2021 Interactive Paper Sessions Instructions

Download a PDF of these instructions

The purpose of interactive paper sessions is for a lively discussion and creation of new knowledge after the presentations.

Interactive paper sessions are scheduled on Wed., Nov. 3, Thu., Nov. 4, and Fri., Nov. 5 between 10 a.m. Central Time and 4:30 p.m. Central Time. Check the program schedule for the scheduled time of your session.

Interactive paper sessions will have a facilitator and a presider. In some cases, the facilitator and presider may be the same person. See Facilitator and Presider Instructions for facilitator and presider expectations.

Session Details

  • Each presenter has 8 minutes to present and should focus primarily on key findings or observations, contributions, and methodological rigor. Stay within your allotted time. End your presentation on time to be considerate of the other presenters’ times.
  • A maximum of 8 slides should be prepared in advance (i.e., one minute per slide). The first slide will be the title slide, and the last slide should list two questions for discussion at the end of the session. 
  • Time remaining after all presentations should be used for questions, discussion, and creating new knowledge.
  • Interactive paper sessions will be conducted through Zoom Meetings and include 4-5 presentations.


Preparing for the session:

Prior to the conference, connect with the facilitator, chair, discussant, moderator, presider, and other presenters in your session to ensure a successful virtual session. Not all Special Sessions will have each of these roles.

  • Send a copy of your presentation and your biographical information to your session chair or facilitator by Oct. 11. An email will be sent to you that lists the email addresses of the people to whom you are to send this information.
  • All presenters, chairs, moderators, discussants, facilitators, and presiders must be registered to participate in your scheduled session, including invited individuals. See www.ncfr.org/ncfr-2021/registration to register.

Set your slides to advance automatically so that your presentation ends in 8 minutes. Your oral remarks must coincide with your visual presentation. Practice and time your presentation.

Presenters, Chairs, Discussants, Moderators, or Facilitators should arrive at their session 15 minutes early to ensure you are logged in and ready to begin at the start of your session.

Instructions for setting PowerPoint slides to advance automatically:

  1. First, set up your desired slide transition effects for your presentation. See this Microsoft Support webpage for assistance with transitions in your version of PowerPoint.
  2. Then, in the Transitions tab, find the Timing group of commands (to the right near the top) 
  3. Under Advance Slide, select the check box "After" (rather than "On Mouse Click"), and enter 60 seconds in the timing box.

A Note About Providing Handouts at Your Session:

Handouts are recommended, but not required. Handouts or presentation slides can be posted alongside the information about your session.


NEW This Year:  We encourage you to Submit optional handouts directly into Whova between Oct. 11 and Oct. 23, 2021. You will receive an email with a unique link directly from Whova providing instructions starting Oct. 11 once you are registered. Upload final documents. You will not be able to modify or delete any uploaded files.

Optional handouts can include a 1- to 2-page executive summary of your presentation, including implications of your work for policy, practice, research, or pedagogy. Many attendees find these materials beneficial.

All handouts should be accessible and saved as a PDF.


During the conference

  • NCFR Zoom Support will be logged into your session to welcome you before the session.
  • Write your name within Zoom so others know your name. Click on ‘participants’. When the dialog box open, click on ‘more’ next to your name. Click rename and enter your name.
  • Presenters, discussants, moderators, presiders, chairs, and facilitators will have video and audio capabilities.
  • Presenters will be allowed to share their screens to share their slides.
  • Face the camera when speaking to allow for lip reading.
  • Be enthusiastic during your live presentation. 
  • Avoid reading your paper, notes, or handouts. Refer to your notes or prepare an outline from which you present your presentation.
  • Relax and enjoy yourself as you present your paper, and your audience will respond accordingly.
  • Be calm and have a sense of humor, especially if technical difficulties arise.
  • All attendees should have their names visible.
  • Facilitators (moderators or chairs) will moderate live questions during the session. See the Presenter Instructions 2021 NCFR Virtual Conference for additional information.
  • All those participating in the session will have video and audio capabilities to be able to engage in lively discussion.
  • All attendees should have their names visible.
  • Live discussion will take place during your scheduled time through Zoom. Attendees may ask questions verbally by raising their hands or through the chat feature.
  • Asynchronous discussion also can occur. Attendees may leave a question for you at any time during the conference week in the platform Q&A or chat features. We recommend that you check for questions often, as time permits.  


Increasing Engagement

Interactive sessions allow for more engagement among participants and a more stimulating session. The following are suggestions to increase engagement.

  • Using tools for polling, word clouds, quizzes, rankings, et. Mentimeter is one software that can be used. https://www.youtube.com/user/Mentimeter. Feel free to use the software with which you are most comfortable.
  • Have everyone introduce themselves at the beginning of the session to increase engagement with one another. (Limit this to a total of no more than 3 minutes.)

Preparing Your Presentation

The following is an in-depth list of instructions to assist in preparing slide presentations. See also Presenter Instructions 2021 NCFR Virtual Conference. See also the webcast Surviving The Lightning Paper Session: Microsoft Powerpoint “How To’s” for additional tips (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MtPeL7yqcR0)


  • Keep the title as short as possible so others can read it quickly.
  • Use upper- and lower-case type throughout the poster. Avoid all upper-case type.
  • Serif fonts (such as Times New Roman) are generally easier to read in the body of the text. Sans serif fonts (such as Arial or Calibri) are best used in titles, headings, and captions for emphasis.
  • Use bold and bullets for emphasis.
  • Font sizes should be at least 24-point for the body, 28-point for headers, and 32-point for titles.
  • Keep it simple, clean, and concise. One item per line works best, so use key words rather than complete sentences. The optimum display on a slide is no more than 6 to 8 lines and 30 words per slide.
  • Use only two levels of bullet points.
  • Double space between each line of text.


  • Text should be printed on a contrasting background (dark text on a light background, or light text on a dark background).    
  • Avoid harsh colors, such as neon, and text/background color combinations that are hard to read (e.g., red and yellow, red and green, red and black, purple and green, yellow and green, or blue and red).
  • Choose no more than two colors (in addition to either white or black) for the graphic elements of your slides (such as borders or horizontal rules) to emphasize elements and draw attention to your slides.

Tables and Charts

  • Keep graphics as simple as possible. More complex data can be presented in a handout.
  • Photographs should be used sparingly. All images should include a citation, if they were not personally created. Obtain permission to use copyrighted images.
  • Do not use hand drawn images.
  • All images should be high-quality and look good on screen.

Accessible Presentations and Resources
Design your presentation and materials with accessibility in mind.