The first virtual MAXQDA conference that felt like the world’s biggest living room
Let me tell you one thing – the thrill of an online conference is incomparable.
Will the technology and the platform work out? Will everyone find their way around? Will there be visitors at all? You only know when the conference begins.
When we decided to launch MAXDAYS in addition to the annual, on-site MQIC, no one had expected the turnout for our very first digital format: Almost 4000 registrations in just two and half months! The response was overwhelming.
With such a huge group, everything feels unforgiving and utterly exciting at the same time – but because of our reliable speakers and an incredibly respectful crowd, MAXDAYS turned out to be a smooth and fun conference.
It let us forget even about our small starting difficulties on day one, when Anne and Isabel Kuckartz had to improvise due to problems with the live stream and held an even more personal welcome speech. One visitor summed it up quite nicely: A virtual conference without technical issues would be boring!
After this spontaneous adjustment, almost 900 simultaneous attendees were online to join 43 spotlight sessions in 9 different languages. Not only did they have the chance to learn more about basic MAXQDA functions, but more complex features were also presented, such as MAXDictio, MAXQDA Stats, Sentiment Analysis for Twitter, and more.
Whatever session we hopped into – it was such bliss to read messages from all over the world in the chats and to sense the enthusiasm and good vibes both from the speaker and attendees. Some sessions did not want to come to an end at all with the lively conversations taking place there!
While the first day was intensive learning and the schedule was absolutely full, day two gave more time to dive deeper into several research projects with a colorful bouquet of topics. Medha Nayak spoke to us from Odisha, India and captivated with her research about human-elephant interaction, Brittany D. Jones gave some valuable insights into her work with MAXQDA for her PhD project “Land Banks, Land Ownership, and Black Food Geographies”, and Danielle Jacques took us to Dakar, Senegal, where she used MAXQDA for her MA research about “Public Transportation and the Politics of ‘Indiscipline’”.
Also, the three MAXQDA student projects created curiosity among the MAXDAYS attendees, whether it was about the media impact of the #IWD (International Women’s Day) campaign on Twitter (Maria Nadal), consumers’ perception of credibility towards YouTube videos (Ghadeer Alsaeed) or habitability in the architecture of Luis Barragan, where Daniel Vazquez showed how he used MAXQDA for analyzing the psychological and architectural aspects of dwellings.
MAXDAYS was rounded off with an author talk by Dr. Stefan Rädiker and Dr. Mike Gizzi, presenting their new book “The Practice of Qualitative Data Analysis: Research Examples Using MAXQDA”.
Also, the trainer discussion panel met with great interest. Dr. Aikokul Maksutova, Karen L. Andes, PhD, Graham Hughes, and Dr. Stefan Rädiker had a stimulating discussion with other trainers about motivating and challenging issues in trainer activity. Especially for our trainers, MAXDAYS have awakened a longing for the MQIC plus a cold German beer and pretzel – fingers crossed for next year!
In any case, the MAXDAYS team opted for pizza afterwards and toasted to a successful conference – all tested negative for COVID19, of course.
To sum up: MAXDAYS brought together people from 119 countries – the world’s biggest gathering of the MAXQDA community so far! And yet it felt like an oversized living room, with the opportunity for everyone to exchange their MAXQDA best practices and learn more about MAXQDA research projects from all over the globe. With an average time of almost 5 hours spent at the conference and so many positive messages, it was almost heartbreaking to bring it to an end. But no worries, MAXDAYS will return- this is certainly a format that we will keep in the future!
Until next time.