Session Logistics: Symposia

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symposium is a panel of 3-4 experts presenting on a similar topic. The chair introduces the panelists. A discussant generally has 5 minutes to integrate and summarize the papers or discussion points, develop implications for policy, practice, or pedagogy based on the research, and facilitates audience discussion. In some cases, symposia have a moderator, facilitator, and presider to help with the session.

Symposia Details:

  • Symposia 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.

  • The total session time is 75 minutes. This is a tentative schedule:

    • 5-minute introductions

    • 45-50-minute presentation. If applicable, individual presentations are around 12 minutes depending on the number of presenters. Stay within your allotted time. End your presentation on time to be considerate of the other presenters’ times.

    • 5 minutes for discussion remarks when a discussant is part of the session

    • 15 minutes for live discussion and Q&A.

  • Attendees will be visible and may ask questions by raising their hands or through the Zoom chat feature.

  • Chairs or moderators will moderate the discussion and the Q&A portion of the session.

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

  • Send a copy of your presentation and your biographical information to your session chair, discussant, and moderator (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, presiders, and any coauthors attending the session or conference must be registered to participate in your scheduled session, including invited individuals. See to register.

Presenters, Chairs, Discussants, Moderators, Presiders, 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.

Your Symposia will be conducted live through Zoom.

  • Access your  session directly through Whova. Once in Whova, navigate to your session through the agenda. Search for your session number.

  • Click on the session. The URL is provided in Whova at the top of the page 

  • You will be able to see and interact with session attendees.

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.

Discussant Preparation and Expectations:

he discussant presents a 5-minute  "take-home" message after all presentations are complete. Do not use this time as a place to present your own ideas or research. Instead, discuss how the papers are connected, issues for elaboration and discussion, implications of the research, etc.

  • Read the material obtained from each paper presenter before the conference. If you have not received the material from the presenter by Oct. 12, contact Cindy Winter ([email protected]) to obtain this information.

  • Prepare an outline ahead of time about each presentation.

  • Prepare one to three implications for how attendees can use the research presented. 

  • If there is not a separate facilitator or chair at your session, prepare a 1-minute introduction of all the presenters. Be concise. You may be asked to facilitate questions and discussion too.

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, etc. Mentimeter is one software that can be used. Feel free to use the software with which you are most comfortable.

Preparing Your Presentation

The following is an in-depth list of instructions to assist in preparing slide presentations. Shorter instructions were also found in the Presenter Instructions 2021 NCFR Virtual Conference.


  • Keep the title as short as possible so others can read it quickly.

  • Use upper- and lower-case type throughout. 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.

  • 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.