The 2021 Conference of the System Dynamics Society

Session Chair

The role of the session chair is to facilitate the delivery of the presentations by the presenters. Typical responsibilities involve introducing the presenters and preparing questions to stimulate an interesting discussion. The specifics of the job of session chair are dependent upon the type of session. Please find further suggestions in this short but informative article on chairing a session here. There are also additional guidelines if you have been asked to serve as an .

Guidelines for chairing a Parallel/Plenary session

The expectation is that presenters will be present for these session. However, time zones may make his impractical for some people. If a presenter is not present and has submitted a video recording you will be responsible for playing the video recording during the time slot when the presenter would have spoken. If no video is available use your discretion and continue discussion during the allotted time slot or move on to another presenter.

Before the conference:

  1. Attend any of the scheduled training sessions to experience how the presentation format will work.
  2. Confirm your computer, microphone, webcam, headphones and internet connection are capable of working with Zoom. Click here and follow the instructions to test.
  3. Introduce yourself to the presenters scheduled for your session beforehand (by email if possible and again at the conference).
  4. Read each of the papers in your session in advance.
  5. Prepare a few questions about each paper to encourage meaningful discussion.
  6. Read the following article to learn how to make the best impression in a video conference.

Before the session is scheduled to start:

  1. Arrive at the session 15 minutes before the session starts to participate in checks of audio, video and screensharing.
  2. Make sure that you (and the presenters) have been made a meeting co-host by the Technical Organizer.
  3. Ask the presenters how they would like to be introduced.
  4. Remind the presenters of the time requirements and work with the Technical Organizer to ensure everyone understands how the session will flow, and how presenters will be notified of presentation time left.
  5. If you are comfortable with the Zoom chat (Parallel sessions) or the Zoom Q&A feature (Plenary sessions) inform the Technical Organizer that you will be moderating the Q&A section of the session yourself. If not, let the Technical Organizer know that it is their responsibility to call on attendees directly.

During the session:

  1. As each presenter in your session begins to present their slides, introduce the presenters by name, and state the titles of their presentations using the title slide in the presentation.

  2. Keep each speaker to 15 minutes of presentation (20 plenary), followed by up to 5 minutes of discussion (10 plenary). After this is done, motion to the technical organizer to change to the next presenter, and introduce the next speaker.

  3. Notify presenters of time left via subtle voice interruption at 5 minutes, 3 minutes and 1 minute.
  4. Be prepared to keep discussion going if the audience does not bring forward comments.

  5. Make sure to thank all of the presenters.

Guidelines for chairing a Work in Progress Session

The purpose of Work in Progress sessions is to foster communication among the presenter and audience and to just let people know what other people are working on. Preparation is key, and the success of the session is dependent on your work bringing the material together.

First and foremost, the presentations will all be made from a single file and you will be in charge of changing the slides. The presenters will be given 5 minutes to talk about their work, and there will not be any set up or changeover time. After each presentation there will be 5 minutes allotted for questions and answers. If a presenter is not present and has submitted a video recording you will be responsible for playing the video recording during the time slot when the presenter would have spoken. Time permitting after all presenters have presented the floor will be opened up for further discussion.

Before the conference:

  1. Attend any of the scheduled training sessions to experience how the presentation format will work.
  2. Confirm your computer, microphone, webcam, headphones, and internet connection are capable of working with Zoom. Click here and follow the instructions to test.
  3. Collect the slides – a cover slide with title and author information plus three content slides from each presenter. These are available as part of the online conference program. The slides should follow the template provided to authors. If the slides do not conform to the template you should ask the presenter to correct them. If there are more than the specified three content slides only use the first three. If the title slide is missing add it. Hopefully neither of these will be necessary.
  4. Collate the slides into a single presentation. This should have a title slide for the session title with your name on it. If you have problems collating because of format contact the Office for help.
  5. If the presenter has not provided slides, please create one title slide according to the template and include it in the session slide presentation.
  6. Read each of the submissions in your session. These may be papers or extended abstracts.
  7. Prepare discussion points for each work and additional context setting points that will be helpful to the authors and for general discussion of the areas of work. You can deliver some of this from slides, but the intents is to spark and foster discussion, not present material.

Before the session starts:

  1. Arrive at the session at least 15 minutes before the session starts to participate in checks of audio, video and screensharing
  2. Ask the presenters how they would like to be introduced.
  3. Remind the presenters of the time requirements and work with the Technical Organizer to ensure everyone understands how the session will flow, and how presenter changes will happen.
  4. If you are comfortable with the Zoom chat feature inform the Technical Organizer that you will be moderating the Q&A section of the session yourself. If not, let the Technical Organizer know that it is their responsibility to call on attendees directly.

During the session:

  1. As each presenter in your session is made the presenter to present their slides, introduce the presenters by name, and state the titles of their presentations using the title slide in the presentation.
  2. Keep each speaker to 5 minutes of presentation. After this is done open the floor to questions for no more then 5 minutes. Then motion to the technical organizer to change to the next presenter and introduce the next speaker.
  3. Notify presenters of time left via subtle voice interruption at 2 minutes and 1 minute remaining.
  4. Be prepared to keep discussion going if the audience does not bring forward comments.
  5. Make sure to thank all of the presenters.