Toolkit for Virtual Sessions and Presentations

Toolkit for Virtual Sessions and Presentations

Thank you for all of your hard work to prepare for the LERA Annual Meeting. The following guidelines are the LERA’s quick collection of best practices for your session on a virtual platform. Below please find information on different options for session structure, and preparation suggestions. These are suggestions, and we are open to refining and improving them. We welcome your input and feedback at [email protected].

Whatever options you and your participants choose, LERA highly recommends doing a test-run with your participants before your session to troubleshoot any audio/visual problems

Virtual Session FAQs sheet

60-minute Sessions and Scheduling

One of the changes the program committee is implementing to adjust from a face-to-face to a virtual environment is that all sessions are being reduced from 90 minutes to 60 minutes each. The program committee recommends that paper and presenters have ten minutes each to make remarks, and discussants have five minutes, and that as much time be allotted to questions and answers as is possible. The final timing and format will be up to the session organizer and chair, and they will communicate this to session participants. Some sessions may have unique aspects that can only be assessed by the organizer and chair, and they do have the responsibility to make these determinations.

LERA has several ZOOM licenses to support our conference.

  • Sessions will be in the meeting format to allow participants and attendees to see each other and interact.
  • All participants will have the “share screen” function to project their presentation from their computer screen. (“Sharing your screen” Instructions available here.)
  • Bernadette or Emily will enter each room during the 15 minute break and assign co-hosts for each session. This does not need to be pre-arranged with us, but you do need to know who all should be co-host in your session.
  • IM/chat can take place in real time throughout the session. (Details on in-meeting chat can be found here.)

Discuss your session details

  • Synchronous - live presentations
    • Presenters and audience are present in the virtual room for the presentations and discussions
  • Synchronous - pre-recorded presentations
    • Someone in your session will share screen and hit play for a recorded presentation (some or all). Audience is present in the virtual room for the presentations and some presenters may be present for discussions

Things to consider

LERA recommends that all presenters pre-record their presentations and send the file to session organizers as a back-up. This will protect against wifi or other technical issues from multiple presenters during the virtual session, and helps ensure participants do not go over their time limit. 

Before the scheduled session:

  • Presenters pre-record their presentations of no more than ten minutes and 
    • send the file to session organizers AND/OR
    • upload the file to YouTube, Vimeo, or another video sharing platform and send the link to session organizers
    • Session organizers should tell their participants what will work best for them 
  • Session organizers view the files to make sure there are no audio, visual, or other problems, and that they conform to the time limit.
  • If desired, discussant comments (no more than 5 minutes) may also be pre-recorded.

At the scheduled session:

  • Session organizers will stream the files from their computer during the scheduled meeting time if the presenter wishes or has wifi issues.
  • Any questions or discussion can then be streamed in real time using the virtual platform software.
    • It is up to the session organizers to determine how to allocate time for Q&A, discussant comments, and/or further discussion.
Instructions for using YouTube as a free platform to share recorded presentations:
    • If you do not have one, create a Youtube account. You can also synchronize Youtube with an existing Google account.
    • To upload a video: 
      • In the upper right hand corner of your computer screen, you will see a series of icons. 
      • Click on the icon that looks like a video camera with a plus sign in the middle.
      • Select the option “Upload video.”
      • Click “Select File,” then browse to where you have saved the pre-recorded presentation file you are uploading. 
      • On the next screen, title the video (e.g. last name of presenter and presentation title). Add a description (name of presenter, presentation title, session title, LERA 72nd Annual Meeting…)
      • Select a thumbnail, which viewers will see before playing the video.
      • Under Playlists: Select “New Playlist” at the bottom of the menu. Title the playlist with the name of your session. Set the your preferred privacy setting:
        • Public: Anyone can see your video.
        • Private: Only those you invite can view the video; they must have a Youtube account. You can only invite a maximum of 50 viewers for private videos.
        • Unlisted: Your video will not appear in search results or on your channel.
      • Click “Create,” then “Done.”
      • Under Audience, select “No, it’s not made for kids”. If needed, set an age restriction.
      • If desired, select “More options” to add tags, select video language, add subtitles, category, and comment visibility.
        • You can create a playlist of all uploaded YouTube videos for your session, using instructions here

Tips on Video

LERA highly recommends conducting a test-run with your session participants before your session to trouble-shoot any audio/visual problems prior to the session.

  • Webcams: an external webcam may provide the best video. 
  • If participants do not have a webcam, the best option is to have them submit a pre-recorded presentation (see above section on pre-recording), then join the meeting by phone. In this case they can answer questions, participate in discussions, and hear (but not see) the other participants
  • Be careful about your background, and warn other people around you that you are on a video call.

Tips on Audio

  • A headset or earbuds with a microphone will provide the best sound quality for everyone in the session
  • Laptop speakers and mic can create feedback, and the sound quality is mediocre.
  • Join the meeting from a quiet space - background noise can be jarring
  • If you are not speaking, mute your microphone. Session organizers can opt to mute all attendees. 

Panel Session Options

As with all of the other session types, we welcome your input and creativity in setting up and hosting your online panel sessions. ZOOM allows more than one person to speak so they can work for the multiple speakers of a panel session. Below are some ideas on how you may wish to structure your panel session, but we encourage organizers to do what works best for them:

  • Panelists could pre-record an introduction of themselves and some initial thoughts on the panel topic. Organizers could collect these recordings and play them at the start of the session so attendees get to “meet” and see the panelists. A live Q&A discussion can take place following this. 
  • Organizers/chairs could write a set of questions for each panelist (or all panelists) to respond to for the first half of the session. During that time, attendees could be asked to pose their own questions in the online session chat for the session organizer/chair to pull panel questions from for the second half of the chat.

Some specific tips for online panel sessions:

  • If the panelist pre-records their presentation, they are still encouraged to attend live to answer questions throughout their presentation in the chat.
  • Encourage panelists to mute themselves when not speaking to reduce background noise 
  • Encourage the audience to submit questions and comments through the session chat window
  • Designate a co-host for your session, this individual will be in charge of moderating chat/IM during your scheduled session, etc.
  • Let the audience know at the start of the session how and when you plan to address their questions to set expectations for session structure.


By participating as a presenter or audience member in this digital environment, you agree to be recorded. If you do not wish to be recorded, please let us know and we can accommodate that.

Your participation in LERA virtual sessions indicates consent to the following terms regarding aspects of the virtual session: 

LERA session organizers may record the presentations by video and audio. Recordings may be made available after the meeting to LERA meeting attendees and to LERA members. LERA will record speakers presentations and formal remarks, but we will explicitly NOT record or publish any questions and answers or interaction between the speakers and attendees that follows the formal presentation remarks made by speakers.

Presenters must have rights to the content in their presentation and thus give LERA copyright permission to promote the materials and/or recording to LERA websites and to LERA accounts on third-party websites (including but not limited to Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn). Presenters retain all ownership rights, including copyright, patents, trademarks, and other intellectual property of content uploaded to these sites. 

Presenters have no right of approval, no claim for compensation, and no claim (including, without limitation, claims based upon invasion of privacy, defamation, or right of publicity) arising out of or in connection with, any use, alteration, or use in any composite form. Presenters agree and acknowledge that in the event any claims of action arise with respect to their materials or any other actions related to participation in the conference, they act in sole and individual capacity and that LERA does not assume liability for presenters and audience member actions hereunder. See the LERA Code of Conduct.

ZOOM Resources

Additional Resources

The following are additional resources that have been suggested. If you have other resources you suggest adding here, please share them with us at [email protected] with a brief description. We appreciate your help.