Virtual Chair Frequently Asked Questions
This year’s summer conferences will be held virtually using the Virtual Chair online platform with the exception of the “Economics of Cryptocurrencies” conference. A separate invitation will be sent to you with instructions on how to access the session you registered for a day before the conference.
Many of the most commonly asked questions can be found below.
Visit the demo page to familiarize yourself with the venue.
The 2021 Cowles Summer Conferences will be held virtually using the Virtual Chair online platform. A separate invitation will be sent to participants with instructions on how to access the conference session you registered for. This brief overview video explains how to navigate the Virtual Chair space.
A list of frequently asked questions for Virtual Chair guests can be found on this FAQ page. To familiarize yourself with the diﬀerent features available while attending a Virtual Chair session can be found on the Glossary Page.
Before joining a Virtual Chair conference session please take note of these recommendations:
- Use a desktop or laptop computer, not a mobile device such as a phone or tablet
- Use either Chrome or Firefox browsers to connect to a session
- Disconnect from VPN before joining a session
- Download and install Zoom video conference software to view speaker sessions
Joining a Virtual Chair conference session:
- An email will be sent to you containing information on how to access the conference session(s) you registered for. Follow the link in the email to access the Virtual Chair session webpage. Click the Join button on the Virtual Chair session webpage. Enter the provided password when prompted.
- When prompted, enter the password provided in the email.
- You will then be prompted to enter your name and conﬁgure your Virtual Chair avatar. It is here that you can also verify that your computer camera and microphone are working. Click the Join the Gathering button to enter the Virtual Chair venue space.
- You will enter the venue where you can use your keyboard arrow keys to navigate the space to converse with your colleagues.
If a paper discussion is to take place, the Virtual Chair venue has provided two areas in the main lobby where participants can congregate. The rug areas will be clearly marked with signs. To join the discussion, navigate your avatar onto the rug where you will hear and see only those other participants in the discussion.
If your avatar is unable to access the rug becuase it is being blocked by another avatar, hold down the G key to move through the other avatars.
Each conference space within Virtual Chair has a presentation area called a Plenary Room which is found at the top of the screen. Navigate your avatar to the plenary room door to enter the room. To join the Zoom presentation, have your avatar take a seat on a vacant stool and press “X” on your keyboard. At this point you will be presented with a Zoom link on the screen. Clicking the link will automatically launch Zoom on your computer to watch the presentation. Steps below:
- Enter the Plenary Room at the top of the screen through either of the doorways.
- After entering the Plenary Room, have your avatar sit on a vacant stool.
- At this point, press the “X“ key on your keyboard to join the Zoom session; click the link to launch Zoom.
- Once the Zoom presentation has ﬁnished, click the Leave Meeting button to bring you back to the Virtual Chair session in your browser. Exit the Zoom browser tab if necessary and on the Virtual Chair browser page, click the green Re-enter button to bring you back to the plenary room.
Your aﬀiliation will be displayed if another participant clicks on your name. Additionally, you can display your aﬀiliation on your avatar by using the Status ﬁeld found in your avatar settings (click on your name at the bottom of the screen to display the settings). To save the status text, click anywhere outside of the settings window. Click image below to view a help video or visit this help page.
You can see all participants who have signed-in to Virtual Chair by clicking the people icon in the toolbar found on the left of the screen.
You can ﬁnd a schedule of all the presentation on the left sidebar. Click the calendar icon to show upcoming events listed at the top of the sidebar.
As with in-person conferences, you can approach anyone in the Virtual Chair venue to interact with colleagues. When you approach another participant, that person’s camera will appear at the top of your screen allowing you to converse. If you would like a more private conversation, you can sit at one of the tables in the lounge area. The number of chairs dictates the number of people who can interact with each other. If there are no empty chairs, no one else can join the conversation. Thus, if you want a one-on-one conversation, sit at a table with only two chairs.
Interacting with others
|Private table for two||Table with four chairs||Table with eight seats|
If you need assistance navigating Virtual Chair, you can contact a support person in one of the following ways:
In (virtual) Person
Walk to a virtual Helpdesk to discuss your question directly. Helpdesks will be located in the lobby
Chat one-on-one with a Helpdesk staﬀ member by scrolling through the participant list and clicking on their name, then “message”. You can also search for the Helpdesk staﬀ member using the search bar, found above the list of participants.
- Email the Virtual Chair staﬀ to alert them if you have trouble navigating the event space on gather.town; they are available at the unique help email found on your event’s landing page.
- Or email firstname.lastname@example.org and put the name of the event you’re attending in the subject line.
In order for Virtual Chair’s Helpdesk team to best assist you, it is recommended that you conﬁrm which browser you are using, and provide either a screenshot or a description of the speciﬁc webpage where you encountered an issue. Speciﬁc information on troubleshooting audiovisual connection issues is available by clicking here.
Via the Web