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Open a call for proposed sessions

The first phase of collecting proposed sessions and abstracts for a conference

Zack Schwartz avatar
Written by Zack Schwartz
Updated over a week ago

The following tutorial is the second article in a series that walks you through the collection of proposed sessions and abstracts through OpenWater. Before reading this article, make sure you have first read the introduction.

Putting out an open call for sessions is typically the first step in building a large conference. The purpose of an open call for sessions is to solicit topics that will ultimately make up the final product that is your conference. The individuals who submit sessions are known as Session Chairs or Session Organizers. They are the primary point of contact for the session they submit and may have responsibilities for assembling abstracts into their session at a later time.

A call for sessions is like any other program in OpenWater. Applicants login and submit by filling out a form. The proposed sessions can then be reviewed by your committee.

Add your program

Add your call for sessions program if it does not already exist and give it a name. We typically recommend naming your program something like '2018 Annual Conference - Call for Sessions'. You should see your active program listed on your dashboard.

Setup your submission form

Build your submission form by following our submission form guide

Categories / Session Types

Take a moment and think through what your categories should be. Some common session types that might make effective categories we have found across our customers are:

  • Oral presentation

  • Poster presentation

  • Workshop

  • Round table discussion

Some mix of session types along with topic areas as sub-categories. Here is an example:

Submission Form Questions

Submission forms for proposed sessions can be short or incredibly complex. We recommend keeping it short and straight forward. Ask the session organizer for some basic contact details.

For the session information, at a minimum you will ask the Session Title, the type (pulled from categories above), and some description of what the session is.

Reviewing Sessions

The review process for which sessions get selected to be a part of the conference varies from customer to customer. Some forego an official review process entirely and it is up to the administrative to simply approve or disapprove a session. Others have a more in depth process.

Evaluation Form

Setup your evaluation form through this guide. The evaluation form for sessions is typically very simple. A score of 1 to 5 is common. Even more common is a basic 'Accept / Reject', where Accept = 2 points and Reject = 1 point:

Session Selection

Once your review of the proposed sessions have been completed, you are ready to select which sessions will become part of the conference. View the scores and results and then mark the selected sessions as "winners".

Congratulations! You have completed the Call for Sessions for your conference!

You are ready to configure your Call for Abstracts. Proceed to the next article.

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