More than 100 students, teachers and staff attended the BIO Fall 2020 Student Poster Symposium. Every semester, students at BIO present posters of their scientific work at a poster symposium. Many students have been conducting projects as part of their courses during this semester, in which they participated in workshops on how to create a scientific poster and learned how to present the poster within a time scope. The courses BIO250 Paleoecology, BIO299 Research Practice in Biology and BIO300A Academic Writing were part of this semester’s symposium. There was a great variety on the topics, reflecting the diversity of the projects the students have worked on. 20 posters were presented by groups of students and by individual students. And the presentations were great! A strong majority of the presenters were able to hold the minute-introduction to their work with clarity, relevance for the audience and respect for the given time limit.
The original plan was to conduct an on-campus poster symposium, but due to the current Covid-19 restrictions in Bergen, we had to use a digital solution. The students and course teachers were invited to join on Zoom, and the rest of the world invited to watch the real-time streaming on YouTube. Students were given one minute to present their poster. Following every poster there was a small break, giving all attendants the possibility to give peer-reviewed feedback according to rubrics developed by the course teachers. More than 400 digital peer-reviewed feedback forms were gathered, thus providing all presenters with valuable feedback on their poster. All posters are available at bioPITCH.
For the first time, the attendees were also invited to a section with 5 minutes student presentations of scientific work as part of the BIO300A course. This was a second part of the student symposium and was open to all attendees (but not a part of the YouTube stream, in agreement with students and course teacher). The 2020 fall poster session thus lasted almost 3 hours and is now getting closer to a student conference.
Unfortunately, we of course had to compromise on much of the interaction and mingling that makes poster sessions extra exciting, and we keep our fingers crossed for an in-person event next spring. Nevertheless, we felt the poster symposium was a great success, not in the least because we were very impressed with our students adapting to the online format so well.
Thank you to all organizers, supervisors, and of course students to make this the engaging afternoon it was!