Presenting at an Online Conference:
food for thought
food for thought
The other day I presented at “The cultures of EAP” online conference and my presentation got me thinking (yay, you get to read another one of my rambles), so, I now really want to share with you some of my thoughts about online conferences, how I experienced the conference as a member of the audience and my views as a presenter as well.
Why attend an online conference?
- For continual professional development…. obviously!
- They offer the option of recordings, so everything is saved. If you miss a session, you can watch it later.
- They are convenient. You are at home, in your jammies and learning in the most comfortable of ways.
- Participants can be from all over the world, so you may hear a talk from someone who would not be able to present at a face to face conference (for presenters who are not key note or invited speakers, face to face conferences can be a bit expensive in terms of travel expenses).
- The platforms that host online conferences have chat boxes so you also get to interact with the other attendees. There are no ”shhhhh” moments in this case (while they are an an excellent opportunity for some serious chatting, they can be a bit distracting though).
Why present at an online conference?
Well, why not? OK, if you need a bit more persuading, here goes.
- You, the presenter, don’t have to go anywhere. You are at home, so actually there are no expenses! It is also probably the most comfortable way to present (you are in your slippers, in your own chair etc, etc)!!
- Because presentations get recorded, you can reflect on what went well in your presentation and what needs to be improved. You can also keep your presentation in some sort of e-portfolio ( I add mine to my blog page).
- You may be nervous, but not as nervous as when presenting face to face. So, if you want to start presenting your views, an online conference is less nerve wracking.
- Your audience is from all around the world!
- It is good for the CV fellow teacher.
- Like any conference presentation, you get to dig deeper into issues you are interested in, share your views and even learn something from the audience’s comments. It is a win-win situation.
The PPP of an online presentation: advice to the presenter
If you do submit a proposal for a talk at an online conference, this is what I suggest. Plan your talk, make you slides and then practice what you are going to say. Time yourself because while at a face to face conference someone will probably warn you when you only have 5 minutes left, at an online one that does not really happen so it is easier to lose track of time. Finally, start promoting your talk. If you want people to attend your talk, inform them by tweeting about it (systematically), share the info on Facebook and LinkedIn groups. If you have a google+ button, press it.
On a more personal note… my talk….. my reflections….
I talked about the impact of presentation skills assessment criteria on syllabus design. This was my first EAP related talk, so I was really enthused about it. I am not going to toot my own horn about the things I think I did well. I am going to tall you what I did do though. I had a lot of things to say and that was mistake numero uno. My planning. I timed myself at home, but lost track of time due to nervousness and stumbling over my own words. I also made a major omission.I talked about presentation skills assessment criteria, learner problems and syllabus design, and how criteria can inform syllabus design. However, I did not mention any implications to such an approach. Ironically, I always tell my learners, you gotta mention implications when you talk about your research. Yeah, practice what you preach, Joanna!!Sadly enough, a friend who attended my talk, spelt this one out for me : (.
Notes to my future online (and offline) presenter self:
Even though you think you have planned your presentation well, you haven’t, so, plan more.
If you know anyone who knows anything about what you are talking about OR has experience presenting, ask for advice regarding your presentation. You may hear something helpful.
I am really thankful to everyone at Sheffield university’s English Language Center and Oxford University Press for organising/hosting the “Cultures of EAP” conference and giving me the opportunity to attend and present at the conference. The conference was about the Cultures of English for Academic Purposes (for more information go here).
If you have presented online and want to share your own thoughts, feel free to comment in the comment section below.
Till next time…