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How RingCentral Events helped Ravensbourne University London host a 3-day virtual conference with 60+ sessions and 700+ students

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3 min read

About

Ravensbourne University London is a digital media and design university for pre-degree, undergraduate, and postgraduate students as well as professionals seeking further education.

Challenge

Every year, Ravensbourne University London hosts a 15-credit class called the Ravensbourne Unit. The class takes place during a 1-week period, and it’s required for all second-year undergraduate students.

In prior years, Ravensbourne held this class on its London campus. In 2020, however, it needed to move the class online due to Covid-19 and space limitations. Ravensbourne’s building is an open space without individual classrooms. While this open area provides the university with flexibility, it’s not an ideal event location—acoustically or for social distancing.

That’s why Emelie Helsen, the Mindsets and Skillsets Coordinator at Ravensbourne, began searching for a virtual event platform to host the class.

“Zoom was way out of the question,” Helsen says. She explains that hosting a Zoom event with different virtual areas requires multiple links to rooms and separate virtual areas that make student navigation overwhelming.

“We also have a lot of students with neurodivergent needs, and I wanted to make this event as smooth and accessible for them as possible,” she says.

Solution

Helsen was searching for an all-in-one, interactive event platform, and that’s why she chose RingCentral Events. “I attended a conference on RingCentral Events, and I thought it looked great,” Helsen adds.

The Ravensbourne Unit’s classes took place over five days. First, students attended a three-day conference hosted on RingCentral Events. Then, during the final two days, students had the option to meet with instructors during open studio hours to ask questions.

After finishing the five days of classes, students were required to complete a brief where they chose a sound that made them think of an issue in the world, and then designed a plan, pitch, and reflection explaining how they would solve the issue.

The conference on RingCentral Events gave students educational sessionsvideos, and networking to help them brainstorm ideas for their brief and find a solution to their brief issue. Over three days, students could choose from 60+ educational sessions—all hosted on RingCentral Events.

RingCentral Events features used:

  • Two RingCentral Events Stages: Students could attend live educational presentations and talks on either stage.
  • Sessions: With up to five sessions running at one time, students could choose breakout sessions that aligned with their interests.
  • Expo: The Ravensbourne Unit didn’t have or need sponsors. Instead, they used the RingCentral Events Expo feature for asynchronous learning. Inside RingCentral Events, they renamed this area—calling it “The Vault.” Inside the Vault, students could choose from and watch over 100 curated TED Talks, YouTube videos, and short, educational videos. Each piece of curated content was hosted inside its own RingCentral Events booth.
  • Networking: Ravensbourne renamed RingCentral Events 1-on-1 Networking feature—calling it “Ideas Generation.” At specific times throughout the conference, they invited students to chat one-on-one in Ideas Generation to discuss ideas for their brief assignment.
  • Analytics: Helsen and her team used RingCentral Events analytics to demonstrate the return on investment from their event and to track how and when students moved to different virtual rooms and areas within the event.

Result

More than 700 studentsstaff, and external contributors attended the three-day virtual conference. The RingCentral Events platform provided a virtual, educational experience with 60+ sessions and 100+ educational booths.

“Anywhere you learn, you can use RingCentral Events,” says Helsen. “Because it’s so versatile, you can adapt it to what your needs are.”

On top of that, Ravensbourne was able to cut costs by hosting the event virtually. “Ordinarily, I would have to pay fees for speakers to come to the university and travel expenses,” says Helsen. “I had none of that.”

Top benefits of RingCentral Events for Ravensbourne University London: 

  • Simple event management: Helsen managed the entire event with a team of just three people, and she was able to easily move around the event with a few clicks. “It was the first time at the conference that I could be in two places at one time,” says Helsen.
  • A virtual experience that enhanced learning: Helsen says she encouraged students to leave sessions they didn’t find interesting, which they may have felt uncomfortable doing at an in-person conference. “It’s called RingCentral Events because you can hop in and out. And that’s the power of RingCentral Events, because I’ve been to so many conferences where a description says one thing and then the session is boring, but I don’t want to leave because it’s awkward,” explains Helsen.
  • Reduced event expenses: By eliminating speaking and traveling costs, Ravensbourne cut event expenses.
  • An accessible, easy-to-use experience: Because RingCentral Events is an all-in-one event platform, Ravensbourne was able to give students one place to access all areas of the conference.

The virtual event was such a success that Helsen plans to never go back to an entirely in-person class. “I honestly think the Ravensbourne Unit will be hybrid. Because what we delivered on RingCentral Events—there is no way I can deliver that in our building.”

Anywhere you learn, you can use RingCentral Events.

—Emelie Helsen, Mindsets and Skillsets Coordinator at Ravensbourne University London

Originally published Sep 01, 2022, updated Jun 10, 2024

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