Monday, January 6, 2014

OHSU Informatics Live-Streaming Weekly Conferences

The Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) Biomedical Informatics Program is undertaking something new with the beginning of the new year: live streaming of our weekly conferences. These conferences, which take place on Thursdays at 11:30 am Pacific time, will be available live from the following URL:

Our conferences have been offered to students, faculty, and others for over two decades, and we have been recording them and posting the videos on the Web dating back to 2007 at the URL:
We will continue to post the recordings 1-2 days after the conferences as we always have.

It should be noted that we sometimes have conferences at different times, due either to visitors speaking on a different day or when we are overloaded with student thesis defenses near the end of the academic term. There are also times when we will not be streaming the conferences, such as talks by job candidates or about student internship projects that had some proprietary nature to them. All of our conferences are posted on our department calendar. We are also in the process of creating a listserv for streamed conference announcements, with more details to appear on our Web site soon.

Of course, we still hope people who are local will come to the actual conference. We will continue to provide one incentive to show up in person, which is serving lunchtime pizza. (Unfortunately we will not be able to deliver pizza to those viewing remotely!)

We also hope to make the conference as interactive to the remote audience as we do to those in attendance, including the ability to ask questions of the speaker. We plan to do this via our Twitter feed, @OHSUInformatics, using the hashtag #q&a. The Twitter feed will be monitored during and after the talk, and in the event of too many questions, it will be up to the discretion of the speaker to choose. We will also want to give those in attendance the opportunity to ask questions as well.

I will be kicking off the first live-streamed conference on January 9, 2014 with a presentation on the state of the informatics field and our program: OHSU Informatics: State of the Field, State of the Program.

We (and others at OHSU) have streamed conferences before, so we do not anticipate any technical glitches. We suspect that our method for capturing speaker questions may need refinement over time, so may adjust our approach using Twitter. In any case, I am delighted that we are now adding live streaming of our conferences to the way we interact with the rest of the world.

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