Moderator Handbook    Moderator Instructions    Moderator Handbook Appendix

Moderator Handbook 

This document is prepared at the direction of the Professional Interest Council (PIC) Chairs for use by program chairs and session moderators. The purpose of the document is to provide structure to technical sessions and assure equitable treatment of authors regardless of the session in which they present. This document is offered as a promising practices recommendation. Individual division instructions on session moderation supersede this document.

Prior to the conference

  1. Program chairs should begin assembling lists of moderators during the paper review process. Promising practices include;  
    1. asking during the division business meeting at the prior annual conference for volunteer moderators for the next annual conference,
    2. by canvassing reviewers with significant experience in the area of the session concentration,
    3. soliciting volunteers from all division members using the list serve,
    4. noting timely and good reviewers during the review process and
    5. by leveraging personal relationships with reviewers.
  2. Once a list of session moderators has been assembled, select a moderator and an alternate. This practice usually precludes a last minute emergency if a moderator is unable to manage their assigned session. Get cell phone contacts for these individuals. Sample language for communication with moderators is included as Appendix I.
  3. Ask the first choice moderators to contact their authors (with a copy to the alternates) at the earliest possible time after session slots are assigned. Encourage the moderators to send out this document plus any special instructions necessary for their session. Example verbiage is included in this document, see Appendix II.
  4. Ask presenters for a brief bio, including rank or title and organizational affiliation, to assist with introductions before the presentation, along with a phonetic spelling of their name so introductions can be done correctly.
  5. Gather information from the presenters on their AV needs or desires to compare to the equipment available. As a minimum, learn if the presentations are PC or Mac based. Remind Mac users that it is important for them to bring their own video adapter. Most projectors have a serial port and a HDMI port for input video signals from a laptop computer. Audio systems and sound reinforcement is dependent on room size. Ensure that presenters requiring audio program support have a system compatible with the presentation space. A relationship with an AV technician is helpful. To achieve this during the conference, show up to your room early. The technicians are usually roaming from room to room as sessions are changing over. Introduce yourself and ask for any assistance based on this early assessment of equipment needs.
  6. In addition to AV needs, please make sure to confirm accessibility for speakers. If there is a raised stage in the presentation room, it may be necessary to notify our ASEE staff to get a lift for persons who are in wheel chairs or cannot climb stairs. We have members who use sign language interpreters, which is another example of something to know in advance.
  7. Impress on presenters that internet connectivity will likely not be available in the presentation space. Even if their plan was to connect a phone, cell reception in these venues is spotty and weak, often by design. This means that presentation support files, such as videos connected to slide shows, should be loaded on a local machine.
  8. Ask presenters to arrive at the presentation space 15 minutes prior to the start of the session. Each lead presenter should be instructed to identify themselves to you. ASEE encourages student presenters. Moderators should ensure that student presenters are treated with respect by the audience.
  9. Impress on the moderators that they are the owners of the session time, not the authors/presenters. Some presenters arrive with a misunderstanding of speaker and session time limitations. The moderator must establish that they are the judge/referee of the session and that their instructions are to be followed.

At the conference

  1. As soon as you are able, find the room where you will moderate your session. Verify the equipment that will be available with the local AV technicians. A relationship with valuable AV personnel may pay off if you have AV problems.  Attempt to get contact information from them for a pager or cell phone. Also check for any noted accessibility limitations presented by the room’s setup. The earlier you identify needs the higher likelihood our ASEE staff can address these needs.
  2. Best practice is to load all presentations on a common computer. This may not be practical if you are a Mac user or if you use a PC and a presenter uses Mac based software. Knowing this in advance helps smooth transitions if multiple platforms are to be employed.
  3. Arrive at your space 20 minutes early at a minimum. Remember that some authors traverse great distances to present, and technical difficulties should NOT impact anyone’s presentation time slot.
  4. Verify that any special accommodations needed for session speakers have been implemented, such as chairs, ramps, lifts or other physical changes required to make the space ready. Verify that sign language interpreters are or will be on station to cover any presentations that require these support services.
  5. Get all presentations loaded onto the common platform and open them. Have each presenter scroll through their presentations to verify functionality. If Mac connectivity is required, test this as well. Make sure videos or reference files load and execute.
  6. If presenters have other events to attend, it is permissible to change the order of presentations in the session. Verify order of presentation with the authors prior to beginning.
  7. If an author is not present, announce this to the audience so people can make a decision on remaining in the session at the beginning.
  8. Start the session on time. Announce that any items left behind will be placed at the ASEE information desk. Reinforce the ASEE meeting code of conduct with the audience. Please see Appendix III for the ASEE Meeting Code of Conduct.
  9. Introduce each paper and the lead presenter with a short bio.
  10. Make your rules on questions clear to the audience. Best practice is to allow authors a given time slot with 90% of the time dedicated to transmitting the content and 10% reserved for specific questions to that author. At the discretion of the session moderator, the authors’ time slots may be reduced in duration to allow for unified questions at the end of the session. Make sure that authors know, in advance, how you will be handling questions. This end of session time is well suited to follow up questions that could not be accommodated during the normal question time for the individual presentation, or for questions that arise as a byproduct of hearing multiple presentations on similar topics.
  11. Presenters are expected to present their papers and outcomes as submitted, reviewed and accepted. This is not a time for personal opinions on topics not related to the research being presented. Should you find this situation occurring, you may terminate the presentation and move on to the next presenter. You may also report such behavior to The ASEE information desk.
  12. The moderator should select questioners, since they will be monitoring time for each presentation. Best practice is that persons asking questions should identify themselves and the institution or organization they represent prior to asking a question.
  13. Questions that the moderator deems inappropriate, for any reason, should be identified as such, with instructions to the presenters not to answer, and a new questioner should be selected.
  14. Think of a question for each talk, in case there are no audience questions.
  15. Offer to assist presenters with handouts or other visual aids if necessary.
  16. Gather any feedback instruments intrinsic to the session and return those to the appropriate person.
  17. End the session on time. Encourage the audience to continue discussions outside the room so that the next session may begin on time. Session schedules are posted outside the rooms, so this may be modified if no session is scheduled to take place in the room in the proximate time slot.
  18. Deliver items left in the presentation room to the ASEE information desk, making sure they are identified with the session where they were recovered.

After the conference

  1. Moderators should be recognized for their service, with level of recognition at the discretion of each individual division.
  2. Divisions should canvas moderators for feedback on the session(s) they moderated. This information should be shared with the PIC Chairs.
  3. Ask the moderators’ permission and then pass the names of the moderators to your successor program chair.

Code of Conduct for ASEE Meetings

It is the policy of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) that all participants, including attendees, vendors, ASEE staff, volunteers, and all other stakeholders at ASEE meetings will conduct themselves in a professional manner that is welcoming to all participants and free from any form of discrimination, intimidation, harassment, or retaliation. ASEE is committed to ensuring a safe and welcoming environment for all participants.

Participants will treat each other with respect and consideration to create a collegial, inclusive, and safe professional environment at ASEE Meetings. Creating a supportive environment to enable discourse at ASEE meetings is the responsibility of all participants.

Participants will avoid any inappropriate actions or statements based on individual characteristics such as age, religion, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, nationality, political affiliation, ability status, educational background, or any other characteristic. Disruptive or harassing behavior of any kind will not be tolerated. Harassment includes but is not limited to inappropriate or intimidating behavior and language, unwelcome jokes or comments, unwanted touching or attention, offensive images, photography without permission, real or implied threat of physical harm, physical assault and stalking.



The Journal of Engineering Education (JEE) is a peer-reviewed international journal published quarterly by the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) in partnership with a global community of engineering education societies and associations.

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