Virtual Reality: Making the Most of Your Online ENDO 2022 Attendance

ENDO 2022 attendees will have the option to attend in person in Atlanta, Ga., or tune in online. To make your virtual attendance go as smoothly as possible, Endocrine News reached out to previous virtual attendees to get their tips on how to make the most of your online experience.

When ENDO 2022 gets under way from June 11 to 14, attendees will have the option to attend in person at the Georgia World Conference Center in Atlanta, Ga., or they can log on and attend online.

Due to the hybrid nature of this year’s event, the live program will have more than 100 sessions open to both in-person and online attendees, while more than 200 hours of those sessions will be recorded so that they can be seen later via on demand. Another 50 sessions will be offered in-person only.

After two years of pandemic protocol, you’re likely already used to going to meetings and other events online. While there will be the chance to run into friends, old and new, if you make the trip to Atlanta, you won’t miss out on the multi-faceted programming the Endocrine Society has created if you prefer to attend ENDO 2022 from the comforts of your home or office (or home office). To that end, we’ve decided to offer up some “best practices” on how you can make the most of your virtual experience.

Lauren Fishbein

“The flexibility of a virtual meeting is key for people to be able to structure their learning in their own time for what works for them.”

Lauren Fishbein, MD, PhD, MTR, associate professor of medicine, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, Colo.

“This flexibility of a virtual meeting is key for people to be able to structure their learning in their own time for what works for them,” says Lauren Fishbein, MD, PhD, MTR, the Clinical Science Chair of the Endocrine Society’s Annual Meeting Steering Committee for ENDO 2022 as well as an associate professor of medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, Colo.

For Jacob Less, BS, a quality improvement coordinator in the Endocrinology, Gerontology and Metabolism division at Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, Calif., last year’s all-virtual ENDO 2021 conference was his first professional conference. “As a lifelong learner, taking my time to learn about specific topics with pre-recorded sessions was a meaningful way to engage in topics I have developed passions for,” he says.

How to best experience the virtual aspects of ENDO 2022?

Tip 1: Block Out Time

Look at the conference lineup, identify which parts you want to attend, and clear your schedule so nothing will distract you. When she attended the all-virtual ENDO 2021, Fishbein blocked her calendar as she would for any in-person meeting. “I enjoyed having that dedicated time to focus on learning, while also wearing comfortable clothes and no dress shoes while sitting on the couch,” she says. Similarly, some events may happen in real time and some you may need to watch later on demand.

Tip 2: Explore the Platform

Learn how the conference software works and how you can use it to your advantage.

At ENDO 2021, with simultaneous sessions, “the virtual platform allowed me to watch one session live and the other recorded later on so that I didn’t miss anything,” Fishbein says.

The browser for that conference “looked like an expansive hall of a convention center,” Less says. “I was able to easily make my schedule, filter sessions by my time zone, and find the posters and abstracts from the topics in my similar field. I also liked how I could visit virtual booths, leave my card, and see the cards and information that other visitors left. The poster and abstract virtual platforms, where I got to track the metrics of visitors and see the comments they made, were inspirational to someone like me early in my career.” 

Tip 3: Interact with Others

Despite being virtual, it is still possible and encouraged to talk and network with others. When he registered for ENDO 2021, Less was worried that by attending a virtual conference, “I wouldn’t see any other members and it would be myself in front of a screen,” he says. “However, following the social media for the Endocrine Society, and attending the live sessions, I forgot I wasn’t in person at some times. Many attendees showed their conference setups, Tweeted session recaps and insights, and engaged in chat boxes during various talks.”

Another way to interact with others is to “set up virtual meetings with colleagues to discuss research collaborations or ask questions about clinical cases,” Fishbein says.

Tip 4: Use Social Media to Find Virtual Content

Following the #ENDO2022 hashtag on social media is another way to see conference happenings.

This is especially helpful to those attendees who are in different time zones from the conference location or who don’t have the luxury to block out their calendars in real time, Fishbein says.

“As a lifelong learner, taking my time to learn about specific topics with pre-recorded sessions was a meaningful way to engage in topics I have developed passions for.”

Jacob Less, BS, quality improvement coordinator, Endocrinology, Gerontology and Metabolism Division, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, Calif.

Following social media, along with using virtual meetings and leaving messages on virtual poster boards, all help connect people wherever they are. “When you can’t attend virtually in real time, some may still choose to block off times to focus on multiple recorded sessions in a row,” Fishbein says. “Others may choose to listen to one session at time even while exercising, taking a walk, or driving to work. The flexibility of a virtual meeting is key for people to be able to structure their learning in their own time for what works for them.”

All these things, she adds, will allow for attendees to feel immersed in the Endocrine Society community. And making the effort to get the most out of the virtual conference experience, says Less, “is worth it.”

Alkon is a Massachusetts-based freelance writer who is the author of the book, Balancing Pregnancy with Pre-Existing Diabetes: Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby. She wrote about getting a job in academia in the September 2021 issue.

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