The mission of the Website, Technology & Communications Committee is to suggest, evaluate and test a variety of technologies to improve the communications processes of the SEALS conference, including but not limited to the organization website, the paper/discussion group submission process, the mobile app, and social media platforms. The committee meets during the SEALS meeting to discuss new technologies and improvements to existing processes and is called upon periodically during the year to provide feedback on new or enhanced systems.
- Ira Nathenson (St. Thomas U.) (Chair)
- Sydney Beckman (Lincoln Memorial U.)
- Scott Boone (John Marshall (Atlanta))
- Steve Friedland (Elon)
- Ed Martin (Samford)
- Kelly Olson (U. Arkansas – L.R.)
- Gary Pulsinelli (Tennessee)
- Glenn Reynolds (Tennessee)
- Paul Secunda (Marquette)
- Christina Sautter (Louisiana State U.)
- Eric Young (Nova Southeastern)
- Patrick Wiseman (Georgia State)
2017 Annual Report
The primary task of the Website, Technology & Communications Committee this year was to discuss ways to increase social media activity and interaction during the 2017 conference. Several members of the committee evaluated the efforts already ongoing through the official SEALS Twitter account and made suggestions to expand efforts. Our plans for the 2017 conference include asking members of the committee in attendance to live-tweet/report on the sessions they attend and to reach out to session moderators to promote and discuss their sessions through their Twitter accounts. The focus will be on increasing interaction/discussion through the use of @ mentions.
2016 Annual Report
The committee met during SEALS 2015 to discuss projects for the coming year, with a continued focus on improvement and enhancements to the SEALS panel/discussion group system. We met in conjunction with the scholarship and program formatting committees, and this produced some suggestions to make the submission data more accurate as well as new features to promote scholarship. Based on these discussions, Peter Jetton began developing two new features for the submissions systems. The first involved consolidating previous conference presenter information to build a user database that would allow submitters to enter proposals more quickly and more accurately. This enhancement was developed and implemented during the submissions cycle for the 2016 conference. Peter also began developing a user profile system that would allow the members of the database to manage their own information, such as names and institutional affiliations, and to upload papers and other materials related to their panels and discussions groups. Development of this component is ongoing but should be available at the launch of the next submission cycle. Committee participation will be critical in helping to test this new component when the time arrives.
A conference app will again be available for mobile devices, provided by the vendor CrowdCompass. The adoption of the app during the last conference was impressive. There were 324 unique users of the app and nearly 7000 views of session information.
2015 Annual Report
The primary task of the Website, Technology and Communications Committee this year was to evaluate and deploy a mobile app for the 2015 conference. John Keyser took the lead on evaluating different vendors for the app and also solicited feedback from other SEALS committee and board members. We chose CrowdCompass, a product of the event planning software company Cvent. After selecting CrowdCompass, John Keyser and Peter Jetton worked with contacts at the company to develop and deploy the app. We also solicited early testers from the membership of our committee, and five members volunteered to help evaluate the app when ready. Preparing the data from the SEALS panel/discussion group submission system for bulk upload to the mobile app proved to be the greatest challenge, a process that will be much easier going forward, especially if we stay with this vendor. The app was made live a couple of weeks before the conference and shared with the early testers, board members and others. It was shared with all attendees the week before the conference. We will be able to report on usage during and after the conference using built in metrics from CrowdCompass.
The SEALS panel/discussion group submission system continues to expand as new features are requested. For example, this year, new custom submission interfaces were created for the Call for Papers and New Scholars committees to help manage those processes. After several years of use, the system is due a rewrite and redesign to implement in a more efficient way various processes that have been requested since the original scope was determined. Peter will discuss this in greater detail during the committee lunch meeting at the conference.
2014 Annual Report
This is the first year of the combined Website, Technology & Communications Committee. We think the combination of duties will create efficiencies and make things easier to coordinate.
We spent a lot of time investigating a Mobile App for the conference. After reviewing several competing products, we recommended CrowdCompass. We will continue to explore options for future conferences and work with the executive committee to make a decision that is financially sustainable. 10
We made some small changes to the conference registration process. We are eager to hear from everyone how that process went this year. Working with different hotels poses significant challenges to integrating the registration and room reservation processes. We had explored a conference registration service (Cvent), but it was too expensive to implement at this time.
We continue to collect feedback and make improvements to the proposal submission site. The site facilitates panel submissions and helps create the paper and searchable on-line program for the conference.
We will also continue to work with other committees to see how they want to leverage technology. We think we can improve document sharing and the use of social media.
2013 Annual Report
Peter Jetton, with feedback from several people, developed and implemented a proposal submission site. The site makes the submission process much easier for the submitters and for the people organizing the conference. The schedule is then created from the submissions in the database and is searchable on the website.
We transitioned the website to a more robust provider in hopes of avoiding problems with registration. In the end, the registration and room reservation process was still overwhelmed. The website host is more stable and we are exploring the registration and room reservation piece to improve that process.
We have made modest advances in the exploration of social media. The technology committee can assist in this area, but we view our role as mainly facilitating the dissemination of the content, not creating it.
We have been in touch with other committees that would like to leverage technology to disseminate information and content. We are currently contemplating how best to proceed.
We are exploring the interrelationship between the technology and the web committees and exploring the best arrangement for the organization.