Tips for holding the IS Online Discussion Forum

Planning and Announcing

  • Know ahead of time the registration limit of the webcasting/discussion software and be prepared for 100+ registrations in the first couple of days after announcing the discussion.
  • Confirm ahead of time that recording is available – this is a highly sought after piece of information
    • The original announcement should mention that the session will be recorded and made available
    • Links to the recorded session should be sent to the lists once they are available
  • Encourage the presenter to recruit an audience in the room where they are delivering the forum to make it more like a presentation
    • Seek ways for audience to provide input (questions, feedback, polls) and discuss their responses during the talk
  • Do a complete or at least partial run-through of the presentation ahead of time to spot problems like microphone functionality problems, presentation software problems, breakout issues, tendency of presenters to drift away from the microphone, etc.
  • Following the session, the webcasting/discussion software should be able to send email to everyone who registered. Consider sending a message with:
    • A thanks for attending
    • A link to the feedback form
    • A link to the recorded session


Engaging the Audience

  • There will be several minutes of downtime while attendants log in and before the presentation begins.Encourage the presenter to engage the audience during this time by asking, for example,
    • Who are alumni of the presenter’s institutions or residents of the presenter’s state, etc.
    • If people are watching alone or in a group
    • Where people are coming from
  • Committee chairs should introduce the session and the presenter and close the session with a request to fill out the feedback form


Problems to avoid

  • Audio might be a problem
    • Reverb problems can be difficult to resolve
    • Presenter audio is most important and can be compromised if presenter moves around too much
    • Test all audio beforehand to confirm it is audible to everyone and fix potential problems
  • Format
    • Prezi does not work well with some virtual meeting platforms.
    • Presenters should be encouraged to test their presentations in the software, and potentially use powerpoint and upload a file into the presentation software, rather than using the desktop sharing and Prezi.
  • Communication
    • Assign someone to watch the chat for comments that the audience is making.
    • Arrange ahead of time a good signal for the people watching the chat to get the presenter’s attention.
    • In some software presenters don’t necessarily see all messages typed into the chat, depending on what the chat person chooses for the audience.
  • Attendance
    • Expect a large portion of the attendants to leave when the sessions moves to breakouts. Presenter should plan for big drop at that point, or arrange the session to encourage more people to stay (e.g. multiple smaller breakouts)
    • Breakouts
      • Not all software provides a technological small group breakout function, though Adobe Connect is one that does.
      • Arrange ahead of time for a simple seamless way to incorporate breakouts to avoid losing too many attendants