Scholar to Scholar FAQs and Tips

What is Scholar to Scholar?

Scholar to Scholar is an interactive presentation format where participants display their work using creative posters, digital slides, and other media with the goal of engaging conversation with other scholars in attendance.

How does “Scholar to Scholar” differ from “Poster Sessions”?

While many will choose to display posters, presenters are invited to use a unique presentation format that best fits the originality of their research and presentation style. These are “poster sessions” for the 21st century!

Does being designated as a Scholar to Scholar presentation mean that my paper was judged less worthy than other papers submitted?

Absolutely not! All papers had to be accepted by an NCA unit or affiliate organization before being selected for Scholar to Scholar by the planner for that affiliate/unit. Scholar to Scholar showcases some of NCA’s best-reviewed work.

Why was my work selected for Scholar to Scholar?

Planners were asked to select works that 1) had been accepted by reviewers, 2) had been identified by submitters as appropriate for the format, and 3) were judged by the planner to be more appropriately presented in an interactive format than in a standard, 15-minute oral presentation. Submitters were also asked to indicate their willingness to present in the Scholar to Scholar format upon submission.

Do I need to prepare an oral presentation?

Scholars should prepare talking points and be familiar enough with various aspects of their research to have an informal conversation with attendees. There is no need to prepare a formal presentation. Attendees will walk and browse through the presentations and will spend a few minutes at each one. The more interactive you are and the more unique your display materials, the more likely attendees will stop and learn about your research. Be spontaneous! This is an opportunity to have unique conversations about your work with a variety of communication scholars and professionals.

What is the role of Wandering Scholars?

Wandering Scholars examine displays and interact with presenters. Most important, Wandering Scholars give you feedback about your work that may be beneficial to future research or publication opportunities.

How will I draw people to my presentation?

Plan the visual elements of your presentation knowing that you’ll be attempting to draw participants from eight to 10 feet away. Presenters are asked to remember that some attendees will have visual and/or aural impairments and/or mobility restrictions. Scholar to Scholar encourages each display to incorporate both a visual and an aural component and to use large, easily readable fonts and point sizes.

What will be provided to help me present my material?

Presenters are given a 4’ tall by 8’ wide bulletin board on which they can pin or tape their presentation (presenters should bring their own pins or tape). The surface of the boards are cork material so pins do work better. While audio-visual equipment will not be available, a table for a laptop (be sure to fully charge your battery!) and wireless Internet access will be provided for presenters.

Tips on designing your presentation

  • Use language most communication scholars will understand. Avoid jargon understood only by a small audience. Be sure to provide context for your material, with clear interpretations.
  • Clearly show the sequence of your presentation. Use large numbers or letters (at least one to two inches) so your audience can easily move from one part of your paper to the next. Use arrows/graphics to point to the major parts of the presentation. Please do not simply post a copy of your paper as the display.
  • Make your presentation visually easy to follow. Use larger font sizes for section headings. Use graphs, images and figures when appropriate. Everything should be readable from four feet away. Use bold lines and color to make your graphs and images easy to read.
  • Emphasize your message. Explicitly state your message at the beginning of each section. Focus on your results rather than your methods. Use as few words as possible to get your message across.
  • Keep material visually organized. Group similar material together while separating out unrelated material. Make these groups of equal size.
  • Make text easy to read. Use large, easy-to-read fonts. Titles and major headings should be readable from eight to 10 feet away to attract attention. Use spacing to separate different parts of the text. Keep text as brief as possible.
  • Separate data from summary and conclusion. Use the summary to briefly restate your findings. Use the conclusion to briefly interpret your findings.
  • Keep it simple. Minimize the use of words. Present the large picture, not the details. Focus on the results, not the methods. Let pictures, graphs, and tables do the talking as much as possible.
  • Have a brief oral summary prepared. Be able to give a two-minute synopsis of your presentation. Engage attendees in dialogue about your work. If you go into a monologue for more than two minutes, you risk losing attention.
  • Not the artistic type? Solicit advice from your university’s graphic design unit or a talented colleague in order to enliven and enhance your presentation. Creativity and effectiveness are key, so do not be afraid to seek help if you feel your display falls short.