Presentation Pointers

To ensure a great conference experience for you and our attendees, we want to provide support as you craft a meaningful and engaging virtual session.

At Innovate: Connect, we’ll hear a variety of perspectives on how we're staying connected as teachers, learners and a community in a continuously changing education landscape. What story will you share and how will you encourage others to engage? The tips below will help you develop your content and polish your presentation.

Mark Your Calendar

Note the key dates below to stay on track. The Innovate team will be in touch regularly with reminders, updates and deadlines.

  • March 10: Submit your presenter information, presentation title and description.
  • March 23: Register for Innovate 2022: Connect
  • April 26-28: Attend an optional zoom "office hours" to test equipment, ask questions, etc.
  • May 4: Present at Innovate!
  • May 6: After the conference, complete the conference survey.

Find Your Story

What unique perspective or new insight do you bring to your subject? Brainstorm transformative aspects of your experience that convey your message in a powerful way. 

To find your story, consider these questions:

  • Why and how did I get here? What was my motive or the problem I wanted to solve? 
  • What innovative solutions, strategies or tools am I employing?
  • How have students responded to these strategies?

To hone your story, keep in mind the following:

  • Align to the conference theme. What strategies and tools have you used to connect with your students, your peers, your community or yourself amidst the backdrop of a global pandemic and sociopolitical change?
  • Support your ideas with data, student feedback or other evidence.
  • Be yourself and use your authentic voice.

Consider Your Audience

How will you make your story relevant, meaningful and memorable to attendees? Frame your content so it has broad appeal for a diverse audience.* 

  • Spark interest – Hook attendees at the start with an attention-grabbing lead. Pose an intriguing question, present a scenario, or share a personal anecdote.
  • Provide concrete takeaways – Identify the goals at the beginning of your presentation. What do you want participants to walk away knowing or able to do in their own teaching?
  • Engage your audience – Break the traditional lecture mold! Incorporate participant responses through chat, polling or other engagement strategies. See the additional tips about our virtual conference platform below. 
    • Need ideas on how to engage your audience? The OTDI workshop catalog has video and powerpoint resources that could be helpful.
  • Need additional help planning a session? - Ohio State presenters -use this contact form to reach out to OTDI for a consultation. For non-OSU presenters, contact

*In 2021, 496 people attended the first virtual Innovate conference. Of these, nearly 28% identified their primary role as faculty or instructor. At the time of registration, approximately 97% of registrants indicated they were affiliated with a university or college, and 3% with a K12 school. While students have historically made up small percentage of our attendees, we hope to integrate student voices and perspectives in our program.

Organize Your Content

Ensure your presentation uses a clear and easy-to-follow structure.

  • Identify key ideas – You can’t share all your expertise in under an hour. Focus on key content participants need to know to achieve your goals.
  • Sequence your ideas – Craft a clear introduction. Break your content into 3-4 distinct topics or sections, with logical transitions between them. Wrap up with a thoughtful conclusion that prompts attendees to reflect or look forward.
  • Build in variety – Break up slides with time for response in the chat, a quick poll or activity, or an individual reflection question. Consider setting aside time for Q&A at the end of your session, or at a few logical points throughout.

Put It All Together

When you're ready to compile your presentation, we highly recommend downloading this presentation template (PPT) as it contains best practices for creating engaging and accessible presentations. These tips for accessible PowerPoint presentations are also a helpful resource.

  • Keep it simple – Don't overcrowd your slides with text. As they say, sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. Use hidden slides to convey your concepts using text so that your audience can use the file to understand your ideas even if they weren't able to see or hear your presentation.
  • Add media – Incorporate a variety of graphics, audio and video to add interest and convey your message in different ways. 
  • Consider all learners – Follow accessibility best practices, such as using high-contrast fonts, alt text for images, and captions for video. Instruction is included in the provided template.

Polish and Prepare

Now it’s time to think about finishing touches and get ready to present a seamless session.

  • Prep additional materials – What digital resources (handouts, web links, or extended material) will help participants implement the ideas from your session?
  • Pace yourself – Nail down your timing so you can cover all your content with a bit of wiggle room. Indicate the number of minutes for each slide or section in your notes, an outline, or slide printout. If you have co-presenters, designate someone as a timekeeper.
  • Practice, practice, practice – Your audience knows when you're presenting for the first time. Schedule a run-through with your co-presenters to work out the kinks and get comfortable. Practice using breakout rooms, zoom polls, or any other engagement strategies you plan on utlizing. 

Spread the Word

Share your ideas widely. Encourage colleagues and community to register for Innovate 2022 and join your session.

  • Post on social – If you're on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, share that you will be presenting. Use #InnovateOSU to join the conference conversation. We may retweet or feature you! Also, don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @InnovateOSU.
  • Find your marketing contact – Reach out to communications contacts in your college, department or organization so they can promote your session in upcoming emails and communications .
  • Invite your colleagues – Word of mouth is one of the best (and sometimes most trusted) ways to get information out. Tell friends who are interested in teaching, learning or technology that there's something for everyone at Innovate!