Since we'll be together for three days, let's get comfortable! Different session types carry different expectations, so we have compiled some useful information below to help the program run as smoothly as possible.


Each of the two morning sessions and the Tuesday afternoon session will be run as webinars. Zoom links will be posted to a password-protected site shared with registrants shortly before the conference begins. Zoom requires Attendees to enter their names and emails to join webinars. At webinar sessions, Attendees will be muted on entry by default and will not be able to see nor hear other attendees. During the talks, please write any questions you have for a speaker in the Q&A forum. After a talk, use Raise Hand to ask your question in person. The Session Chair will call on Raised Hands in order, and the session host will prompt you to unmute your microphone. Ask your question as you normally would. If someone else asks the same or a similar question, please Lower Hand. The Session Chair will call on as many Raised Hands as time allows. All questions in the written Q&A will be collected at the end of the session and given to the Moderator of the corresponding Panel Discussion for further exploration. The Chat function will not be used.

The afternoon concurrent Panel Discussions will be run as regular Zoom meetings. Panel Discussions are envisioned as deeper explorations of the morning themes in a more intimate and informal setting. While moderators are given free rein to design their sessions, Panel Discussions will most likely offer a blend of moderated chatting among the morning speakers, Q&A remaining from the morning session, and a live discussion with Attendees. Although all Attendees will be muted on entry, Attendees should enable their mikes and videos to prepare for discussion. Attendees will be able to see each other. The written Chat function will be enabled so that Attendees may communicate among themselves. Otherwise, please follow the Moderator’s instructions about participation.

Anyone with a Speaking Role: Session Chairs, Speakers, Moderators, Poster Presenters

Use the best possible internet connection to avoid bandwidth and stability issues. If possible, please use a natural background rather than a Zoom or virtual background. Minimize background noise and interruptions to the greatest extent possible. When you speak, try to look into the camera lens regularly and minimize the time spent looking at yourself, off into space, or at your slides. Remember to upgrade your Zoom client to the latest version—you will not be able to speak if you are missing a critical update.

Session Chairs

Both morning sessions each day and the Tuesday afternoon session will be conducted in Zoom webinar format. A Session Chair will be designated as a Panelist for the duration of the session he or she chairs. Assure that your mike and video are enabled immediately upon entry. Your video will be visible to attendees, and you will be able to speak, share your screen, call on people, etc.

Session Chairs are asked to first introduce themselves and explain the protocol to Attendees, e.g., type questions into Q&A throughout a talk, Raise Hand to ask questions when a speaker finishes. Introduce speakers by name, affiliation, and talk title. Since time remaining can’t be communicated in Zoom via hand signal, neck chop, or on a piece of paper, please interject aloud at the 5-minute to go mark (accounting for 5 minutes of Q&A at the end of each talk). Prompt speakers again when they have one minute remaining. When the speaker finishes, manage the Q&A. Raised Hands will appear in chronological order at the top of the panel on the right of your Zoom panel. Please help us stay on schedule! End questions as close as possible (promptly?) at 30 minutes for the featured speaker, 20 minutes for the other morning speakers, and 25 minutes for the Tuesday afternoon speakers. Finally, please answer aloud questions such as “can you hear me?” and tell speaker “we can’t hear you.”


A Speaker will enter a webinar session as an Attendee and will be promoted to Panelist as the prior Speaker finishes. The promotion process is a little odd, as you are removed from and brought back into the webinar over the course of 5-10 seconds. Relax. As a Panelist, you will be able to share your screen and use the annotation and spotlight (pointer) features in Zoom.

Session Chairs have been asked to remind Speakers of the time remaining at 5 minutes to go and at 30 seconds to go. Please reserve 5 minutes for Q&A at the end of your slot. The “Raise Hand” feature will be used to field questions from the audience when you are finished speaking. The Session Chair will call on Raised Hands individually, and you will not be required to monitor the feed. The session host will enable questioners’ audio in order for them to talk to you directly. Unanswered written questions remaining after time expires will be collected by the moderator for use during the Panel Discussion. After you finish speaking and answering questions, the host will change your status back to an Attendee.


Panel Discussions will be run as traditional Zoom meetings. Many of you probably manage group meetings this way and are familiar with the format. Although all Attendees will be muted on entry, we have asked Attendees to enable their video so that you will be able to see each other. The written Chat function will also be enabled for Attendees to communicate among themselves.

Poster Sessions

VCTC poster sessions, comprising over 150 posters in total, have both an asynchronous and a live component. Abstracts and links to Lightning Talks and Posters will be made available to all registrants through the password-protected site beginning a few days before the conference. Abstracts are searchable by topic, by keyword, by author, and by Outstanding designation. Registrants are encouraged to explore these materials at their leisure before the conference begins. You are sure to be impressed by their high quality!

Poster Presenters

Poster Presenters are expected to make themselves available during their designated poster sessions: surnames A-L from 2:00-4:00pm PDT on Monday and surnames M-Z from 2:00-4:00pm PDT on Wednesday.

After you decide how you would like to be contacted by Poster Session Visitors during your time slot, log onto the password-protected site and choose the Edit tab (or go to "My Account/Edit" at any time). In the Contact field, insert your preferences and the details regarding the best way for Visitors to get in touch. For example, “I will be reachable via email at before and throughout the conference. From 2-4 on Wednesday, please Skype me at +1(555)123-4567” or “join me in Zoom Room 456 123 789, PW: 123456 to discuss my exciting research.” Information from the Contact field will appear with your listing at the Posters tab. Note that you cannot edit your availability information from that location--you must return to “My Account/Edit” in order to update your contact preferences. During your assigned time slot, be sure to be where you say you are! If an emergency arises, try to update your contact information.

Poster Session Visitors

Poster Presenters will be available to discuss their Posters and Lightning Talks with you during the designated poster sessions on Monday and Wednesday afternoons. Their contact information can be found in the Contact box with their respective listings at the Posters tab on the password-protected site.