Computing Association Offers Virtual Meetings Best Practices Guide

The Association for Computing Machinery, working with an internal task force, has produced a guide for putting together virtual conferences, complete with a list of software options and resourcing strategies.

A lot of organizations are having to dip into the pool of virtual conferences for the first time. And as a result, they may feel a little lost about what to do.

Fortunately, a fellow association has a new tool to help. The Association for Computing Machinery recently released a guide, through its presidential task force, about best practices for setting up virtual conferences. Organized by ACM President Cherri M. Pancake, ‌Virtual Conferences: A Guide to Best Practices aims to help organizers within the ACM community and beyond it to make sense of what may be a brand-new approach to organizing meetings for them.

“This report is designed for organizers who must grapple with quickly modifying the format of upcoming conferences or planning future events without relying on traditional face-to-face meetings,” Pancake said in a news release.

The report features a mix of practical advice (for example, managing events around time zones, or managing potential points of disruption) and an in-depth guide to the many types of software that may be needed to put on a successful event. The latter, which is available as a crowdsourced Google Doc, breaks down feature sets for software based on videoconferencing, livecasting, hosting, text-based interactions, virtual reality, and archival.

The document also highlights potential resource considerations that associations must be able to account for.

“A virtual conference is something like a live TV production,” the guide states. “As such, it needs real-time audio-visual support related to the live production of the events using the platforms mentioned above.”

In her comments, Pancake noted that those who worked on the report had existing experience with virtual events of all shapes and sizes.

“They developed a practical handbook that will be useful to newcomers and provide helpful pointers to those who already have some experience with virtual conferences,” she said in the release. “It is particularly timely given the COVID–19 situation. Our hope is that the report will also encourage conference organizers to think about reducing their reliance on face-to-face meetings in the future.”

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Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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