FAQs for Moderators

Click here to view a short video which guides you through how to join a session, and key controls for speakers and moderators.

Frequently Asked Questions: Moderators

What hardware do I need to moderate my session?
What software do I need to moderate my session?
How long should each speaker’s presentation be?
Will speakers be using PowerPoint and visual aids?
Will I be able to try out the virtual system before moderating my session?
What time should I arrive in the virtual session room prior to my session beginning?
How do I identify and assign roles to speakers within the virtual session room?
What is the chat function and how should it be best used?
How will I know when the virtual room is full?
How will I know if delegates are having difficulties accessing the room?
How should I welcome speakers and attendees to the session?
How do I hand over to each speaker?
How and when should I mute attendees’ microphones, turn off their cameras, or restrict use of the ‘Chat’ function?
How should I take questions from the audience?
A participant is disrupting my session. What should I do?
How should I configure my system best for moderating a virtual session?
What advice do you have for moderating virtually?
How do I ensure that all presentations in my sessions are accessible for all?

What hardware do I need to moderate my session?

Your regular device should be sufficient. All vIMC sessions and content will be hosted on the UniLeedsEvents app. A link to download this will be made available to all registered attendees prior to vIMC. The app will be available on Android and Apple mobile devices and tablets, as well as via the web browser on your PC/Mac laptop or desktop.
If you do not have one built in, you may wish to acquire a webcam so that you can be seen. This is most important for speakers.
In most cases, the microphone on your laptop will be sufficient to capture your voice for giving your paper. However, you may wish to purchase a headset or separate microphone if you have any concerns in this regard.

What software do I need to moderate my session?

All sessions are hosted via the University of Leeds teaching and meetings platform, Blackboard Collaborate Ultra.
The platform is free to access and does not require the purchase or installation of any specialist software. However, you should make sure that you are using the latest version of your web browser before vIMC begins.
The supplier recommends that Blackboard Collaborate Ultra runs best using Google Chrome (available for Windows/Android/Apple/iOS) or Safari (Apple/iOS only) web browsers, and you can download the latest versions of these using the links provided.
Fringe events which are organised by vIMC delegates may be hosted on alternative platforms such as Zoom, Google Hangouts or Skype. The platform used for each fringe event will be listed in the programme. You should contact the organiser of the fringe event at your earliest opportunity in case you have any queries about how to access their event.

How long should each speaker’s presentation be?

Speakers have been encouraged to ensure their presentations are under 15-20 minutes, dependent on the number of papers in the session.
It is the moderator’s responsibility to ensure speakers keep to time and to ensure that overrunning does not impact on other presenters in the session, or the ability of attendees to attend other sessions.

Will speakers be using PowerPoint and visual aids?

Yes. Speakers are welcome to use PowerPoint or other software to share files on their computers.
Speakers can share their screens and will be advised how to set up their displays.
It is recommended that speakers use the Screen Sharing option on the left hand menu (rather than File Sharing) as the File Sharing system can run at a considerable lag, meaning that slides do not update at the same rate for speaker and audience.

Will I be able to try out the virtual system before moderating my session?

Yes. You will have the opportunity to see and try out entering the room, using presenter controls, and sharing your screen in a test Blackboard Collaborate Ultra room (which will be set up identically to those which will be used during vIMC).
We are running four training sessions on Monday 29 June and Tuesday 30 June, with various times available. Details of how to sign up to a demo session can be found here:
Test rooms will also be available throughout vIMC.
Please note that files shared or uploaded via the test rooms cannot be pre-loaded into your session rooms for your presentation.

What time should I arrive in the virtual session room prior to my session beginning?

We recommend moderators connect to the virtual session room at least 20 minutes prior to the session beginning.
At the start of the session, you will be responsible for identifying speakers and assigning them the role of ‘Moderator’ alongside you. This is essential to allow them to share their slides and to present effectively.
In the event of you experiencing technical difficulties and being unable to reconnect, you should ensure that at least one of your speakers is confident that they can moderate (or reassign you to the role of moderator if you are able to rejoin).

How do I identify and assign roles to speakers within the virtual session room?

All attendees will join the virtual session as ‘Participants’ and will be prompted to provide their full name on arrival in the session room. Speakers should contact you using the Chat function on the left-hand menu to let you know that they are presenting in this session.
To appoint someone as a speaker, open the right-hand menu and then select the ‘Attendees’ menu. Find them in the list (or use the search at the top right) and select ‘Make Moderator’. This gives them access to the same controls as you, including the ability to share their screens and mute other users’ mics.
If you are in any doubt, you can privately message the speaker by clicking the button next to their name and selecting ‘Message’. This allows you to chat privately with that person.

What is the chat function and how should it be best used?

The Chat function can be found in the right-hand menu and allows all delegates in a session to communicate with each other.
We recommend that you use this at the start of the session to let people know that the session is about to begin and to help locate any speakers who may have not yet made themselves known to you.
During the Q&A, you can request attendees to let you know their questions for speakers via the chat if they do not have a microphone or camera or are having connection difficulties.
At any point, you can close the Chat by clicking the right-hand menu, then the ‘Settings’ cog wheel, expand Session Settings, and untick Participants can: ‘Post chat messages’. To allow the ‘Chat’ to be used again, you need to re-tick this box.

How will I know when the virtual room is full?

Unlike real IMC rooms, you cannot just count the empty chairs! Blackboard Collaborate Ultra rooms are limited to 250 attendees per room. We do not anticipate this limit being reached.
Delegates with unstable connections may find they disconnect from the session and need to rejoin. This should be done using the link from the Programme section of the app.
Delegates may also find that it is difficult to join a session when lots of people are trying to get in at the same time. If a delegate contacts you regarding this, advise them to wait a few minutes, close and reopen their browser or app session, and attempt to rejoin.

How will I know if delegates are having difficulties accessing the room?

A delegate who is having difficulties accessing the room will show in the list of Attendees in the right-hand menu with a number following their name, indicating that they have left and reconnected that many times.
Please direct delegates experiencing difficulties to the relevant section of the attendees FAQs.
Please note that owing to the scale of vIMC, as well as the international nature of the event, we will be unable to offer attendees personalised technical support.

How should I welcome speakers and attendees to the session?

After joining the session, attendees may be confused, especially if things have not got going yet. We recommend you keep your camera on, and/or regularly post welcome messages in the chat. Feel free to encourage delegates to talk amongst themselves while you are waiting to get started, either using the video chat or via the Chat function in the right-hand menu.
You may also wish to share your screen with a suitable welcome message on it.

How do I hand over to each speaker?

At the start of the session, you should ensure all speakers have been assigned the role of ‘Moderator’ alongside you in the right-hand menu. This is essential to allow them to share their screens and to deliver their presentations.
You should introduce the first speaker as you would normally, then prompt them to use the right-hand menu, select the Share Screen menu, and share their screen. We are encouraging delegates to use Share Screen rather than Share Files as the Share Files option has a substantial lag between what the speaker sees and what the audience sees.

How and when should I mute attendees’ microphones, turn off their cameras, or restrict use of the ‘Chat’ function?

This is at your discretion and can be done at any time (for example, in the event of disturbance) from the Settings cog on the right-hand menu. However, we recommend that you turn off cameras and microphones when it is time for the first speaker to begin.
This is essential to prevent background noise from the audience interfering with what the presenter is saying.
To do this, go to the right-hand menu, then the Settings cog wheel, expand Session Settings, and untick the relevant options for allowing participants to share video, audio, or chat messages (as appropriate). To allow audience members to ask questions, you must re-tick these boxes prior to the Q&A.
You can also mute all microphones using the menu button at the top of the Attendees panel on the right-hand menu.

How should I take questions from the audience?

First, in the ‘Settings’ cog on the right-hand menu, under ‘Session Settings’, ensure that participants are able to turn their microphones, cameras and post to the chat, as set out in the previous question.
Encourage attendees to say who they are and where they are calling in from before asking their question.
Some members of the audience may prefer to type their question in the Chat window. You should ensure this is open while you are chairing the Q&A and read these questions out. As with any session, the chair’s discretion is essential in this respect to ensure that the discussion remains respectful and conforms to the IMC’s Policy on Dignity and Mutual Respect.
The moderator should also be prepared to ask a question to each speaker in the event that questions are not forthcoming from the audience.

A participant is disrupting my session. What should I do?

As moderator, you have a number of tools to manage any disruption to your session. This might include behaviour or conduct which is abusive, or otherwise violates our Policy on Dignity and Mutual Respect.
Where disturbance is minor (e.g. leaving microphone on during a speaker’s paper), you should use your moderator controls to mute their microphone or turn off their camera. If there are multiple disruptions, you should use the controls in the Settings cog on the right-hand menu to disable this for all Participants until the Q&A.
You can message individual participants directly by clicking the ‘…’ menu adjacent to their name, then selecting ‘Chat privately’. This opens a new chat window which is only between yourself and the given person.
For more serious disruption, you can remove an attendee from a session by clicking the ‘…’ menu adjacent to their name, then selecting ‘Remove from Session’. If the attendee attempts to rejoin, you can evict them by repeating this step.
For all serious disruption or violation of the IMC’s policies, you should also contact imc@leeds.ac.uk as soon as possible. Our team have the ability to bar access to all further IMC sessions should the need arise.

How should I configure my system best for moderating a virtual session?

This is very much a personal preference. As moderator, you are responsible for looking after the chat module and controlling the ability of attendees to use their microphones and video cameras.
It can be useful to have details of each speaker visible so that you can introduce them, as well as an empty document or notepad to take notes.
You should also be prepared to keep an eye on conversations in the chat and to limit this if the chat remains lively during the presentations and may be interfering with the ability of the audience to follow the speaker’s paper.

What advice do you have for moderating virtually?

You can read our guide to moderating sessions at vIMC here.

How do I ensure that all presentations in my sessions are accessible for all?

Moderators should remind speakers of the relevant points below to ensure that they make best and most accessible use of the available technology. This includes: speaking face-on into the camera, ensuring they are well-lit, ensuring that they do not turn off their video feed when presenting, and ensuring they post a short summary of their paper. For more details on good practice, please see our FAQs for Speakers.

Unfortunately, Blackboard Collaborate Ultra does not have automated captioning and, as a free event, vIMC does not have the budget to provide additional live support. However, a ‘captioner’ role is available in every vIMC room, which allows a hearing person to provide live subtitles for anyone in the room who is unable to hear the speaker. While the core IMC team does not have the expertise to provide this, it may be that other members of the panel, or the audience, may be able to caption what is said.

We have asked audience members interested in providing live captions to make themselves known to the moderator at the start of the session. You can then click the ‘…’ adjacent to their name, then select ‘Make Captioner’. The delegate will receive a prompt to begin captioning and will see a box on their screen in which they can type captions. Other delegates wishing to view the captioner’s captions can do so by going to the right-hand menu, settings cog, and selecting ‘Show captions’.

We are also currently working with our Disability Services and IT teams to see if it is possible to privately record sessions and provide the captioned recordings or transcripts to delegates who require them. Owing to the scale of vIMC, recordings of particular sessions need to be requested in advance. Please let us know by email (imc@leeds.ac.uk) if you would like to request a recording of particular sessions. During your session, the IMC staff member assisting you at the start of each session will enable recording in the left-hand menu. If an audience member requests that the session be recorded for accessibility reasons, you can also enable this in the left-hand menu. Recordings are stored privately and only accessible by the core IMC team. We may need to contact you after the session if the participant who has requested the recording has not let us know that they are attending your session in advance.

If someone requests that the session be recorded for accessibility reasons, you must make all participants aware of this at the start of the session.

If you, or one of your speakers, are concerned about accessing vIMC as a deaf/hard of hearing person, or have any other accessibility needs, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the IMC team (imc@leeds.ac.uk) at your earliest convenience.