Connector Articles

Getting the Most out of the CCIH Virtual Conference

May 28, 2020

by Guest Contributor

You want to get the most out of the CCIH virtual conference but you may be new to online learning events. Over the last eight years I have been designing educational outreach for learners to get the most out of their time online. Many of the lessons I learned from this have been helpful as so many organizations transition to virtual conferences during the COVID-19 pandemic.

How to prepare for a virtual conference:

Review the schedule ahead of time: Even though a virtual conference does not require travel, it does require preparation time. Add the link to not-to-be-missed sessions to your personal calendar along with a very loud alarm. Life gets busy and watching the recording is not the same as being online live; allowing you to engage, engage, engage (see my last point).

Arrive early: The first moments of connecting to a virtual conference can be highly stressful, to relieve this stress, go to the CCIH YouTube Channel where the sessions will be livestreamed early. Once you have connected the first time, even if you get disconnected or have to leave the call briefly, you will have confidence in your ability to reconnect.

Find your strongest network connection: Network connections vary in reliability. To limit the chance of losing connection altogether choose your most reliable location. This might mean staying at the office later than usual, or snaking an ethernet cable across the lawn from your local internet cafe. Be resourceful.

Have a backup ready: It is possible to join the conference presentations from a smartphone or a laptop. Be ready with both. It is also good practice to have the connection information written down offline. This will be valuable for those times when your connection is weak and you must call in on your nephew’s smartphone at a moment’s notice.

Invite a friend: The beauty of a virtual conference is many more people can attend at no extra cost. Being able to debrief and discuss the content of the conference with someone in your local community can be the best way to bring new opportunities to your organization.

Engage, Engage, Engage: There will be opportunities to submit questions, engage in online discussions, and provide feedback. This interaction is valuable both to the presenter and CCIH but also will increase your enjoyment of the conference. Reach out both in general ways but also to specific people.

CHALLENGE: You see that there is another attendee who you have met at previous in-person conferences. Send them a message, just to say hello, in whatever method you have: e-mail, DM, or WhatsApp.

Guest Contributor: Kelli Fleming
Kelli is the Chief Academic Officer at Future Generations University where they teach Applied Community Development and Resilience using a hybrid learning approach. Their innovative approach is designed for those in low-resource environments. Online course materials, live and recorded Zoom sessions with expert faculty and project-based learning within the student’s local community creates unique and accessible learning. Courses start August 15, 2020.

For more information or to sponsor a student contact: kelli.fleming (at) |

Photo: Sergey Zolkin/Unsplash

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