After the pandemic-caused postponement and one year of waiting the conference on the Future of Online Discussions (FoOD) was held on 04th and 5th March 2021. The conference was jointly organized by the DIID and the Graduate School Online Participation.
The key goal of the conference was to bring together researchers and practitioners in order to exchange ideas on how future online discussions should look like and by what means they should be supported. The conference aimed to provide a platform where scientists and practitioners are committed to cooperate in order to promote change.
The great interest in this topic was mirrored by the more than 100 registered participants. An average of 60 participants listened to the 13 talks by 16 speakers from four different nations (Program). Every talk was followed by a fruitful and excited discussion.
Over all, the biggest effort as well as the challenge for the organization of this conference was to transmit the socially interactive character of such an event to an online environment. To that end, there were short ‘breakout sessions’ after each talk. In randomly assigned groups participants could continue and intensify their personal discussions and lay the groundwork for potential further collaborations beyond this conference.
Another well-received networking possibility was the virtual poster session on the second conference day during which the participants could log in freely into the respective online rooms of the poster presenters and get inspiration as well as more information on the five posters’ individual topics.
All in all, the FoOD 2021 conference was very successful and filled with lots of stimulating conversations, fruitful exchange and inspiring content, all of which sparked new creativity for solving challenges within the realm of online discussions.