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Public Lectures During a Pandemic: Adaptations, Advantages, and Analytics

Presentation #214.05 in the session “Education, Outreach, and Public Engagement”.

Published onJun 18, 2021
Public Lectures During a Pandemic: Adaptations, Advantages, and Analytics

The Space Telescope Public Lecture Series has been a monthly mainstay in Baltimore for several decades. Over the years it has progressed beyond the traditional in-person auditorium event to including in-house webcasting (2005) and YouTube live-streaming (2014). The global pandemic of 2020 at first interrupted the presentations, but then transformed them with renewed vigor. With our in-person events on indefinite hold, the team shifted to an online format that not only posed challenges, but also provide novel opportunities and increased interest. Both the speakers and the audience reacted in a wholeheartedly positive manner to the new format. The statistics of the events show a doubling of audience to approximately 10,000 views every month since the online-only format was adopted. However, we note that considerable adjustments were made, and unforeseen concerns were both uncovered and addressed. Our Public Lecture Series has emerged stronger than ever, and we expect to continue in this format for at least the remainder of 2021. Please join us for a discussion of lessons learned and opportunities uncovered.

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