General Questions

Where can I find the schedule and when do I present?

You will have the opportunity to pick your presentation time and the full schedule will be available here on the SRS website on March 31. Your poster or presentation slides should be uploaded to Symposium by 8 a.m. MST on April 12, and will be visible to all attendees and the public for the full event. You’re expected to be present and actively engaged for the duration of your scheduled presentation time.

How do I submit materials for the event?

This year’s Student Research Symposium will be hosted on the website Symposium. We will have a link for you to fill out your presentation information and upload any relevant materials that will be shared by email closer to the submission deadline. If you registered for SRS and have not been receiving the event emails we have sent, please contact us at ur@usu.edu.

A friend/mentor/family member wants to see me present, how can they do this?

Anyone can view poster presentations. Simply share the event link and they will be able to access your presentation and browse others. If your guest has an aggiemail.usu.edu or usu.edu email account, they will also be able to sign up for a free account to comment on presentations.
Oral presentations can be shared with your session’s Zoom link. No accounts are required for Zoom or for Symposium in order for guests to access live sessions.

Who will be giving me feedback?

Our evaluators will be drawn from USU faculty and PhD student volunteers. They’ll be using our SRS rubric to give you scores and written feedback on all aspects of your work, including any Q&A exchanges you have with them via the Comments section of your poster or in the Zoom sessions live. 
Your evaluators will be experts in their fields, but may not align in your exact research area. Make sure your presentation is geared towards a more general audience in your discipline category to get the most out of your assessment interactions and feedback. A break-down of our discipline categories is on the SRS register page.

Can I reuse a presentation from last semester?

We welcome reused research or creative presentations. If you have already presented this work in another forum, consider updating your visual aids in order to suit the Symposium platform—think about things like font size or image quality when your audience is seeing your work through a computer or mobile screen. Likewise, SRS is a great way to practice and receive feedback for a future presentation on this work!

Is there a dress code I should follow for my presentation video?

The standard for most academic conferences is to dress business casual or business formal. Given the circumstances, we’d advise you to go with what you’re comfortable with in this range. We have some additional advice on colors and patterns in our “Presenting from Home” quick guide.

Oral Presentations

How will I be giving my presentation?

You will be giving your presentation on Zoom. Similar to an oral presentation at an in-person event, you will be in a session with other presenters and will take turns sharing your research. Out of respect to your fellow presenters, plan to be present and alert in the Zoom meeting for the duration of the hour-long session.

What are the guidelines for my presentation?

Your individual presentation will be eight minutes, with an additional two minutes for the audience to ask questions. You will screen-share your prepared slides (if you have them) when the moderator indicates it is your turn, and you are expected to have your video on while you are presenting. To help you frame your video, follow these tips for presenting from home.

Are there guides or templates to help me design my slides?

Yes, we’ve set up an oral presentation guide that includes tips and instructions, as well as a template.

Do I need to submit any materials for my presentation?

Yes, you will need to submit your slides in advance, as well as some descriptive information about your research. This will give the evaluators time to provide feedback on the design elements of your presentation, let event attendees know what to expect from your research, and prevent any technical difficulties the day of the event.

What will my presentation schedule look like?

You will be giving your eight-minute presentation in a one-hour session with up to four other presenters. At the beginning of your session, the moderator will confirm what order you and the other researchers will present in. While you’re not required to stick around for the rest of the symposium, we encourage you to explore the research of your peers! 

Can I choose what time I present?

There will be multiple sessions each hour during the two day event, and you will have the opportunity to choose which of those sessions you prefer for your presentation. Be aware, though, because of time constraints there will be limited slots in each of those sessions and they will be first-come, first-served. You will be notified via email when those presentation slots are available to be claimed.

I didn’t get a zoom link, who should I contact?

Zoom links will not be available until April 12. If you don’t receive your link at that time, please email UR@usu.edu to ensure your presentation is scheduled and to receive your link.

Poster Presentations

Why does my poster presentation require a video?

A short video that accompanies your poster allows you to give the viewer more background and context for your research, which will help them to understand your poster more easily. Essentially, it allows you to address an introductory “Tell me about your research” question, which is then built upon by more detailed questions through the text chat system. This video takes the place of the conversation you would have with passerby at an in-person conference.

What’s the best way to film my poster presentation video?

Your introductory video should be less than 3 minutes, and in large part should serve the role of an abstract. Feel free to use your computer camera or your phone to record your presentation—what’s more important is how you set up your recording space. To help you frame your video, follow these tips for presenting from home.

Are there templates or guidelines for designing my poster?

Yes, there are numerous resources available to you as you begin to build your poster. Here is a poster template we provide.

THE BETTER POSTER DEBATE
There is a growing conversation surrounding the academic poster format and its use. Critics point out that the tradition of using small fonts and large textblocks to include as much information from your project or research article on a single poster as possible creates a ‘visual aid’ that is both visually displeasing and not helpful to your audience; supporters point out that research is complex and that distilling your project to a single sentence and some bullet points is oversimplification at best and misleading at worst.

If you want to learn more about the new poster designs proposed, watch this video!
(Warning: The video, created by graduate student Mike Morrison of Michigan State University, contains some mild expletives. If you prefer to read, this quick summary of the video has clean language)

BUILDING YOUR POSTER
Our templates are an improvement over the tightly-packed posters you might see at a professional conference but more detailed than some of the proposed ‘better posters’. Regardless of the poster template or design you decide to use, here are some helpful tips to make the most of your visual aid:

APPLICATIONS
Most academics lack the experience needed to efficiently build a good poster design from the ground up through a creative software application. Unless you have sufficient experience in using such software, we recommend that you design your work in Microsoft PowerPoint. This allows you to build your poster in a high resolution that will print well on a full-sized poster while giving you flexibility to move the elements of your work around as you decide how you want the poster to flow.
Make sure you set your slides to match your poster dimensions.

  • Open PowerPoint
  • Choose ‘New Presentation’ and select the layout you plan to use
  • Click File > Page SetupChange the ‘slides fixed for’ to ‘custom’ and set 48 width x 36 height, traditional poster sizing
    • Confirm landscape orientation
  • Click ‘Okay’ to save changes

ELEMENTS OF YOUR POSTER
The purpose of your poster may vary by event: for example, in some conferences your poster will be left up for people to review at their leisure outside of the assigned poster session time, in which case you would want it to serve as a stand-alone summary of your project.
This means that you can use it as a way to emphasize what you say to your audience, to guide the reader towards certain questions or talking points, or even to help you remember what you plan to say. Your poster should help you by reflecting the flow of your verbal presentation.
Most poster designs break the project down into modular boxes, with some space for visual aids such as charts, graphs, or pictures interspersed with text boxes. As you consider what template or layout will serve you best, think about what modules would fit your project. Some common modules/poster sections include:

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Background
  • Objectives
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Conclusions
  • Significance
  • Next Steps
  • Acknowledgments

Select the modules that make the most sense for your project and are most important–not all will fit. Then, arrange them in a way that follows the reader’s natural tendency to start at top left, so that they’ll be following along in the order of your verbal presentation.

VISUAL AIDS
Your poster is now ready to populate! As you fill in your poster template, keep in mind that the entirety of your poster is to serve as a prop to the conversations you’ll have. So, it should illustrate your main points.
The most effective way to use this prop is to ensure that it does not rely on text–you will verbally fill the audience in rather than have them read it, so you should include charts, graphs, images, and other visually-useful components that you’ll be able to naturally refer to during your presentation. This will also make your poster visually interesting and draw in a larger audience.

  • Pay attention to the resolution of your components, avoiding a blown-out photograph or pixellated chart in your printed poster
  • Ensure that your visuals adhere to the color scheme of your overall poster and avoid bright, neon, or primary colors that will overwhelm the poster
  • Photographs should:
    • Be relevant to the project
    • Illustrate a key step in your methodology, result or other section you use them in
    • Include only participants that give you permission to use the image
  • Charts/graphs should:
    • Fit the data type (pie charts for percentages out of 100, bar charts to compare mutiple variables, line chart for data over time, etc.)
    • Be 2-D: 3-D pie charts, for example, distort the proportions of data and can mislead the audience
    • Be consistent in scale, color key (if purple represents the College of Science in one bar graph, it should represent the same college in any other graph), and unit of measurement
    • Be clearly titled, with all axes or data points labeled
    • Have solid backgrounds in keeping with your design

As a researcher, it is your responsibility to ensure that your poster ethically and accurately represent your work. Taking care with your visual aids is especially important, as poorly-executed graphs or charts can easily lead your audience to inaccurate assumptions about your results.

What format should my video be in?

To work with the Symposium website we’re using to host our event, your video should be uploaded to YouTube. If you’re unsure how to upload a video, YouTube has a step-by-step uploading help guide. If you do not want your content to be public on YouTube, you can set your video to be ‘unlisted’ following these instructions.
The best format for YouTube uploads is MP4. However, YouTube also supports MOV, MPEG4, AVI, WMV, MPEG PS, FLV, 3GPP and WebM. 

What will my presentation schedule look like?

You are expected to be actively monitoring the comment section and engaging in conversation as evaluators and attendees stop by your presentation during your scheduled presentation time. Outside your presentation time, we encourage you to explore the research being presented by your peers and ask questions of your own!