Fall Research Conference


#2020APPAM - Research Across the Policy Lifecycle Attendee Tips & FAQ




Research Across the Policy Lifecycle:
Formulation, Implementation, Evaluation and Back Again

November 11 - 13, 2020  | Zoom

Attendee Tips & FAQ




Below you'll find some key pieces of information on preparing for and attending the APPAM Virtual Fall Research Conference.  You can find these and other great tips for first time attendees in this carefully crafted guide, or watch the video version!

Check out our Coverage Page here. 

Pre-Event Preparation

Before any event, in-person or virtual, you want to do a bit of research so you can get a feel for the conference schedule and events.  Being prepared to attend will help you maximize your experience at any event!

Review the Online Program 

This year's online program is more advanced than ever.  Because you'll be using the program to access all sessions during the conference dates (more on that below), you'll want to make sure you're familiar with the program format.  The program allows you to search for specific individuals or keywords as well as browse by session type, policy area, and day.  Take some time to browse through all of the conference sessions so you know which ones you want to attend when the date rolls around.

Build a Schedule

To make things easier, the online program allows you to build your own schedule.  You can create an account in the online program and add specific sessions to your schedule by clicking the star icon next to the session title. The program is not connected to the submission or conference registration system so please create a new account if you haven't made one specifically for the program.  On the day of the conference, just click the calendar icon at the top of the online program page and your list of preferred sessions will be waiting for you.

Update Zoom

While not necessary, it's always best to use the most up to date version of any software.  You cna check to see if your Zoom app is up to date by clicking on the account icon, then selecting 'Check for Updates.


Session Access

Perhaps one of the most important things to know about a virtual conference is how to access the sessions.  We've made this simple both for presenters and attendees.

Step One: Find Your Session in the Online Program

Whether you have already created your conference schedule or you do it in the moment, you'll use the online program to access all conference sessions.  A few minutes prior to the start of each session, a blue 'Join Now' button will appear next to the session title in the online program.  Click that button for whichever session you'd like to join.  

Step Two: Enter Your Password

Upon clicking a 'Join Now' button, you'll be prompted to enter a password.  A few days before the first conference session, you'll receive an email that contains your personalized password for the conference.  Enter that password whenever prompted for a session and you'll be entered into the meeting room. Your personalized password is the same for all sessions regardless of whether you're presenting or just hosting.


In-Session Tips

For many, this may be your first virtual conference.  Here are some tips to help ensure your experience goes well.

Mute Yourself

All attendees will be muted upon entry to the meeting room.  Unless you are actively speaking to the group, please mute your microphone to avoid any noise interference during the session. 

Turn on Your Camera

To best mimic an in-person event, it's best for all attendees, speaking or not, to turn on their cameras during the event.  It's nice for speakers and attendees to see who else is in the room.  Worried about your appearance or background?  Zoom has features to touch up your appearance and apply a virtual background so others won't be looking at what's behind you.

Update Your Display Name

Before entering a session room, make sure your Zoom display name shows your full name.  This will be the equivalent of your in-person conference name badge.  It's the best way for others in the room to know who you are.

Ask Questions

To keep sessions lively, we've included ample time for audience interaction.  We encourage all audience members to ask questions of the speakers and paper authors.  When you're ready to ask a question, use the 'Raise Your Hand' Zoom feature and the session chair/moderator will call on you.  When called upon, unmute yourself and ask your question.  You can raise your hand by tapping on the 'More' button from the Meeting Controls at the bottom right corner of the Zoom screen, then select the 'Raise Hand' option from the pop up menu. 

Be Respectful

As with participating in all events, it's important to treat all speakers and attendees with respect.  Please take a minute to review APPAM's Code of Conduct.  



Virtual Conference FAQ Questions

Questions & Answers

Q: What days will the conference take place?


The conference will be Wednesday, November 11 - Friday, November 13.  This is the same week as the previously schedule in-person conference, but the dates were shifted to avoid the weekend.

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Q: What platform will be used for the virtual conference?


All conference sessions and events will be hosted on Zoom.  Concurrent sessions will use the 'meeting' format so that all audience members can use video and audio.  Plenaries will use a 'webinar' format where audience members' cameras and microphones are disabled.

The conference will also utilize a Slack platform for 24/7 networking throughout the event.

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Q: When will registration open for the conference?


Registration will open the second week of August.

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Q: I'm a submitter but I don't want to present virtually. What should I do?


All submitters should receive an email on July 22 allowing them to withdraw their proposal if they do not wish to participate in a virtual conference.  They will have until July 29th to withdraw their work.  If you submitted a proposal but did not receive this email, please contact Samantha Oliver Thomason, soliver@appam.org.  

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Q: When will acceptance notifications be sent?


APPAM will send acceptance and rejections during the second week of August.  

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Q: How much will registration cost?


Registration rates have been significantly discounted for the virtual conference, as shown below.   Additionally, we will have a day-pass option available for all professionals.  Students may only register for the full conference.  

Full access to session recordings will only be given to attendees with full registrations.  Day-pass attendees will not have access to recordings.

Attendee Type

Full Registration

One-Day Pass (limit one)

APPAM Member



Retired Member



Student Member






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Q: Will the sessions look different?


The conference's concurrent sessions will look different than our typical conference sessions.  The virtual sessions will be 55-minutes in length and will run every hour starting at 11:00 each day of the event.

These condensed sessions will feature short paper presentations followed by ample time for discussant feedback and audience Q&A.  In a survey related to the conference and its format, we found that most respondents preferred these shorter sessions as they're easier to follow and stay engaged.  All paper presenters will also have the opportunity to record and upload a full-length video of their presentation to the publicly available Online Porgram. 

Poster sessions will also be different.  Poster presenters will be asked to upload slides or a PDF (and optionally but encouraged video recordings) of their presentation prior to the conference.  During the conference there will be two live Q&A sessions with poster presenters where audience members are encourage to ask questions and provide feedback to the presenters.

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Q: What does a 55-minute session entail?


The 55-minute sessions should largely focus around discussant feedback and audience interaction.  Paper presenters will be limited to 3 slides and 5 minutes of presentation but will also have an option to upload a full-length video of their presentation to the online program.

Sessions must follow the timing example below:

Panel Roundtable
  • 11:00 - 11:05 - Chair introduces the participants and the session topic
  • 11:05 - 11:10 -  First presenter presents their paper
  • 11:10 - 11:15 - Second presenter presents their paper
  • 11:15 - 11:20 - Third presenter presents their paper
  • 11:20 - 11:25 - Fourth presenter presents their paper
  • 11:25 - 11:40 - Discussant(s) presents their comments
  • 11:40 - 11:55 - Audience Discussion


Sessions with three papers should allow each 7 minutes for each paper presentation.

  • 11:00 - 11:05 - Chair/Moderator introduces the participants and the session topic
  • 11:05 - 11:10 -  First speaker presents
  • 11:10 - 11:15 - Second speaker presents
  • 11:15 - 11:20 - Third speaker presents
  • 11:20 - 11:25 - Fourth speaker presents
  • 11:25 - 11:40 - Moderator presents their comments
  • 11:40 - 11:55 - Audience Discussion



Sessions with less than four speakers can adjust timing so that the speaker contributions are delivered within 20 minutes.

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Q: How will networking work at at a virtual conference?


Recognizing that a virtual conference cannot replicate the networking and hallway chatter opportunities that come with an in-person event, APPAM has taken several steps to maximize networking in a virtual setting.

There will be two plenaries during the conference with organized Q&A afterwards to help facilitate discussion and make new connections with peers.

There will be Policy Area Receptions on Thursday evening of the conference.  These 15 receptions will be organized by the policy areas for the conference and will include breakout rooms so attendees within the same areas can discuss the topics at the forefront of their field.

Finally, we'll have a Slack-based platform available leading up to and during the conference to allow for 24/7 networking.  Attendees will be able to participate in more general discussions but also narrow participation by policy area/interest or direct message other attendees for closer conversations. A link to join this platform will be sent to registrants prior to the conference.

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Q: How do I access online sessions?


All session Zoom links will be located in the Online Program.  A few minutes before the scheduled start time, a 'Join Now' button will appear next to the session title in the program.  Clicking that button will prompt you for a password that will be sent to all registrants a few days prior to the conference.

Speakers and attendees will follow this same process for joining sessions.

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Q: How will sponsorship opportunities be impacted?


Sponsorhip opportunities will now be limited to digital options.  Organizations that have already purchased packages, sponsored items, advertising, or exhibits will be contacted in late July with refunds and remaining opporunities.

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Q: Will sessions be recorded?


Yes, all online sessions will be recorded and made available to attendees registered for the full conference after the event.

Day pass registrants will not have access to recorded sessions.

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Q: Will the audience be able to interact with presenters?


All concurrent sessions will be hosted in a 'meeting' format meaning that the audience's video and audio will be open.  The sessions will have a good amount of Q&A time and audience members are encouraged to be highly active.

If you aren't able to pose your question during the live session, the newly designed online program will have a Q&A feature that will send your questions directly to the presenters.  Their responses will be posted in the online program as well.

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Q: Where can i find information about the pre-conference sessions?


We will not have the traditional pre-conference sessions leading up to this year's conference.  Instead, we're working to schedule various networking or special events that normally take place during the conference on this pre-conference day.  more information will be released soon!

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Q: Where can I find the links to join sessions?


You can access all Zoom Meetings using the links in the Online Program.  Ten minutes before each session's designated start time, a 'Join Now' button will appear below the title of the session in the program.  You will be placed in a waiting room until the host allows the audience into the room at the beginning of the session.

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Q: Will I be able to share my audio as an attendee?


You will automatically be muted upon entry to the meeting room.  We ask that you remain on mute unless you are asking a question during the session's Q&A time.  

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Q: Do I have to use my camera?


All speakers will be required to use their camera but it is optional for attendees.  We do highly encourage attendees to use their cameras though as it best replicates an in-person event.

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Q: How can I ask presenters questions?


If you have a question that you’d like to ask before or after the session, please submit it through the Q&A function in the Online Program. Conference panelists will monitor the Online Program Q&A from November 4 – November 18. You must create an Online Program account in order to participate in the Online Program Q&A. Questions posted in the Online Program Q&A before the session will not be asked during the live session.

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Q: What is the password for the sessions?


You will receive an email a few days before the conference with a personalized password. This password will be the same throughout the conference and regardless of your role in a session. 

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