Session Chairs and panel moderators are crucial to the success of the conference - they draw out themes and divergent points of view, they help to create an inclusive and equitable environment by modeling the behavior expectations outlined in the iPRES 2018 Code of Conduct and they ensure that the conference sessions run to schedule.
The iPRES 2018 Organizing Committee has compiled this document to help sessions chairs and moderators prepare for their roles.
NOTE: A member of the Organizing Committee will be assigned to every session. The organizing committee member is present to assist the moderator in whatever way is most helpful.
Please review the iPRES2018 Code of Conduct for explicit expectations and processes for ensuring an inclusive and equitable conference experience for all attendees.
Session's Organizing Committee Member
There is at least one organizing committee member assigned to each session. The organizing committee member assigned to the session will contact the chair/moderator in advance of the conference to introduce themselves, and to coordinate any logistical details.
Communicate with Speakers
It is the responsibility of Session Chairs and Panel Moderators to communicate with speakers to make sure their session or panel runs smoothly.
Arrive Early, Prep the Room
Session Chairs are responsible for making sure that room is prepared for the session.
Panel Moderators are responsible for checking in with their Session Chair to ensure that the room is prepared for their panel.
Introduce the Theme and Speakers
Session Chairs and Panel Moderators are responsible for providing context to the audience. They should introduce themselves, give a brief statement about the theme of the sessions or topic of the panel, and introduce each of the speakers/presentations.
Tracking time is one of the Session Chair’s most important tasks. Timing for individual presentations is crucial to the success of the conference as a whole.
Session v Panel Moderation
Paper sessions are a series of paper presentations so the Session Chair is primarily responsible for introduction to the theme, speaker introductions, timing and moderating audience Q&A. The greatest risk of paper sessions is the reduction of presentation time for the last paper. Long papers are 30 minutes, and short papers are 15 minutes - including Q&A. It is the moderator’s responsibility to make sure that everyone presenting the same type of paper in the same session receives equal time.
An example outline of a paper session:
Audience Q&A is included in the total time allotted to each session. The Organizing Committee is not requiring a standard amount of audience Q&A, however, we expect that session chairs and speakers will determine set aside at least 5min per session (not per presentation) for audience Q&A.
All iPRES 2018 panels are discussion panels. Discussion panels foreground the common experiences or approaches of the panelists through moderated Q&A. In some cases, there may be brief contextual overviews provided by members of the panel prior to moderated Q&A, however, these overviews must be limited to information that the audience needs in order to derive understanding and meaning from the moderated discussion that follows.
When moderating a discussion panel, make sure everyone on the panel has a chance to speak. If someone’s not talking, it’s the moderator's job to draw them into the conversation. On the other hand, if someone is talking too much, it’s the moderator's job to give other panelists a chance to speak. An easy way to do that is to say something like “Thanks for that idea. What do the other panelists think?” And turn to someone else to give them a chance to speak. All panel moderators must know enough about the panel subject matter to pivot the conversation or ask follow up questions that solicit engagement from all panelists.
For Panels, Session Chairs are not responsible for speaker/panelist introductions. Panel Moderators are responsible for speaker/panelist introductions. However, Session Chairs are still asked to provide a very brief introduction to the thematic grouping that brings these sessions together.
Panel Moderators are responsible for Introductions and Overview statements for their specific panel.
An example outline of a session with a panel:
Get the conversation started quickly with well-prepared questions. Session Chairs should have 3-5 questions across presentations (in other words, 3-5 questions that address the overarching theme that each author can be asked to respond to) and at least 1 question for each individual paper.
Panel Moderators need to have a longer list of questions prepared, since moderated discussion is the panel format. Make sure that the questions follow a logical sequence that helps the audience to retain more of the information being shared. Try to have 1 or 2 questions prepared for each panelist, as a way to draw out their unique perspective and expertise. Always strive to provide a balance in your questions between featuring the individual and project work, their/its uniqueness AND drawing the parallels or common ground across all of the efforts represented by your panelists.
Facilitating Audience Q&A - General
Concluding the Session