Over 560 IT staff from U-M’s four campuses filled the Michigan League this past November to develop skills, form and strengthen working relationships, and showcase how their work contributes to moving U-M forward as part of the 2017 Michigan IT Symposium.
After the event, 216 attendees provided their feedback on what worked well and what they’d like to change for next year. Across all survey areas, overall satisfaction averaged 93%, with 96% of survey respondents indicating that they would recommend the event to a colleague in the future, 75% came away from the event with a new skill or idea they felt they could apply to their everyday work, and 50% created a new connection.
Praise for keynote speaker Professor Kim Cameron had the most positive feedback (18%), followed by praise for the quality and diversity of the 81 poster and breakout sessions (12%). As one respondent stated: “Topics of sessions are still very informative and attractive. It is great to know what other IT departments have been working on.”
Suggestions for improvements
- Posters: Respondents appreciated that the planning committee planned for more space for the posters this year over 2016 but many people commented that display space was still too crowded at the morning poster session. The 2018 planning committee will investigate the possibility of splitting attendees into an A/B breakout poster session, to give ample time to view and discuss posters with less congestion.
- Audio/visual issues: Survey responses pointed to the technology and equipment challenges we faced during the livestream of the opening remarks and keynote and in the breakout sessions. We will consider working with an outside resource to stream the opening remarks and keynote for the 2018 symposium, so Michigan IT AV volunteers can focus their attention on managing the technical needs of the breakout sessions.
- Separate hands-on training opportunities: The variety of topics for hands-on-training were popular but the schedule did not allow attendees enough time to cover the instruction and the lab. The 2018 planning committee will create separate opportunities for hands-on training—through the Michigan IT Academy or other events—to allow for more concentrated training for IT staff in the future. This will open up the event schedule to allow for a wider variety of breakout sessions to be offered.
- Better Birds of a Feather: Attendees noted that they liked the idea of the birds of a feather conversations, but holding them during lunch was confusing and not conducive for discussion. Plans are to to merge the Birds of a Feather sessions into the break-out sessions and allow presenters the flexibility of selecting from several presentation styles, such as lecture format, interactive presentation, or Birds of a Feather conversations.
- Alternate timing: Holding the symposium on Thanksgiving week makes it difficult for a portion of our community to participate, while others appreciate the event taking place on a traditionally “quiet” week. Based on the availability of suitable campus venues, we will hold the 2018 Michigan IT Symposium the week following Thanksgiving.
See more feedback and recommendations for next year in the 2017 Michigan IT Symposium final report. You can also view the complete photo gallery from the event. Thanks to all who made the fourth annual Michigan IT Symposium a success! What would you like to see in the 2018 Michigan IT Symposium? Leave your comments and suggestions below.