Embedding the Intersect training program at La Trobe University: Tackling the Issue of “No-Shows”

Ghulam Murtaza1, Emma Curtis-Bramwell2

1Intersect Autralia Ltd., Sydney, Australia, Ghulam.murtaza@intersect.org.au

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.

  1. Calendar Invites; Entering the training sessions directly into the researcher’s calendar.
  2. Confirmation of Attendance Process; Asking researchers to confirm their attendance prior to the training.
  3. 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.


Dr Ghulam Murtaza is currently Intersect Digital Research Analyst for La Trobe University. During his time at Intersect, Ghulam has worked with Australian Catholic University and La Trobe University where he has lead multiple eResearch initiatives including the efforts to imbed Intersect

services within local eResearch offerings. Ghulam is a published researcher and has previously held research and academic positions at many different reputable universities including UNSW, MAARCS institute of WSU, NEWT and Microsoft Research. Ghulam holds a Bachelor of Science (Honours) and Masters of Science in Computer Science from LUMS, Pakistan. He further completed his PhD in Computer Science from University of New South Wales (UNSW).

Emma Curtis-Bramwell graduated from the University of Warwick with a BA (Hons) degree in Classics. Emma moved to Australia and worked in event management and executive recruitment in Sydney before relocating to Melbourne in 2005. She has worked in various roles at La Trobe University for the past 13 years whilst studying for a diploma in University administration. In her position as Project/Communications Officer, she helped establish the eResearch Office at Latrobe, which later became the Office of Research Infrastructure. In this role, she was responsible for budgets, project management, website content and supporting the development of a Digital Research training program at La Trobe. She also assisted with the establishment of Research Platforms, bringing together research capabilities, expertise and equipment. Since last year, Emmahas worked for the Graduate Research School as Research Education and Development Coordinator. She is responsible for promoting the training program, managing relationships with external consultants, managing the booking database, and reporting on attendance and evaluation following program delivery.

Recent Comments