Follow-up on Food for Thought at R.I.T.

June 18, 2008 at 9:20 am

Jon Jiras was kind enough to send along the following information to post here at LG as a follow-up to the earlier Food for Thought interview. Congratulations to Jon and the entire Food for Thought team on a successful event and for providing a model for others to follow. The comments from participants definitely show the value of a campus library providing such a day — plus the fact that Jon says “steal this idea” with no attribution needed really rocks. I can hardly wait to see what 2009 bring for the FFT Team at R.I.T.!

Post-event update:

2008 Numbers:

Total number of session registrations: 578
Total number of people who registered online: 212
Total number of people who registered in person: 11

Total number of registrants: 223
Staff: 186 ; Faculty: 19 ; Students: 3 ; Other: 4 Unknown: 11

If you count every seat in every session (of our original room assignments) we were over 73% filled and seven of our sessions filled to at or near room capacity.

Three sessions (Create Your Own Website, Optimizing Outlook, and Facebook and RIT) each had over 50 registrants.

An analysis of first names, indicates that 80% of registrants are female.

Extra Helpings Area:
We took a 36″ x 28″ whiteboard on an easel and had one of our artistic staff members use dry erasable markers to mimic a deli menu with “specials of the day” complete with branding by the co-sponsors Online Learning and Information Technology Services. This area saw only limited use. Eighteen one-on-one appointments were made. The questions ranged from setting up access to the campus wide staff portals, resetting passwords, and how to accomplish specific tasks in MS PowerPoint, MS Word, and MS Outlook. rewarding for both the staff who manned the area and the individuals who came to it with questions. Next year, I think we will move this area to the first floor near the entrance and registration desk where it will get more visibility and we can talk it up during the registration process.


Lightning Talks:
We had five more requests to present a lightning talk than spots available, so we had to turn down some requests. We secured the use of a 30 inch Chinese gong to indicate when the 5 minutes were up. We set up a laptop with a countdown timer set to 5 minutes that someone in the front row displayed to the presenters. The talks included staff from the following departments across campus: Center for Professional Development, RIT Ombudsperson, RIT Public Safety, Online Learning, Academic Intervention and Mentoring Program, Institute Advising Office, Barnes and Noble @ RIT, Wellness Center, Office of the Registrar, and the Library. We will definitely be offering this again next year.

Since the original blog post there have been some questions asked in the comments and through other channels.

1) Is this available to “steal” with credit?

Sure, that’s why I have provided so much information about the planning and marketing. Help yourselves, no attribution necessary.

2) What were the session titles in 2007?

Social Networking with Second Life, MySpace, and Facebook
Planning and Marketing RIT Events
To Bid or Not To Bid: Auction Tips Online and Offline, or, Why Pay Retail?
New Features of Microsoft Office 2007
New Features of Microsoft Windows Vista (offered twice)
Advanced iPod
Introduction to RSS and Blogging
Introduction to Web 2.0
Origami for the Office
Image Resources to Jazz Up Presentations
Sharing Videos and Pictures on the Web
Organizing with MS Outlook: Calendaring, Contacts, Notes, and Tasks
Self-Publishing with Lulu.com
TechnoStress Relief 101
Art on Campus Walking Tour (offered twice)
Create Your Own Web Site
Optimizing Your Digital Photographs
Wildflowers and Weeds of Western New York
Become a Published Author with InDesign and Photoshop
Easy Creation of Online Tutorials with Adobe Captivate

3.) What was your budget for 2008?

The budget this year was still under $1,000. Several folks have suggested we apply for a grant from the Office of the President, or Staff Council, or some other campus entity to pay for boxed lunches. Which is probably something we will consider.

Here are some results of the 2008 post-event electronic survey:

90 of the 212 registered users filled out the survey.

82% said the Food For Thought website was very good or excellent.

96% said the registration process was very good or excellent.

92% said the variety of sessions offered was very good or excellent

94% either agreed or strongly agreed that the event timing (2nd week of summer quarter) was appropriate

97% said they are likely or very likely to attend again next year.

And here are some of the comments:

The hardest thing about attending Food for Thought was trying to decide what topics to select for the day. There was so much to choose from, great conference.

Excellent program as always. Food For Thought is simply wonderful.

Very successful, love the content, love the idea.

Thanks for another excellent Food for Thought program. It was very well organized and informative.

All the workshops I’ve attended – this year’s as well as last year’s, have been most worthwhile for me.

I know how difficult it is to pull together a day such as this and offer my congratulations for an extremely worthwhile event!!!! Great job.

I truly enjoyed the session on “Understanding RIT’s Students”. This is something that every person on this campus should be required to attend!

It’s a great day and I hope you continue offering it in years to come.

I learned SO much and I’ve used stuff I learned in several sessions already today (and it was only 3 hours ago that I finished the sessions). But it was SO much information in one shot!

Love it. Keep it going!

I am very impressed with all the library’s staff. Good job.

The 1 hour sessions were a bit short. The Lightning Sessions rocked.

More Lightning Talks!

It was very informative, I enjoyed the sessions and learned a lot.

More craft sessions.

Lightning sessions were a nice touch. Do this again.

More sessions offering RIT-specific information – there were several this year, as compared to last year. I think they are very useful.

I would like to see a continuation of topics on how RIT is embracing online communities and usage among our students. RIT & Facebook was an excellent session, I very much enjoyed attending. In general the variation of topics was great.

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Firefox 3.0 Is Here (almost) Michael Stephens Interview with John Blyberg


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