FAQs for Speakers

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: Speakers

What hardware do I need to deliver my presentation?
What software do I need to deliver my presentation?
How long should my presentation be?
What device should I use to connect to the sessions when I am presenting?
Can I use PowerPoint or other visual aids?
Will I be able to try out the virtual system before delivering my talk?
What time should I arrive in the virtual session room prior to my presentation?
What will happen when I arrive in the virtual session room?
Will I be able to test my microphone and camera prior to beginning my talk?
How should I configure my system best when presenting?
What advice do you have for presenting virtually?
How do I make my presentation accessible to all?

What hardware or equipment do I need to deliver my presentation?

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 deliver my presentation?

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 my presentation be?

Because virtual presentation is always different to doing so in person, we recommend speakers keep their presentations shorter than usual IMC presentations.

This means that you should aim to speak for no more than 15-20 minutes, dependent on how many other speakers there are in your session.

What device should I use to connect to the sessions when I am presenting?

While the UniLeedsEvents app is accessible from all common mobile, tablet, laptop and desktop systems, we recommend that you use a desktop or laptop computer for the best experience when presenting.

Can I use PowerPoint or other visual aids?

Yes. You should have your PowerPoint or other files you wish to share ready to go prior to joining the session room.
When it is your turn to speak, use the right-hand menu and select ‘Share My Screen’. Your web browser or device may then prompt you to give permission for Blackboard Collaborate Ultra to access what is on your screen. Please allow this.

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.

You will then have the option of selecting which screen or windows you share. You can only share one window or screen at a time.

Once you are sharing your slides, your video feed will appear much smaller in the bottom right corner for your audience. Please keep your camera on when presenting to allow anyone to lip read who requires to.

After sharing your screen, but before starting your paper, it is worth asking the audience to check that everyone can see your screen using the ‘Raise Hands’ function. The moderator should then lower hands before beginning.

Will I be able to try out the virtual system before delivering my talk?

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: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/vimc-2020-testing-sessions-tickets-109825643456.

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 presentation?

We recommend arriving at least 15 minutes prior to the published start time of your presentation.

When you arrive, the moderator will assign you the role of Presenter/Moderator which gives you access to the ability to share files.

If you arrive late or experience connection issues and have to rejoin your session after the session has already started, you should use the chat function to notify the moderator to reassign your Presenter/Moderator roles.

What will happen when I arrive in the virtual session room?

When you click the link to join the session, it will open in your browser window or in the browser on your device. You will then be prompted to give permission for Blackboard Collaborate Ultra to have access to your camera and microphone. Please select ‘Allow’ or give permission otherwise you will be unable to share video or audio during the session.

On entering a room for the first time on a new device, you will be given the option to complete a short tutorial which will show you where all the key controls are. This can be accessed via the left-hand menu at any time under Blackboard Collaborate Help. Please note this is an external helpsite for the system and is not IMC specific.

When you arrive, the moderator will assign you the role of Presenter/Moderator which gives you access to the ability to share files.

If you arrive late or experience connection issues and have to rejoin your session after the session has already started, you should use the chat function to notify the moderator to reassign your Presenter/Moderator roles.

At any time, you can message the moderator by finding their namein the ‘Attendees’ list on the right-hand menu and clicking the ‘…’ menu adjacent to their name, then selecting ‘Chat privately’. This opens a new chat window which is only between yourself and the moderator.

Will I be able to test my microphone and camera prior to beginning my talk?

Yes. Each time you join a session room for the first time you will have the opportunity to check that your camera and microphone are working. This is done through Blackboard Collaborate Ultra.

You will also be prompted to enter your name prior to entering any vIMC session room. Please use your real name as it helps moderators identify speakers and also identify those asking questions during the Q&A.

How should I configure my system best when presenting?

This is very much a personal preference. The moderator will be responsible for looking after the chat module, including during the Q&A, so you do not need to worry about having this on your screen.

It can be helpful to be able to see your own paper, as well as the Blackboard Collaborate Ultra virtual room with your slides (if applicable). Therefore, if you have more than one monitor or screen, you may find it useful to arrange your display materials on one screen and open your session on the other. If you only have one monitor or screen, you may wish to arrange your windows so that you can see both simultaneously.

What advice do you have for presenting virtually?

You can read our guide for presenting at vIMC here.

How do I make my presentation accessible to all?

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, if you are interested in either captioning a session, or need captions, please contact the moderator.

If you are happy to do so, please share your slides and/or paper text in the chat prior to your presentation. This allows anyone who has difficulty following your presentation to read along.

Speakers should keep their cameras on to allow audience members to lip read. Speakers should also ensure that their faces fully appear on screen and are as large as possible to facilitate lip-reading.

Speakers should also minimise distractions in their background, and ensure their camera is angled so that they are facing the camera head-on rather than looking up or down at it.

Please ensure your face is well-lit as this also aids non-verbal communication and makes lip-reading easier.

Think about the environment where you will deliver your presentation and ensure ambient or background noise is kept to a minimum.

If you are using an external microphone, ensure this is set up correctly and positioned for optimum sound capture. If you are using the microphone built in to your device, ensure that it is clear of obstructions and is picking your voice up well using the checker before entering the vIMC session room.

To ensure your paper is accessible, if you are happy to do so, please share your paper in full with those in the session room. You can do this by dragging and dropping the relevant file onto the Chat window on the right hand side of the screen. This will share the file only with those currently in the session room. Shared files will not be recoverable following the end of the session, or visible to participants who join later, or leave and rejoin the session.

If you are unable to provide the full text of your paper, please consider producing a short summary of your key points and paste this in the Chat window prior to your paper beginning. This is helpful not only for attendees with hearing impairments but also for any delegates who experience connectivity issues during your talk.

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 would 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. These recording would be initiated by the moderator/IMC team and would be stored securely and only distributed to individuals with accessibility needs who have requested in advance. Your moderator will let all speakers and audience members know at the start of the session if recording has been requested for a particular session.

If you 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.