The Opencast Summit 2021 was the first International Opencast Summit that took place entirely online. This resulted in a huge increase in the number of participants. While previous summits were attended by about 80 participants (in person) the 2021 Summit was attended by 170 participants via web conferencing.
In order to better understand why so many participants attended the Summit and what could be improved for future meetings, a short survey was send to all Summit participants. This survey was filled out by 22 participants, 8 of these attended the Summit for the first time.
Overall the participants were satisfied with the Summit and were glad it took place at all. Accessing the talks via BigBlueButton and attending online seems to have worked well. New participants pointed out that they liked the variety and range of topics in the presentations. However, the “conference feeling” was missed by many. Being able to talk to people one on one during breaks was missed.
Of the 22 participants who filled out the survey, 14 would have been able to attend the Summit in person, if in person attendance had been possible. For 8 that would not have been the case. Of these 8, 4 attended the Summit for the first time. Some of the participants (7) furthermore stated that they would prefer to meet online for future Summits while 15 would like to meet in person if that’s possible.
For future Summits the Board thus has to consider that while many people in the community would like to attend a Summit in person, there is a considerable number of people who would like to or are only able to participant online. This poses a challenge for future Summits and raises the question of how future Summits should be organized. While this question has been not been answered, the Opencast Board is working on a concept for a way forward that addresses this challenge.