The Newbie Online Presenter

                        Presenting at my 1st Online Conference

Picture: my own : )

Like most teachers, I too have attended many conferences. After having attended many of them, and since I have many years of teaching experience, I thought to myself, “Maybe I should present at a conference”. I did. Face to face conferences (not sure that that is a word but I am talking about the conferences where you have to be physically present) are great for teachers/presenters  because basically:

  • You read up on what you will be presenting so you become even more informed.
  • You meet and share your views with people who are interested in the same things as you.
  • It is great for your CV.
So, I loved my ‘presentation’ experience and decided to try something new. An online conference. I am already an online teacher so why not become an online presenter? I sent a proposal, it got accepted and I will be presenting at my first web conference (Belta and TESL Online Conference on Reading and Writing on the 8th and 9th of August). So today, I made myself a big cup of coffee, I found all my notes and the articles/ books I was reading in order to prepare for the conference and started working on my PowerPoint presentation. Whilst sipping my coffee though, I started thinking about the differences of a ‘face to face conference’ and an online one. So, here is what I think as a newbie online teacher/presenter. Let’s start with some similarities between presenting at a conference and presenting at a web conference.
                         Similarities
  • Reading, reading and some more reading.
My talk is about academic writing and helping students avoid plagiarism, so like all my other conference presentations, I have read  a lot about my topic. I want to be well informed and be able to give the audience a sense of 50 minutes well spent. As this is a topic that has to do plagiarism, I am also extra careful of how I will reference, cite everything and I am very cautious of not plagiarising!! Now wouldn’t that be a big flop? A presenter talking about how to avoid plagiarism, plagiarising : S
  • Rehearsing
Like all the other times, I have rehearsed what I will be saying. I am timing myself and checking to see if I have enough slides for a 50 minute presentation. I think time management is quite difficult so I need to practise as much as I can.
  • Spreading the news
I have also informed my teacher friends about this conference. I have shared posts about the conference on my Facebook page and Twitter.
                          Differences
  • Spreading the news
Yeap, the similarity is also a difference. I think that because this is an online conference, I need to make my social media presence even stronger, so I guess I have to start bombarding people with posts (hmmm ?!?!?!?!) about the when, where and how of this web conference.
  • Technology
At my previous conferences I worried about the technology. I wanted everything to work (lap top, sound, WiFi) because my presentation heavily depended on technology. Now I worry even more! This presentation will solely be delivered online, via the Internet. This means that if the technology in the accommodation I am currently staying at is acting up and being temperamental, my presentation will go down the drain*!! I just hope the WiFi Gods will help me next Saturday. I do have my roommates to rely on if my lap top decides to break down, so no worries in the lap top department. 
* extra worry: I need to think of my time management as well because if the technology goes on and off my time will be affected as well.
  • Interacting with the audience
As an online teacher, I know that interacting online is quite difficult. this makes me wonder how I will connect with the people at home. I do not like going on lecture mode. I find it boring and I will try to avoid it. How? I will ask questions and see what the other teachers have to say in the web conference room’s chat box pod. icing on the cake? The web cam. I need to use it to my advantage (don’t know how but still thinking…..).
  • My Visuals
This is an online conference which means that my visuals need to be very effective. They are the main thing the audience will be looking at. They need to be to the point, clear, no contrasting colours, the right size and in general viewer friendly. Unfortunately, I am not an expert at PPT presentations so my slides will probably be basic! But then again simple is sometimes better than fancy schmancy.
  • Recording the presentation
As this is an online conference, I think it will be easier to find software that will enable me to record the presentation. I will be able to keep it, share it if someone wants to view it and watch it a dozen times and be reflective about what I should’ve, could’ve, would’ve done if I gave the presentation again : ).
Final thoughts
I hope everything goes well. I am presenting on the 9th of August at 5.30 pm CET. I will be talking about academic writing and plagiarism. I will be looking at the steps the teacher needs to take in order to help students avoid plagiarising and I will also give ideas on tasks that can be used in class. For more information about the conference go here. Feel free to leave a comment in the comments section : ).
 Till next time………
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8 thoughts on “The Newbie Online Presenter

  1. Well done, Joanna! I love your lively and enthusiastic approach to anything you do 🙂 It's great to have all the similarities and differences summarized in one place. The fact you share your personal feelings is a bonus. While reading, it occurred to me that you might want to read this post – summary of an #eltchat – I wrote up back in November. As I can't see you name among the chatters, my guess is that you didn't take part in that chat and so you might find it interesting.
    http://how-i-see-it-now.blogspot.cz/2013/11/how-can-teachers-prepare-to-give-talk.html
    I keep my fingers crossed for you.
    Hana

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  2. Hi Joanna,
    Very concise, practical overview – thanks! I couldn't attend the conference but I'm working my way through the recordings and yours was the first I checked out. 🙂 I see now that you took all the points in this post into account and wanted to let you know I thought the talk went really well. The audience responded well and I'd say this was only natural given your direct and friendly approach. As someone who has taught EAP to undergrads I found the content very interesting indeed, particularly the mention of citation generators.
    Good luck with future presentations!

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  3. Hi Vedrana!
    Thanks for the support and for promoting my talk. I am glad to see you found the talk interesting. I was quite nervous and I did find the online presentation quite different to the face 2 face ones. Food for thought especially as far as interaction and body language are concerned.

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  4. In an age when event budgets are being cut and broadband Internet access is rising, webinars are becoming increasingly popular. Webinars are web-based seminars, that usually include over 30 participants and are used to conduct presentations, workshops, lectures and large-scale meetings. Since webinars are held online, they allow companies to save money on travel, catering and venues, all of which are costs commonly associated with face-to-face seminars. However, due to their large attendance, webinars need careful planning in order to be successful. This is why those planning on video conferencing need to take their time to ensure that they properly go through all the necessary steps which will ensure the webinar’s success.

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  5. Hi! Yes, I watched it. I notice that I was not looking at the camera enough. I moved a lot and stumbled for words. I also had issues with time management. I think that my second online presentation was much better than the first!! Reflecting and watching yourself is a bit scary but an eye opener!

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  6. Hi Joseph,
    Sorry for the late reply. You are absolutely right about how practical and cost effective online conferences are. I have presented at two and have attended many. As a presenter I have noticed though that they do require a lot of planning and that interacting with the audience is quite hard. I think the more you plan and practice, the more successful/effective you become

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