The following tutorial describes how to assemble conference sessions out of accepted abstracts. This is part of a series of using OpenWater for collecting proposed sessions and abstracts. Please see the previous articles:

By this point you should have opened your call for sessions and your open call for abstracts. With those two programs under way, we can focus on the configuration of Session Building. This is the most complex part of the setup as there are many options to choose from, but we will walk through each step by step.

All session building will take place in your Call for Abstracts program, not your call for sessions program.

Session Building Configuration

Turn on session capability

From your dashboard, click Manage on your Call for Abstracts program.

Under the Program Settings drop down menu, click Session Settings.

Click Enable Sessions and then choose which round you wish to have the Sessions menu appear in. For most, the Main, or first round is fine. You can change this later if it is more convenient. Click Save.

Build your session form

Go to the round you chose - in our case, we choose our first round, Main. If your program is only one round, you can skip this.


From the Sessions drop down menu, which should now appear, click Session Configuration.

Click Manage Fields to choose which fields will make up a session. In many cases, this may be similar to the information collected from the call for sessions program.

Here is a small sample Session Form.

Configure Session Types

The next tab over is Session Types. You can have a number of session types. Oral and Poster are common. The session types are generally the same as what you chose as categories in the Call for Sessions program. Workshop, Discussion Panel, Plenary, etc, etc are also common types.

Session Types can also be time constrained or not time constrained. For example, a an oral presentation within a given session would be time constrained - typically 10 minutes for each presenter. On the contrary, a Poster type session is unlikely to be time constrained since all of the posters can be displayed at the same time and for the whole duration of the session.

To add a session type, click Add Session Type.

Provide a short code for the session type, the session name, and whether or not it is time constrained. If so, enter the default session duration in minutes, as well as the default duration for each presentation within the session.

Other Time Types

After session types, you have the option to add Other Time Types. Other time types allows session organizers or administrators to break up a session, or introduce blocked time within a session for an event other than a presentation. Most common would be a Coffee Break, or Lunch.

Agenda Applications Conditions

Under Agenda Applications Conditions, you can set what appears by default as available abstracts to assemble a session from. In almost all cases, it will simply be Has Application in Round with Status Complete as shown here:

But perhaps you have a bucket of submissions that are to be handled separately and will not be assembled into traditional sessions. You can exclude those from appearing in the list by setting your conditions accordingly.

Session Chair View

If you will have session chairs assemble their own sessions, instead of administrative staff, you should configure this Session Chair View.

Choose whether or not to enable the general pool - which means session chairs can flag an abstract as available to all session chairs instead of just them if they feel that abstract is not relevant to their session or topic.

Specify any instructions to the session chairs in the Landing Page Instructions box and configure Applications Display Text by choosing Insert Variable and picking from the form what other fields will appear to the session chair during assembly.

General Pool Applications Conditions

If you chose to enable the general pool, this last tab will appear. You can specify further which applications that are placed into the general pool actually show up.

Next Steps

Great job! You went through all of the configuration settings and now you are ready to start building sessions, both as an administrator and as a session organizer. See the next article on building sessions.


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