Dec 182014
 

Creating a Meaningful, Modern Conference 

Our goal for Interchange 2015 is to grow the event into one that fits our modern landscape. The new Interchange must meet the demands of a new world of technology.

Since reviving Interchange in 2013, our small, dedicated crew of volunteers has tried to create a conference the meets the needs of our community.  Often we make our best educated guesses on topics such as which days of the week to hold the event, how much to charge, and what kind of topics will best serve you. To help us create a valuable event, this year we decided to go straight to the source and ask you what you want.

Survey & Results

This fall, we created a survey and circulated it through social media in an attempt to reach as many technical communication professionals as we could.  We received 52 responses, not only from New England technical communicators, but from around the country.

Your opinions have helped us plan for 2015 as we continue to mold Interchange into a vibrant, modern gathering of technical communication professionals. We want to share these results with you so that you have insight into the decisions that were made based on the survey results.

We’ve made some changes to Interchange this year based on what you indicated you wanted from a regional conference. We hope that the change we have made will better fit your needs, and we hope to see you March 27 & 28, 2015 at UMass Lowell.

Where & When 

UMass Lowell has been an excellent host for the last two years and we were pleased to see that almost everyone who responded wanted to return there. In 2015, we will return to the Lower Locks rooms, where the 2013 conference was held.

The 2014 conference was held on a weekend, and we wondered if weekdays might be preferable for our members. Your responses in the survey were divided down the middle, with 27 preferring week days and 26 preferring a weekend. We hope that we have hit on the right solution: for 2015, Interchange will be held on a Friday and Saturday.

Workshops & Sessions 

The past two years of Interchange have featured traditional speakers giving presentations on a variety of topics.  For 2015 we are considering adding a day of workshops and we asked you if you would attend.  There was enough interest in a day of workshops that we are going to try to offer at least one all-day workshop as part of Interchange.

Feed Us

If we agree on anything, it’s that we want food and we want it all day. 74% of respondents prefer to have meals provided.  Coffee and snacks throughout the day are a must.

Have a food allergy or dietary restriction?  Let us know!  In most cases we can accommodate allergies and restrictions.

Dollars & Cents 

Some of us are lucky enough to work for an employer that will pay for continuing education and professional development, but not everyone has that luxury.  Our community is split about 50/50, with half reporting that their employer will pay the cost, and half reporting that they pay their own way.

The New England Chapter is run like a business with budgets and profit/loss responsibilities. We try to keep the cost of Interchange manageable for our community, while maintaining a self-sustaining event. Your response to our question about costs shows us that you respect the value of the experience and education you receive from Interchange.

In 2014, we set our prices and were able to drastically lower them due to a sponsorship from Adobe. For 2015, we priced the conference to make it a self-sustaining event. Hosting a conference is an expensive endeavor. Renting the space, providing food, IT equipment, and all the little things like printing brochures cost money.  We’ve done our best to keep costs down and keep this event affordable for our community.

We are offering 2-day and 1-day registrations, and as always, STC members receive a discount.  Visit Interchange Registration for additional information, but note that registration is not open yet.

Sponsorship 

We are actively looking for sponsors for the event to keep our costs down. If your company is interested in sponsoring Interchange, please contact us!

Would you like to present a session at Interchange? 

The call for proposals for speakers is open.  Proposals are due January 9, 2015.  Visit the  Interchange web page to submit your proposal.

We look forward to seeing you at Interchange 2015!