Jordin Hartley, a Writing Advisor at Salt Lake Community College Student Writing Center put together the following FAQ aimed particularly at first-time conference attendees.
NCPTW 2015 FAQS
What happens at a conference?
There are many exciting events that will occur at NCPTW 2015 including, but not limited to: Formal sessions, various types of breakouts, social gatherings (luncheon, meet/ greets, etc.), award ceremonies, planning committees, networking (meeting, talking, meals) and keynote speakers (during which there are no other sessions going on).
Where do I go? How do I choose what sessions to attend?
Attendees choose which sessions they wish to attend. A program will be issued that explains the breakouts/sessions (often there are several related themes on a block). Read the program in its entirety and note the sessions that spark your interest. In one block there may be multiple sessions about a similar topic. Ways by which you might choose which breakouts to attend include interest in subject matter, supporting specific individuals (often from own institution), or because the presenter may be someone you know/respect, regardless of their presentation’s subject matter. You may even want to attend sessions whose subject matter lies outside the topics you are accustomed to. Take useful notes on each session you attend and jot down any questions you may have. Please be sure to ask any questions you may have, as your questions may be more important than you think. If you absolutely must leave a session early, be sure to do so in an inconspicuous, as not to disrupt those around you. Do the same if you arrive late to a session. Do not hesitate to introduce yourself to a scholar whose work you admire and of course, be sure to network as much as possible, and refrain from socializing exclusively with scholars from your own institution.
What types of sessions are usually presented?
The most typical of presentations are individual & panel presentations, round tables, poster presentations, and workshops. Each type of session differs in its overall design. Round tables, for example, are meant to create conversations among the attendees. Other types presentations involve more lecture or formal presentation. Workshops allow attendees to develop something tangible they can take away from the conference right in the session.
What do sessions consist of?
Sessions consist largely of publication of primary research, theoretical presentations, best practices (what works for us and why it may be valuable to others), and topical presentations.
How are sessions carried out?
Sessions typically begin with an introduction of presentations and speakers by the session chair (or moderator). Time should be reserved for questions at end of each block. Also, keep in mind that breakout sessions may or may not involve participatory exercises, which are common in workshops.
How long is the conference?
NCPTW 2015 will last 3 days.
How long are the sessions?
Most sessions will usually last 60 minutes.
What is the purpose of a conference?
The purposes of a conference are to encourage scholarly inquiry, provide a venue for publication of research, build communities, elect memberships/leaderships, gain recognition in a given field, acts as a form of training for presenting in a scholarly community, and even to help promote the progression of a community or discipline. (In what direction are we moving as a field?)
How many people will be there?
There are approximately 500 people registered for the conference.
How many expected in each breakout room (session)?
The size of rooms varies, but most hold 30-60 people.
Does everyone stay the whole time? Where do people stay the nights?
Presenters are encouraged take part in the entire conference, and stay to participate in some part of it other than their own presentation. Conferences offer different types of registration (full week, weekend); most people stay in the hotel that is hosting the conference or one that is associated with it, which in our case will be the Little America. Host hotels often give rooming discounts to attendees.
What should I do after the conference?
Always debrief the presentations with your fellow scholars. There may have been material that you missed, which colleagues can fill you in on; you can also fill each other in on sessions that you (or they) may have missed. Take the time to reflect on what you have learned throughout the conference, and remember to share these things with fellow scholars. Also, be sure to find means of staying in contact with those whom you’ve networked with during the conference. There are many opportunities to be opened up through meeting new people in your field.