Session Chair/Presenter/Volunteer Instructions for Zoom Rooms (Main Conference, Industry Track, and SRW)

For the technical presentation sessions (main conference, industry track, SRW), where we have a pre-specified set of paper presenters, we recommend the following workflow for the Zoom live Q&A sessions. For workshops, the process is similar, except the timing of the Zoom/Gather.Town components may vary or there may not be a session.

Important: Please make sure you are registered for the conference. You will not be able to join if you are not registered. Unless you have been told that you received a waiver as a volunteer, D&I subsidy recipient, or invited speaker, please register and pay the registration fee here. If you have received a waiver, please also register (for free), by following the instructions sent with your waiver notification.

Before the session, as soon as possible: Authors, Session Chairs, and Volunteers, please login to Underline, find your oral and poster sessions, and check that the title, author, abstract, as well as poster and video are present and correct. If there are any errors, please let us know ASAP via this email:

Zoom room session timeline and structure

  1. Underline staff member, session chair, and volunteer join Zoom meeting 15 mins before the session start time. Please do not join earlier than 30 min before session start as Zoom links may be in use. (If you do join earlier by accident please do not end any session in progress). You can find the Zoom link by navigation to the session in Underline.

  2. Session chair and volunteer receive roles as host and co-host.

  3. Presenters join the meeting 10 minutes before the session starts; they receive rights as co-host as well and take turns checking their video/audio proper functioning and informing the session chair what format of presentation they will be using. Presenters can also share slides/videos for their planned brief pitches with the session chair/volunteer via email as a backup in case of technical difficulties.

  4. Session chair provides a quick summary of the plan including specifying the order of presentations and the timing. The recommended order is the order of appearance from left to right and top to bottom on the Underline session page (e.g. here). Session chair, presenter and volunteer agree on the method to signal when 30 seconds are left and when time is up.

  5. Attendees join closer to the start time or after the start time of the session. Volunteer admits them to the meeting as they come in without giving them rights to share screen.

  6. For each paper, the presenter either shares screen and talks through slides, plays a video, or talks through their poster. Then there is a Q&A for the paper.

    • Background from PC chairs blog: “For the oral pitches, we advise authors to think of these as brief summaries of each paper. The authors can use any format they prefer; they may want to use a reduced set of slides, play a part of their video, or use their poster as a prop. The idea was to have a “reminder” pitch before the Q&A for each paper. Then the poster segment of each session can be used by the folks interested in each paper for longer discussions with the authors.”

    • The volunteer keeps track of the time and signals to the author when there are 30 seconds left and again when time is over. The signaling method is agreed upon in step 4. Some ideas are raising your hand or playing a sound.

    • The session chair may interrupt the presenter if they go substantially over time.

    • The session chair leads the Q&A – they may find it useful to compile any questions previously entered in the text chat for the poster or video of the paper; they should also keep track of questions in the text chat of Zoom.

    • The session chair invites the next presenter when done.

  7. After the Zoom Q&A session, the session chair reminds everyone to join the poster session; they may find it useful to paste in a link to the location in the Zoom chat window. The session chair also explains there are maps and color-coding in each room and Gather.Town area to help navigate to posters of interest, and informs participants about the area number and room color for the posters in the session.