Information for Presenters

Information about Conference Presentations



Image: Setting up for talk at the 2017 SOTL Conference


Talks at this SOTL conference are ten minutes in duration, with five minutes for questions. The most standard format is a PowerPoint presentation, including research motivation/questions, methods, results, and discussion/conclusion. We welcome creative and engaging uses of the ten allotted minutes.

Space and Equipment:

Depending on assigned session, talks will take place in the Conference Center’s main ballroom or Meeting Room A. A projector will be ready for PowerPoint slides. To facilitate efficient transitions and reduce technical issues, the moderator of your session will request that you provide him or her with your slide deck by 9:00 am on November 30 (the morning of the conference). Because we can not guarantee the signal strength of Wi-Fi at the conference center, we do not recommend that you plan to access the internet during your presentation.


Presentations are ten minutes in length with five minutes afterward for audience questions. Presentations have been scheduled in hour-long sessions of four, with little time for transition. For this reason, moderators have been instructed to keep time carefully. The moderator will signal you at 8 minutes, 9 minutes, and 10 minutes to keep you on track to finish your talk.


You are not obligated to bring or prepare follow-up materials for a talk, though interested audience members often request a copy of the slides or links to related materials or papers.

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A crowd gathers at a poster during the 2017 SOTL conference.


Posters are interactive presentations that combine a large-format poster with personal interaction. A poster presenter may be requested to give participants a summary of the poster’s research and content; or walk a participant through the poster in its entirety; or answer questions and discuss areas of interest open-endedly. A poster that is clear, legible, and well-designed can greatly facilitate worthwhile and enjoyable discussion. Poster sessions are forty-five minutes, and participants may visit posters at will.

Space and Equipment:

Posters will be displayed on a 5x8’ foot board. While any size poster that will fit on the board is permissible, there are a few standard sizes that large-format printers can accommodate easily; 48”x36” is probably the most common. Thumbtacks will be available at the conference to secure posters to the board. The poster presentations have been numbered in the schedule, and boards will be labeled with corresponding numbers so that you may find your assigned board. There is a designated poster set-up time from 9:00-9:30. While you may remove your poster after your session, we hope you will leave them up so that they can be viewed during breaks and during the early evening reception when poster prizes are presented.

Information for first-time poster presenters:

We welcome first-time poster presenters to this conference. If you've never created a poster before, it may be helpful to know that most research posters are created in PowerPoint, by setting a single slide to the poster’s finished size. There are many downloadable PowerPoint poster templates available online, though you should feel free to use your own design. If you create a poster in PowerPoint, save it as a PDF before sending it to a printer to ensure that your intended formatting isn’t altered. Many departments or units have a shared large format printer that you may be able to access. You can also have a poster printed at FedEx/Kinko’s or any copy shop. While printing services have become increasingly good at accommodating rapid on-demand poster printing, please ensure that you give a printing service enough lead time to have your poster printed before the conference.


Poster presenting is highly interactive; you may have many people at your poster at once asking questions and listening, or a few people who are interested in a deep conversation, or a steady stream of people who want to absorb the main ideas of as many posters as possible. Many comfortable poster presenters simply show up prepared to react to others’ interests.

However, you may prepare thoroughly to present a poster by doing the following:

First, practice an “elevator speech” for your poster—a 1-2 minute overview of the main story and takeaways. You can use this to briefly explain your poster, or answer questions such as “What’s your work about?”

Second, practice showing a person the entire poster step by step—this may take 5-7 minutes. Many participants prefer to engage with posters as an interactive narrative, where they’re walked through the main ideas but may stop to discuss and ask questions.

Third, practice explaining any figures or data that you have. Just as many people pre-read journal articles by reading the abstract, then the figures, and then the conclusion, many people take in posters by reading the introduction, the figures and the takeaway messages. If you can explain each figure, you’ll be able to facilitate discussion about any part of your data. You may find that writing a good caption for your figures will help you to present them easily!

For more discussion about creating and presenting posters, please register for our SOTL Poster Workshop on October 10th.

This year’s posters are eligible for SOTL Conference Poster Awards, which will be judged and presented on the day of the conference. Please plan to leave your poster up until the end of the day, so that people may have a second chance to view it during the closing reception. 

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Participants working together at a resource table at the 2018 SOTL Conference.

Resource Tables

Resource tables are interactive presentations of tools, resources, techniques and methods. They take place at round tables within the ballroom. During an hour-long table session, moderators encourage people to visit new tables every fifteen minutes; however, this is not required, and people often arrive, join in to an existing discussion, and move to other tables at will.

Space and Equipment:

The conference will assign round tables to participants on the day of the conference, and label them with printed placards on stanchions. No screens will be provided, but electrical access will be available if your group wishes to bring laptops and monitors. The ballroom is a large open space, and multiple discussions and tables will occur simultaneously in the space.


Resource tables can vary significantly according to presenter style, content, and the questions of visiting participants. During previous SOTL conferences, there have been at least two easily identifiable formats:

Informal Q&A style: participants talked with the presenters about the table’s materials, asked questions, and held unstructured conversations.

Present-and-discuss style: The presenter prepared a very brief presentation (perhaps only a 2-5 introduction or demonstration), and then answered questions or assisted people in trying out techniques.

Resource tables are highly dependent on conference-day discussions, and the most necessary preparation is to bring good materials and be ready to have good conversations!A very thorough way of preparing, however, would be to do the following: 1) Prepare a short elevator speech, 1-2 minutes, about what the table is about. 2) Prepare a brief set of talking points, up to five minutes, if people arrive at the table wanting to learn passively before jumping in. 3) Consider an activity that folks at the table might do, if it's relevant to your subject; a demonstration; or other means of engaging participants with your resources and topic.


Resource tables provide an excellent opportunity to share printed materials—outreach, instructions, tip and technique sheets, and forms for future action are all good things to consider displaying. Tables have also displayed tools, visual aids, and books. Several tables have brought laptops and monitors to facilitate real-time demonstrations and explorations.

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