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Meeting Essentials

2020 Virtual Annual Meeting > Meeting Essentials

Here are the key things to know for this year’s Virtual Meeting. For additional information for chairs, presenters, and exhibitors, please use the links here or at the end of the document.


This year, the Virtual Annual Meeting will include a wide range of events and sessions for our attendees, including an exciting lineup of panels and plenaries raising timely and important issues, as well as networking, happy hours, watch parties, jam sessions, and more! Some parts of the program follow our in-person customs but we’re also looking forward to exploring the ways we can creatively use the online space.

Remember, if you must miss some live sessions, many paper panels and plenary addresses will be recorded so that you can access them asynchronously through December 31.

You can now see the conference platform that we will use to access live and recorded sessions. The program will be updated as we receive late changes; you can expect that some things you saw in advance of the live sessions may change before they occur.

  1. The first time that you visit the conference platform, you will see a “Login with AFS” button; click it.
  2. You will be prompted to enter the email address that you used when you registered for the meeting. You should see a “Success” pop-up message telling you to check your email.
  3. Check your email for a confirmation message with the link to protected content, like the schedule. 
  4. The platform will remember you as long as you stay signed in. 
  5. Try this out as soon as possible, and contact if you have any trouble.

About the Conference Platform

The conference will be entirely virtual and hosted on a platform provided by Open Water with live sessions conducted in Zoom.

Anyone can view the program and exhibits on the conference platform when it is available, but the schedule and recorded sessions are accessible only to registered attendeees.

Registered attendees will sign in with their email address once, then simply click a button to go straight from the description of a session in the Schedule to go to its live Zoom meeting. The Zoom sessions can only be accessed from the online platform, which is scalable to any device; no call in information will be provided.

Because most live sessions will be recorded, attendees will have the chance to see anything they missed at any time through the end of the year. Recordings will be added to session descriptions in the Schedule soon after the live session.

See our Help with Zoom for guidelines and best practices, as well as technical help. See Open Water help for instructions about how to access the platform; the access link can also be found on the 2020 Virtual Annual Meeting page.

Policies and Guidelines

General policies for AFS Annual Meetings can be found on our website as well as updated policies for our virtual meeting this year.

AFS strives to ensure that all meeting participants have equal opportunities to engage in and contribute to its Annual Meeting. Chairs and presenters should review our guidelines for accessible virtual presentationsAttendees should contact us at to request other accommodations that may be necessary to facilitate their participation.


Because we will be interacting with one another via Zoom, it is important to familiarize yourself with “netiquette,” or general norms and expectations for communicating online. Helpful guidelines can be found here. For this meeting specifically:

  • Test your equipment before the conference, including your microphone and video. All presenters and chairs should have a stable web connection to avoid technical issues. See "System Requirements" in Help with Zoom.
  • In general, mute your microphone when you are not speaking in order to reduce background noise.
  • While individual situations may influence your choice about whether or not to use video, we recommend that participants use video whenever possible to allow attendees to see each other even in a virtual space. There are options for creating a neutral or an AFS logo background if you would prefer for participants to not see the place where you are sitting! Ask us for assistance in planning a workable background for your video presence.
  • If you plan to move between sessions, make sure you keep your audio and video off while you move from panel to panel to minimize disruption.
  • Presenters should upload all media files to the online meeting portal ahead of time.
  • Follow instructions from chairs and moderators to ensure a smooth virtual session.
  • As with any meeting, be courteous and forgiving. Allow chairs and moderators to handle disruptions.


By default, most live events and sessions will be recorded to make that content accessible to those who can’t attend the live sessions. Social events and discussion sessions will not be recorded. These recordings will be available until the end of the calendar year for registered attendees to watch on-demand.

As an attendee, if you do not want to be recorded in a session, please do not attend the session. The program will indicate which sessions are not recorded so that you know ahead of time which ones are viable options for you. Chairs and presenters, please see the specific guidelines below for appropriate procedures to follow if you do not want to be recorded.

AFS collected permission from presenters concerning sharing email addresses. The email addresses that we were given permission to publish will be shared in an index of presenters on the conference platform.

For customized information, see:

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