality (e.g. less echo and noise, in particular during the question time).
  • Make sure the speaker runs on time, and that the speaker has rehearsed the procedure and tested the audio earlier to avoid delays in the beginning.
  • Avoid running in consecutive weeks, so that it does not clash with local seminars or other events.
  • Recruit high-quality speakers, and ensure the presentations are more friendly to non-experts
  • Make speakers more aware of the differences between a normal seminar and a streamed seminar (e.g. speak slowly, don’t use laser pointers, keep an empty slide for the webcam)
  • Make better use of the chat feature to e.g. place questions or comments. This could lower the barrier to students asking questions. Another possibility is to have the local organiser engage in a more lively discussion during the talk, based on comments/questions from the chat.
  • Video download is very useful, in particular for students.
  • Rather than having community discussions, perhaps one-morning online “conferences” with several speakers on one topic? Like once in a trimester or so? And maybe even a dedicated solar physics journal in a similar way. Organised and maintained by the community without big-business interface/interference.