Happy Spring! As the countdown to ODTUG Kscope19 dips to weeks left (eek!), I find myself wanting to share a number of awesome conference updates. However, I must prioritize based on attendee needs and where you are in your personal conference planning. In this update, I’ll share a few scheduling efficiencies we’ve made to the agenda, which will be especially helpful for those of you who are in the process of booking your conference travel.
Community Service Day—Now Saturday Afternoon!
Being on site at conferences isn’t cheap. Therefore, Kevin McGinley, this year’s amazing assistant conference chair, dared to ask the question—why can’t we make Community Service Day later in the day on Saturday, so our attendees don’t have to pay for a hotel on Friday? Great question, and one that we’ve entertained in the past (and were not able to accommodate for a variety of reasons). However, this year—great news! We have formally moved our Community Service Day to Saturday afternoon, which means that anyone wishing to participate can fly in on Saturday morning instead of Friday night. This does shift the schedule for other activities on Saturday afternoon, but no worries—we have worked it out.
Therefore, if you’re looking to book your travel to ODTUG Kscope19 and you want to participate in Saturday’s Community Service Day, you can now avoid the cost of one more hotel night. This change means that we will provide a luncheon right before the event to our volunteers, from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Then community service will run from 1:30 to 5:00 p.m. Note that since we’re in downtown Seattle and our community service is at the compassionate Pike Market Food Bank (also downtown), we will plan to be super green and walk to the event from the hotel.
New 30-Minute Sessions!
Did you notice something different on the conference agenda this year?
On Monday afternoon, we are experimenting with a different session length—30-minute sessions instead of the typical 60-minute format. Studies have shown that the 60-minute format is not always optimal, and we’ve had a number of requests over the years to offer a shorter time. Therefore, on Monday at 11 a.m. (prior to formal session slot #1), we will be trying out this plan. We are selecting special sessions that we feel are better presented within this shorter timeframe.
Breakfast and Lunch—(Nearly) the Same Time Every Day
In the past, breakfast and lunch could be at different times each day, creating some confusion and an overreliance on the conference agenda. This year we’ve made more scheduling changes so that breakfast and lunch are at the same time every day (well, as much as possible). Sunday–Wednesday you’ll see that breakfast runs 7:30–9:00 a.m. Thursday morning we allow attendees to sleep in after the Wednesday night Special Event and afterparty, so we’ll delay breakfast and it will run instead 8:30–9:30 a.m.
Lunch will run 12:45–2:00 p.m. Monday–Wednesday. On Sunday, since we’re squeezing as much time as possible into the Sunday Symposium schedules for great product content, lunch will run 12:00–1:00 p.m. instead.
And if you’re ever confused about any of the schedules, be sure to ask K-bot, the chatbot built into the conference mobile app. She even knows what food we’re serving and can answer questions about food for special diets.
Continuing the Theme of Efficient Session Days
Finally, I received great feedback last year for making the long session days more efficient. Therefore, we will be continuing this theme by starting sessions at 9:00 a.m. every day (except Thursday—see the earlier note about the delay on Thursdays so everyone can recover from the night before). And we will end the last session between 4:30 and 5:00 p.m. each day.
To give new attendees a reference point, a few years ago we used to have the last session end at 5:30 p.m. or later, when it wasn’t always necessary. This created a very long day for attendees. By making the day more efficient, folks who need to stay on task with their day jobs have options to take calls and meetings, check emails, and catch up on work before and after each conference day.
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Enjoy our smarter and more efficient conference schedule. I will see you in just a handful of weeks in beautiful downtown Seattle!
Opal Alapat, Oracle ACE Director
ODTUG Kscope19 Conference Chair