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New plans for Academic Conference

By Samantha Hilyer

Despite the March 17 announcement of the closure of “all on-campus and College-sponsored events for the remainder of the spring,” the decision was made to hold the annual Academic Conference, though entirely online. Projects will be accessible to students and staff via a OneDrive link on the Portal, and public access via the college website is being worked on, Dr. Peter Smyntek, co-chair of the Academic Conference Committee, said.

The date of Wednesday, April 22, at 2 p.m. has not changed. However, Smyntek explained, submissions will be added throughout the year until the last week of classes, due to the current situation delaying some of the students’ work.

Most aspects of the Academic Conference will not run on a schedule like it usually does since work, once posted, can be viewed at any time. According to Smyntek, he is hopeful to have a few scheduled events; however, these will be through Schoology conferences or through the Zoom application. As more information arrives, Smyntek said details will be posted on the Academic Conference Portal page.

"[Student’s] e-posters or videos don’t need to be perfect. I believe that [staff and students] are quite understanding that the shutdowns relating to the COVID-19 Coronavirus are making it difficult to undertake these types of projects." - Peter Smyntek

Adapting to the current circumstances, students are being asked to submit their projects by noon on April 22. Oral presentations are to be submitted by video, either directly to their departmental/program representative or by posting the video to YouTube and submitting the link.

“We hope that between cell phones and web cameras, students will have the means to record their presentations,” Smyntek said.

Online posters, or e-posters, can be submitted in different forms; however, using a PowerPoint slide that is converted into a PDF file is the method that Smyntek recommends because it will allow viewers to magnify and scroll through the posters with more ease. However, if the e-poster can be accessed through an online link, such as e-posters made through Prezi, the Academic Conference Committee should be able to include the e-posters in the conference.

Last year, crowds of students, presenters, and faculty enjoyed the 2019 Academic Conference. This year, all presentations will be virtual. (Source: SVC Flickr)

Once students have submitted their work, the presentation materials will be uploaded to a shared OneDrive folder as a series of links with the presenters’ names, presentation titles, and possibly, abstracts of their work, Smyntek said. The OneDrive folder will then be made accessible to students and staff on the Academic Conference Portal page through the following link: However, Smyntek said that the Academic Conference Committee is working with the Saint Vincent Marketing team to create a public version on the Saint Vincent website.

Given the new online format of videos and posters, Smyntek said he advises students to contact their departmental/program representative or their course instructor with any difficulties or problems. If need be, the representatives can also get in contact with IT for additional help. The Academic Conference Committee is also willing to help, and questions can be emailed to, Smyntek said.

Despite the circumstances, Smyntek said he encourage students to view the Academic Conference “simply as an opportunity to share their work with others,” and should not add unnecessary stress on those presenting.

“[Student’s] e-posters or videos don’t need to be perfect,” Smyntek said. “I believe that [staff and students] are quite understanding that the shutdowns relating to the COVID-19 Coronavirus are making it difficult to undertake these types of projects.”


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