- Ensure that speakers have good mic and earphones and have practiced in
Elluminate beforehand. Unless they are experienced with presenting online, it is probably a good idea to insist on
- If speakers are based in the same location then it might be better
for them to be in the same or nearby room.
The same applies for any standby speaker ready to step in if there are
problems with the advertised speaker.
- If speakers are in other locations, we need to have a way to
contact them outside of the platform in use, if they have not got their sound
on or are having problems connecting.
- We need an agreed signal to bring to a close – the online
equivalent of the 5 minute warning or card held up at conferences. (This
could be achieved by placing a countdown over the top of their slides)
- It is worth including regular breaks in the programme for informal
chat and a chance for ‘comfort breaks’. This should be good practice anyway in
relation to looking at the screen for long periods and also the issue around comfort when wearing headphones for
- Run more open, discussion based sessions, not just purely
presentation based ones. As it was experimental this year, we were trying a number of different things so experimenting with the format seemed like a tweak too far, but we could do more than straightforward presentations.
- Make better use of the ‘Your contributions’ strand and provide
support for this, such as video and technical teams who will help projects
produce a video in the run-up to the conference. The conference becomes a means to generate
content and create engagement around new technologies.
- Have a specified technical support team with clearly defined
roles. As this was an experiment this year, much of the knowledge resided with
the two central organisers, but as it becomes accepted practice, readily
defined roles can be allocated.
- Have back up equipment ready, with several laptops.
- If bandwidth and technology allow include video and/or pictures of
the presenters (and audience) as it makes the experience feel more
- Presenting virtually requires slides to be more engaging than with
a live audience and for the speaker to encourage interaction. We will produce a
set of guidelines for virtual presentations to aid presenters. Also insist on
receiving slides beforehand as uploading was not always straightforward.
- Run some hybrid sessions – for example have a number of rooms on campus where the conference is presented on a screen, with refreshments available so people can drop in. This would give some of the physical presence a traditional conference benefits from and may overcome some of the issues in people allocating time to it.
I'd welcome any other suggestions for either practical changes or more radical approaches.