Organize a Virtual or Hybrid Conference with ConfTool Pro

Overview
ConfTool Pro can support you in organizing and conducting your conference as a virtual or hybrid event where presentations either are held as live streams or presented as pre-taped videos or slide shows with audio track.

While ConfTool does not provide services like live streaming or video conferencing tools (you can find several hints on how to run a virtual conference in the forum), you can use ConfTool Pro as a central hub for your virtual or hybrid event. The agenda of ConfTool Pro can be used to provide media resources like presentation slides including an oral presentation or short videos. The final upload function allows authors to upload up to 3 files for this purpose (see section 1). For each session and each presentation, you can furthermore link to external resources like live streams or video conferencing tools (see section 2). ConfTool Pro also provides group and personal discussion functions for authors and participants (see section 3). Moreover, ConfTool Pro can help you to manage the time differences between your online participants (see section 4). Finally, the "My Agenda" function of ConfTool Pro allows users to create their personal conference agenda from the available sessions of the official conference agenda (see section 5).

Table of Contents
1. Providing Slides and other Media Resources
2. Links to External Resources
3. Discussion Function
4. Personal Time Zone and Alternative Time Display
5. Personal Conference Agenda "My Agenda"

1. Providing Slides and other Media Resources

All authors can upload the final version of their submission by using the final upload function of ConfTool Pro. This function can also be used by the presenters to upload their presentations shortly before the conference. These uploaded files can be made available in the conference agenda. Authors of accepted contributions can upload up to 3 files using the final upload function directly to their corresponding contributions, e.g. presentation slides with audio narration and/or a short video.
You should use the final upload function only if the uploaded files are not peer reviewed anymore (for instance for camera-ready copies or presentation files). The number of file uploads and the file types for the final uploads can be defined for each submission type/conference track separately (see image 1). The maximum file size is about 200 MB (this is usually sufficient for an MP4 video file of 20 minutes length in 720p HD resolution). You can also set a special behavior of each final upload slot: files can be locked after the original upload, files can only be updated or files are completely closed. Please take a look here for more information about how to use ConfTool to upload presentations shortly before the conference.

2. Links to External Resources for Virtual Conferences

Once you have decided which communication formats and tools (like live streams, video conferencing tools or a webinar software) you want to utilize for your virtual conference, you can use the agenda of ConfTool Pro to link to these external resources for your virtual conference. You can add links to external resources to each session and to each presentation in the ConfTool agenda (see image 2). It is also possible to define who may access the external resources via the conference agenda. If you are using a mobile app like Conference4Me, you can also add links to external resources for your virtual event to each session, which will appear only in the mobile app. Please find here more detailed information about how to connect ConfTool to external resources for a virtual conference.

3. Connect your Community with the Discussion Function

In an academic setting, discussions about papers, posters, presentations and sessions can help both the presenters to get viable feedback on their research and the participants to gain a deeper understanding of the subject. The discussion boards of ConfTool Pro facilitate the communication between your authors and participants on full sessions or single presentations of the conference agenda. Participants can chat, ask questions to authors and participate in discussions online in a group setting (see image 3). As conference administrator you can act as a moderator for all message boards and, for instance, start discussions by asking initial questions. You can find further information on how to activate and use the discussion boards in this forum entry: How to use discussion boards for sessions and / or presentations.

Another important aspect of a conference is the direct communication between participants. ConfTool Pro also allows registered participants to directly contact each other in personal chats. For that purpose, please first activate the online list of participants, a community system that allows participants to give a short overview of themselves in the style of a digital visiting card. The online list of participants may include a personal discussion function (chat function) that allows all participants to communicate via personal messages. When enabled, users can post new personal messages to other registered participants in the “Official List of Participants” (see image 4).

You can also combine the discussions boards for sessions and presentations as well as the personal discussion function. If both functions are enabled, users can engage in personal chats with any member in the group discussion or can send personal replies to the authors of messages found in public discussions of sessions and presentations (see image 5). The engagement of your participants will actively shape the content of your virtual or hybrid conference.

4. Personal Time Zone and Alternative Time Display

For virtual or hybrid conferences with participants from all over the world who cannot attend on site, it may be a challenge to determine the actual time difference between their local time zone and the time zone of your conference sessions. You can make your participants aware of this difference by adding details on the official conference time zone to the conference agenda page (see image 6). Furthermore, you can give users the option to choose their personal time zone. Then the personal time zone of a user as well as the conference time zone will be shown on his/her conference agenda pages (see image 7). Please find here more detailed information on how to show information about the conference time zone in the agenda and enable a personal time zone.

If you do not want to show specific session times in the conference agenda, you can define an alternative time display for each session period according to your needs. The alternative title for the time of the selected session period will be shown in the conference agenda instead of the specific time (see image 8). Please take a look here for more information about the alternative time display for session periods.

5. Personal Conference Agenda "My Agenda"

Usually not all sessions of a conference are of the same interest to each participant. With the "My Agenda" function of ConfTool Pro your participants can select and display only the sessions that are relevant to them. It allows users to create their personal conference agenda from the available sessions of the official conference agenda (see image 9). This function also gives organizers an overview of which sessions might get the most audience, as they can easily find out how many participants have selected each session. The organizers can then choose the size of the conference rooms according to the number of participants or, in the case of an online conference, the most appropriate tool for the session. It is also possible to limit the number of participants who can add a session to their personal agenda. Please follow the link to find further information on how to allow users to create their personal agenda in ConfTool Pro.

 

If you need further information on the organization of a virtual or hybrid conference with ConfTool Pro, please do not hesitate to contact us at requests@conftool.net.