Designing Digital Talks

The connection among audience members and with speakers can feel hard to create when the talk is online.  Our faculty used several techniques in Fall 2020 to build robust conversations in campus events.

In the descriptions below, the events were connected to at least one course, allowing the event organizers to build in greater student participation. If you don’t know who will show up to your event, you can still use breakout rooms and panel formats.

  • Panel event: Two speakers were given 10-15 minutes to speak to the theme.  Students in the class submitted questions in advance, which were presented by faculty and student moderators. 
  • Breakout rooms: In a 75 minute visit, the speaker presented for 30 minutes. After time for clarification questions, students went into breakout rooms for 10 minutes.  Each group came back with one question for the speaker.
  • Student preparation: Students each found multiple resources connected to the speaker (article, blog, CV, talk) and prepared questions 24 hours in advance.  The questions were sent to the speaker before the talk.
  • Student preparation: students collectively brainstormed questions and selected a classmate to serve as interviewer.