Making the Most of Your Virtual Experience

The conference is using a series of hashtags to focus tweets around conversations amongst our virtual participants.  These conversations are a great way to get that feeling of hallway discussions virtually, and are open to registered #OLCAccelerate virtual participants as well as to those who were not able to attend, but would like to join the dialog.  We encourage you to use these hashtags in your tweets: #OLCAccelerate, #OLCVirtual

Additionally, here are several other ways that you can connect to other conference participants, both virtual and in-person: 

Preparing Your Virtual Conference Space

  • A quiet space is ideal, and headphones or earbuds help to ensure you can hear as well as possible.
  • Set yourself up with some tasty snacks and drinks before you settle in.
  • Take some time to gather a plan for the sessions you want to experience.
    • Take advantage of the Engagement Maps the Field Guide committee put together to help plan your conference experience. 
    • Bonus planning tip: gather your plan into a document that you can use to take collaborative notes with your peer network.
    • Use the OLC website to pre-plan the sessions you want to view.
  • Block off time on your calendar so that others know you are busy. Be OK with saying no to meetings or appointments during that time, just like you would if you were traveling to an onsite conference.

During Sessions

  • See if the session is using a session-specific hashtag. If not, use the conference hashtag(s) (#olcaccelerate, #olcvirtual, see more on the Virtual Experience page) to share out what you are learning!
    • This is a good way to connect with others at the conference and share the wealth of knowledge.
  • Gather links to the session resources so that you can use them when you review and reflect on the whole conference experience. You’ll be glad you did!
  • Close your door or ask others to not disturb you
  • Actually take notes. You will pay more attention if you are focusing on the content instead of multitasking on work.

Chatting and Backchannels

  • Open the chat in the presentation room to communicate with the virtual session chair and other attendees in the room: ask questions, make comments.
  • Ask questions of the presenters during the session.
  • Check out all the great activity and sharing on Twitter tor the conference; use the conference hashtag for all your Tweets.
  • Use a tool like TweetDeck that updates the Tweets in real time, as opposed to clicking the “X new tweets” notification on the Twitter search page.
  • Reply to others on the Twitter stream – be part of the conversation.
  • Tweet photos of where you are participating from, the weather where you are, or just of your coffee and slippers so that your experience becomes part of the “norm” of the conference.

Taking Notes

  • Try collaborative note-taking: tweet out the identifier for an individual session and share the URL of a shared Google Doc.
  • Post notes to your blog, if you have one. It’s not collaborative, but it is public!

After the Session Ends

  • Complete evaluations for each of the sessions you attend 
  • Check back in to see sessions that have been streamed previously.  Recordings may be accessed for 1 year post-conference.
  • The time between sessions is a good time to check out Twitter feeds and get into conversations there.
    • Follow people who have interesting perspectives on the Twitter feed.
    • Reply to comments on Twitter, in the virtual lounge, or in the session itself.
    • Follow-up with presenters of interesting sessions after the conference is over.