This post contributed by Gina Bennett, College of the Rockies and SCETUG member.
If you’re not a regular conference-goer you might not even know they exist. But from the various conferences I’ve attended over the years I’ve learned that poster sessions are worth checking out even if they’re scheduled at odd times or in less-frequented corners of the conference. If done right, posters are a great way to find out about some of the lesser-known, fringey, or bleeding edge projects going on in the field.
If done right — ah, that little caveat! Lucky for ETUG, our T.E.L.L. session on April 16 was all about doing posters right. Linda Apps is a visual artist & university lecturer, interested in technology & education, & she is obviously a skilled online presenter as well. Of course she has a website: www.lindaapps.com .
So let’s say (perhaps in a moment of weakness) you volunteered to prepare a poster session for your next conference. Where do you begin??? Linda suggests that PowerPoint is an OK place to start: most likely it’s already on your computer, you know how to use it, & it’s easy to get the poster you create professionally printed.
Designing your poster is pretty straightforward. Linda suggests a simple 3- or 4-column layout with text boxes & images laid out on a grid. Use lots of images & be liberal with the white space too. Stick to 3 or maybe 4 colours for everything but the images. Linda gave us lots more useful suggestions about text size, image quality etc. but for that level of detail you’ll want to watch the recording (see link below)
I like nitty-gritty, how-to details & rules of thumb for this sort of thing but my main take-aways were the big picture recommendations. Like (& this may sound obvious): think about the purpose of your poster. It’s not supposed to be a thesis & it doesn’t have to be a work of art. First & foremost, your poster is a communication tool, intended to engage an audience in a conversation; to catch the interest of your conference colleagues & get them to stop & talk with you about your work.
We don’t often get nice pithy presentations about how to do a presentation & the conference poster is kind of a neglected conference format. I think this T.E.L.L. session qualifies for a ‘goldilocks’ award: just enough information to educate, not enough information to overwhelm. Thanks to ETUG & Linda Apps for an hour well spent.
Recording (Please note recorded session begins at approximately the 1:15 minute mark.)