Month: March 2021

Getting the most out of virtual conferences

students on a gymnasium floor walking around looking at research posters

The past year has brought many challenges as we have adapted to life during a pandemic. One significant change we have experienced is the shift from in-person conferences to virtual ones. Although virtual events lack the face-to-face interactions, they can be as informative, engaging, and rewarding as in-person events. Here are my tips for getting the most out of your virtual conference experience.

  1. Familiarize yourself with the platform before the conference begins. Many platforms exists, and they each have distinct features that allow you to participate in discussions, connect with conference participants, and to communicate with presenters. Knowing what you can do with the virtual platform will help you get the most out of the experience.
  2. Choose presentations, roundtable discussions, and poster sessions that interest you. Take a look at the schedule and plan your activities in advance so you don’t miss out. I recommend reading through the program before the conference begins and planning your schedule will allow you to find the sessions that excite you and make for a more engaging conference.
  3. If presenting at a virtual conference, be sure to practice with the platform before you present. Some conferences have begun adding in practice times for presenters, which can help you get accustomed to the platform and reduce the stress of virtual presentations.
  4. Minimize the disruptions in your environment. One challenge I have found with virtual conferences is that I can be distracted easily of the demands of work and home. Clear your schedule to allow you to focus on the conference. Turning off things like email notifications and using headphones have also helped me to reduce the distractions and allow me to concentrate on the presentations.
  5. Connect and engage with people. One key to immersing yourself in the conference is to connect with other participants through structured discussions, virtual meet-and-greets, or private messaging. Be sure to explore all of the methods conference organizers have set up for you to interact with other participants.

Virtual conferences are still a good place to share research, exchange ideas, and to learn. The platforms just require us to adapt to new ways of connecting and engaging, and with a little planning you can get the most out of your conference experience.

I would love to hear about your virtual conference experiences. Please share any tips you have learned in the comments below.

Oklahoma (Virtual) Research Day 2021 – Check it out!

Oklahoma Research Day (ORD) is an annual event showcasing cutting-edge student and faculty research conducted at the state’s colleges and universities. This year’s event is online and will run from March 5 until March 19. I invite you to check it out!

Below is helpful information to get started and to navigate the virtual ORD.

Event Launch/Go Live
ORD 2021 will launch on Friday, March 5 at midnight, and access to the event website will become available.

Navigating the site
Click the ORD 2021 link: to navigate the event’s Welcome Page. Participants may further navigate the site using three tabs (located at the top of the page): Welcome Page, Presentations, and Live Sessions.

Viewing presentations
Select the Presentations Tab to view ALL presentations.

Searching for presentations
Enter Keyword(s) or Author(s) in the Search Bar at the top of the page to search for specific presentations. Select Filters on the left side of the screen to find a specific Institution and/or Subject.
Click any presentation listing to view it full screen. Click the back arrow on the web browser (top left of screen) to return to the list of presentations.

Leaving comments for presentations
A Comments Box becomes accessible (bottom of the screen) once any presentation is opened. Type questions or comments about the presentation in the comments box and click the Post button.
Please note: Only registered participants may leave comments. Registering ensures that participants can view, comment, and receive responses. Participants will be notified if a presenter replies to a comment. Please restrict comments to positive, thoughtful feedback and engaging questions, and refrain from entering negative comments, threatening language, or harassment, as these will not be tolerated.

Viewing speakers’ remarks
Select the Live Sessions Tab to view presentations from Chancellor Glen Johnson and Executive Director of the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology (OCAST) Michael Carolina. These sessions were pre-recorded and will be available from event launch (Friday, March 5, 2021) until event closure (Friday, March 19, 2021). Sessions may be viewed an unlimited number of times.

For any issues navigating the platform, please feel free to contact event organizers at Cameron University at 580-581-2282 or at