So You're Thinking About Presenting at The NCWCA Conference?

In the past, NCWCA conference presentations, no matter what the format, have taken on an interactive and engaging structure. As new presenters, we invite you to refer to the following information while developing your proposal for the upcoming conference. Remember, NCWCA audiences enjoy a balance of theoretical discussion and practical applications, and your presentation should reflect your interest in your chosen topic, the research you have done, as well as its applications—or your vision of its applications—in a writing center atmosphere.

    General Format

    As you think about how your presentation will be formatted, here are some general questions to consider:

    • What visual aids will you use to guide and engage your audience throughout your presentation?
    • What artifacts (handouts, examples, etc.) will you employ in order to create an interactive atmosphere and give your audience something they can take with them?
    • How will you engage your audience in your topic and get them working with your ideas? Will there be any audience participation? How will you structure this?

    Types of Presentations

    On the proposal form the following types of sessions are listed. Choose the session type that works best for what you want to accomplish. Here is a brief description of each:

    • Panel organized around a theme (60 minutes total: 45-minute panel presentation; 15-minute question and answer time): This is the most traditional conference format. A small group (1-5) of presenters collaborate to present their ideas around a particular theme in writing center work. The panel is responsible for dividing the time evenly. As a group, you can either decide on a more traditional presentation-based format where you present your ideas in full to the group, or a more discussion-based format where you lead the audience in a generalized discussion around a particular topic that you and your fellow panel members have expertise in.
    • Individual Presentations (15 minutes): If you do not have a group of colleagues with similar interests, you may propose an individual presentation. You will be placed on a panel with other individual presenters, and the conference organizers will try to place your presentation with other presentations that speak to each other in some way. It is important that these presentations are concise, and also engage the audience in the topic in some way.
    • Hands-on Workshop (60 minutes): You or you and a group of colleagues may propose a workshop in which the goal is using the allotted time to have the attendees work on a short project or collaborative activity that you have devised for a writing center. While there should be a presentation discussing the background and implications of the project, the majority of the time should be focused on the activity itself. These workshops are usually fun, giving the attendees a chance to get their feet wet in different writing center activities.

    Writing the Session Proposal

      Once you have chosen the type of session for your presentation, the next step is to draft your session proposal. When drafting this brief description of your proposed presentation, there are couple things to keep in mind:
    • Describe the discussion question, method, topic, activity, etc. and how it is important to the NCWCA audience. Don’t present on “what we do” without showing how that has relevance for the larger community.
    • Link your topic to recent scholarship in the field.
    • Give a brief synopsis of what you will present. If your presentation involves research, the research method is sufficient; results would be wonderful, but often new presenters have not had time to get there.
    • Remember: When writing your “Conference Program Description” (different from the “Session Proposal”), the language should reflect that of an advertisement. The goal is to entice conference-goers to attend your session without revealing too much of the content.