The Radiation Oncology Education Collaborative Study Group 2020 Spring Symposium: Is Virtual the New Reality?

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Purpose: Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Radiation Oncology Education Collaborative Study Group (ROECSG) hosted its annual international symposium using a virtual format in May 2020. This report details the experience of hosting a virtual meeting and presents attendee feedback on the platform. Methods and Materials: The ROECSG symposium was hosted virtually on May 15, 2020. A postsymposium survey was distributed electronically to assess attendee demographics, participation, and experience. Attendee preference and experience were queried using 3-point and 5-point Likert-type scales, respectively. Symplur LLC was used to generate analytics for the conference hashtag (#ROECSG). Results: The survey was distributed to all 286 registrants, with a response rate of 67% (191 responses). Seventeen nonattendee responses were omitted from this analysis, for a total of 174 included respondents. Eighty-two attendees (47%) were present for the entire symposium. A preference for a virtual symposium was expressed by 78 respondents (45%), whereas 44 (25%) had no preference and 52 (30%) preferred an in-person meeting. A total of 150 respondents (86%) rated the symposium as “extremely” well organized. Respondents who had not attended a prior in-person ROECSG symposium were more likely to prefer the virtual format (P = .03). Seventy-eight respondents (45%) reported a preference for the virtual platform for reviewing scholarly work, and 103 (59%) reported a preference for an in-person platform for networking. On the day of the symposium, #ROECSG had 408 tweets and 432,504 impressions. Conclusions: The 2020 ROECSG symposium was well received and can serve as a framework for future virtual meetings. Although the virtual setting may facilitate sharing research, networking aspects are more limited. Effort is needed to develop hybrid virtual and in-person meetings that meet the needs of participants in both settings. Social media is a significant avenue for dissemination and discussion of information and may be valuable in the virtual setting.




Nelson, B. A., Lapen, K., Schultz, O., Nangachiveettil, J., Braunstein, S. E., Fernandez, C., … Golden, D. W. (2021). The Radiation Oncology Education Collaborative Study Group 2020 Spring Symposium: Is Virtual the New Reality? In International Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics (Vol. 110, pp. 315–321). Elsevier Inc.

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