First-Time Attendees

Since this is your first conference experience with AEA, we have compiled a few tips to help you prepare for Evaluation 2018.  

Understand the Education Program

Familiarize yourself with the various session types. AEA offers many formats designed to encourage engagement and introduces new ways to learn. The conference features roundtables, demonstrations, panels, lectures, and unique learning opportunities such as Ignite Sessions and Birds of a Feather Gatherings:

Ignite Presentations 

Ignite presentations are short 5-minute presentations with automatically advancing slides.  There are 10+ speakers organized into each ignite session and there are five of them during the conference. 

Birds of a Feather Gatherings

Birds of a Feather are small and informal discussion-based gatherings, aimed exploring ideas. This is the only session type for which there is no formal presentation; instead the facilitators spark discussion around a particular topic area.

Download the Conference App in Advance

The Evaluation 2018 mobile app is the most up-to-date program available and is more reliable than the printed program. To truly utilize the app, build your agenda in the app prior to arriving onsite. You can add multiple sessions to your agenda, even if you are not sure if you will be attending all of them. Building your agenda will save you time while in Cleveland and help you avoid any Wi-Fi issues.  Through the app, you can also:

  • Explore in-depth session and speaker information
  • Find your way around the conference venue through interactive maps
  • Find other attendees and set-up meetings
  • View all exhibitors in the Connection Center

The conference mobile app will be available in October. Invitations to the app will be sent to all registered attendees.

Build Your Agenda

Evaluation 2018 features hundreds of sessions, and since you won’t be able to attend them all, we recommend you build your agenda before you arrive in Cleveland. Use the interactive program or Evaluation 2018 mobile app to start identifying the sessions you want to attend. We recommend choosing sessions sponsored by 3-4 Topics Interest Groups. 

Printed Program

Printed programs will be available at the registration desk. Only attendees that indicate that they would like a printed program during the registration process will be given one onsite. We are following this practice in 2018 to limit our carbon footprint for Evaluation 2018 and ensure attendees who have requested a program receive the printed program for conference navigation. Please note, the program is printed three weeks prior to the conference and will not have the most up-to-date session information. 

Take a Break

The conference days are long, so take a break and remember that missing a session here or there to connect with colleagues over a cup of coffee is a good reset. Plan your agenda to see what matters to you, but don’t forget to take a step back to digest what you have learned.

Make Time to Network

If you are traveling to the conference alone or with a smaller group, it’s always great to step outside of your comfort zone and meet new people. The evaluation community is very inviting and friendly, so don’t be shy to speak to an author you may recognize, introduce yourself to members of AEA working groups or tasks forces, or chat with AEA staff members. Most attendees will be wearing ribbons attached to their badges indicating their role or interest. We have heard from many past attendees that meeting fellow conference-goers is how the learning extends beyond the classroom and is the most enjoyable part of the conference experience.

Attend Orientation

Join us for a quick session on Wednesday, October 31 for everything you need to know about Evaluation 2018. AEA staff will be present to assist with the mobile app, explain the education format of the conference, and answer any questions regarding AEA membership.  Following the orientation, we will head to the evening’s reception together.

Stay Connected on Social Media

Conference attendees are very active on social media. We encourage you to live Tweet and share photos and information that you are learning in each session. Through social media you can connect with other attendees and help our online users get a digital peek into the onsite experience. Use #Eval18 when sharing your posts! Click here for social media tips.