What are Virtual and Hybrid Conferences?
While restrictions might be easing in some states or countries, the impact of COVID-19 on our personal and professional lives is far from over. In terms of OTA’s events, not only will conference venues be operating at a lower capacity due to social distancing measures, many attendees may be unwilling or unable to attend events in person.
The Events and CPD team at OTA will continue to deliver national events and the CPD program with safety and quality our top two priorities. To do this we will be moving forward with both virtual and hybrid options.
We have all had to re-educate and adapt to the “new normal” over the last few months. For the Events and CPD team that has meant researching the best online platforms to deliver professional events to the high standards expected by our members. Here’s the current outlook for the events and CPD calendar:
- For CPD, online learning will continue for the remainder of 2020 with webinars and workshops, and the return of face to face meetings will be carefully considered for 2021
- For our inaugural 2020 Virtual OT Exchange, the dates were moved to September and adapted to a fully virtual conference, all being delivered online on 14-15 September 2020
- For our 2020 OT Mental Health Forum, a combination of face to face and online will see the event become hybrid for the first time
- Our 2021 National Conference and Exhibition will also be delivered online and in person in Cairns next June as a hybrid conference
What is a hybrid event?
A hybrid is a combination of two or more distinct elements, and in the event industry this means delivering both online and in-person streams of the same event. For attendees, this means you will have the flexibility and choice of either watching the program sessions from the comfort of your own home or office, or traveling to the event location and attending in person.
What is a virtual event?
A virtual event takes place fully online. There is no face to face or in-person component. All presentations, networking activities, exhibitors and sponsors, workshops, and discussions take place online. To attend all you need is your laptop or desktop computer connected to the internet via a specific link or website.
What does a virtual event mean for me?
- As a delegate, you will register to attend the event and then be given specific instructions on how to log in and access the presentations online. The online link may ask for a password or your email address to gain access. Here you will be able to view the presentations, connect with speakers and delegates via networking tools such as direct messaging and exploring the virtual exhibition hall
- As a presenter, you will be asked to either present live or send in a pre-recorded presentation including your slides/video with the audio recording
- As an exhibitor, it will allow you to connect with attendees from your office or home. You may have the opportunity to include a video, information on your products and services and setup profile information for your team and organisation. Exhibiting organisations will also have the opportunity to lead capture and have 1:1 discussion with delegates
Participating in a hybrid event gives you the flexibility to attend/present/exhibit/sponsor online as mentioned above, or in-person to watch presentations live, present to a live audience and experience networking activities face to face.
What are the benefits of a virtual conference?
Attending a virtual event allows you to connect and share information across the globe. There are no restrictions in participation such as travel, time or budget constraints.
You have access to all the program sessions, not just the room you choose to be in on the day. You can take regular breaks, so you are not bound by the timings of the conference schedule as you are free to pick and choose when to network with exhibitors, view ePosters, and listen to presentations.Having on-demand access to the presentations also allows you to come back to any sessions of interest in your own time after the conference.
Will attending online streams still count towards my CPD hours?
Absolutely. Any online learning can attribute to your continuing professional development hours. For the full definition of what CPD is and general FAQs specific to occupational therapists, visit the Occupational Therapy Board of Australia (OTBA) website for more information.
What technology do I need?
A laptop, tablet or desktop computer with an internet connection is all you need to attend a virtual or online hybrid event. It helps to have a comfortable workspace with access to water and healthy snacks to keep you sustained. Don’t forget to take regular breaks, stretch and grab yourself a cuppa before returning to the next session.
I’m not very tech savvy, will I be able to work it out?
Yes, it is very easy to connect with a link and/or password to access the online sessions. Plus, all online and hybrid events with OTA are produced by technology partners with a support hotline to call if you get stuck.
Keep well and take care,
OTA’s Conference Events & CPD Team