6.1A How NOAA Jump-Started the 2017 Satellite Conference to Engage the Audience

Wednesday, 10 January 2018: 8:30 AM
Ballroom C (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
Jordan J. Gerth, CIMSS, Madison, WI; and M. S. Paese and M. J. Browne
Manuscript (85.0 kB)

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Satellite Conference is the biennial gathering of weather satellite users to learn about the status of NOAA’s space-based assets, plans for future satellites, changes to the delivery mechanisms between the satellites and users, and advances in applications of the remotely sensed data. The conference is a four-day event with activities that focus primarily on the users. There are typically several hundred attendees, with participation from a diverse audience that includes U.S. federal government employees, academia, industry, and international government partners. In 2017, the conference was held at a NOAA cooperative institute to encourage students in the field to participate, as well. An important component of the meeting is receiving feedback from the primary user groups outside of the government.

Central to the premise of this users’ conference is the feedback from the users and addressing their questions and concerns. In 2017, NOAA sought a greater level of engagement with their user attendees throughout the meeting, beyond surveys completed at the end with issues that could not be addressed until well after the conference ended. To achieve that goal, NOAA implemented a commercially-available, off-the-shelf online interactive polling and questioning platform for the meeting and transitioned to an open agenda format. The purpose of the open agenda format was to decrease the amount of lecture-format presentations and to increase panel discussions and town hall meetings, which encouraged questions and comments from the audience. Combined with an online platform to allow participants to ask their questions without speaking to the entire audience, the result was a much more honest and open dialogue.

This presentation will highlight the implementation of this technology and feedback that resulted during the 2017 NOAA Satellite Conference and the generally positive results of those changes. Unanticipated consequences of the changes as well as attendee feedback on the approach will be shared in hopes that other professional gatherings may employ similar capabilities. The interactive polling and questioning platform used will be demonstrated if the logistics allow for it.

Supplementary URL: http://www.satelliteconferences.noaa.gov/

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