Ghulam Murtaza1, Emma Curtis-Bramwell2
1Intersect Autralia Ltd., Sydney, Australia, Ghulam.email@example.com
2La Trobe University, Bundoora, Australia, E.Curtis-Bramwell@latrobe.edu.au
Intersect Australia is a not-for-profit, member based organisation with 12 university members. It has a very strong focus on delivering training to researchers as part of its eResearch services. Since inception in 2008, Intersect Australia has delivered over 700 training courses to more than 7,000 researchers and graduate students. Our training is very highly rated, with 96% of attendees willing to recommend our courses.
Given that this service is funded through university membership, training does not cost anything to researchers directly. Even though the feedback suggests that researchers highly appreciate these training opportunities, no-cost also introduces the challenge that it sits low in the priority list of activities. As a result, La Trobe University (LTU) were seeing a large number of “No-Shows” in these training courses i.e., individuals who register for a course but do not attend or cancel their registration. The proportion of no-shows was around around 20% when training first commenced in at LTU in 2016, however by the end of 2016, this had increased to around 45% no-shows. This introduces huge logistical challenges around offering training in a sustainable manner.
After some investigation, it turned out that other training courses offered through the library and the Graduate Research School were also experiencing similar problems. The following three techniques were explored over the last 18 months, in partnership with the Graduate Research School’s Research Education and Development team, to find a solution.
- Calendar Invites; Entering the training sessions directly into the researcher’s calendar.
- Confirmation of Attendance Process; Asking researchers to confirm their attendance prior to the training.
- Expression of Interest; Asking researchers to apply for the training and make a case for themselves as to why they should be awarded a place in a particular training session
The Expression of Interest (EoI) based course offering was selected as the preferred approach at the start of 2018. The rationale behind this process is to ask researchers a couple of open-ended questions to make their case for a place in the training course. This results in an investment of time in order to secure a place. The results to date have been positive, with the percentage of no-shows reduced to around 12.4% for the 9 courses delivered at the time of writing in 2018.
In this presentation, we will go through the process of moving from an EventBrite system to an Expression of Interest system. We will discuss the stages undertaken and the impact of each of these stages. We will also go through the automations that have been performed to reduce the workload introduced by an EoI-based process. Finally, we will discuss the results and how this can be replicated by others.
Ghulam Murtaza is Digital Research Analyst with Intersect for La Trobe University (VIC). He has completed his PhD from University of New South Wales. He brings 10+ years of research and IT experience to Intersect through his research in various fields including robotics, Technologies for Developing World, Internet Technologies, Education and Sensor Networks. His research experience comes from working at renowned academic and industry based research organisations including UNSW, MAARCS Institute of UWS, NEWT and Microsoft Research. In addition, his work as Software Engineer gives him a breadth of IT knowledge.
Emma Curtis-Bramwell works with Graduate Research School as a Research and Education training specialist. She works with Digital Research team to manage and coordinate the training program using innovative methods. In the past, she has worked in the creative writing and management roles.