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University Writing and Research Symposium
The George Washington University

Session 1B, "What's Black & White and Read All Over?" Presenter Gregory C. Magee deals with pre-session equipment problems. 2007 University Writing and Research Symposium. The George Washington University. Saturday, April 21.EQUIPMENT GUIDELINES

Almost all Symposium locations this year will have an on-site computer and projector, and some way to show DVDs or play CDs and sound files. You should also be able to count on having internet and wireless access.

How to Prepare

Your best bet to make sure all your equipment will work the way you want it to is to arrive early enough to your session to check the equipment, upload your material from your flash drive to the session computer (or cue up your video clip), and do a test run of your material as you would use it in the presentation. Doing this will save you time and it will relieve some of your anxiety about doing the presentation itself.

If you have a chance, check out your room location at a prior session (or in the days before the Symposium), even if just to get a sense of the layout or to watch someone from another session using the equipment.

If you are part of a group presentation, you might assign one of your people the job of working the technology while the rest of you run the show.

GW faculty and technical staff will be on hand to help out. If you can't find anyone to help, check with the information table in front of Post Hall in the Academic Building.

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Expect Problems

Assume something will go wrong. With presentation technology, something always does -- networks go down, your files turn out to be incompatible with the version of software on the computer (see the "PowerPoint" section below), documents inexplicably don't open, no one can figure out how to work the remote for the DVD player, etc.

So have have a back-up plan, and have a back-up plan for your back-up plan. For example, say you're interested in showing something that appears on a web site. While you'll probably be able to access the internet, you should also download and archive the pages you want to look at as files that you bring on a flash drive. As a last resort, you might even plan on having page printouts to pass around.

Expect No Problems

Having said all that, we don't actually anticipate there being any major problems: the equipment works, it has been tested in the rooms in which you'll find it, and we will have faculty and staff on hand to help you through the process of using it.

Computer Needs

All presentation spaces have a dedicated computer/projector set-up; all have internet access; most have wireless. To make things easy, reliable, and quick, we strongly recommend that you bring all necessary files on a flash (or "jump" or USB) drive. This enables all presenters in a session to upload their material to a single, on-site computer before the session begins. This is infinitely preferable to everyone trying to connect and disconnect their individual laptops during the session (though we will do our best to accomodate you if you if that's how it has to be).

Though slower, you might also burn files to CD as a failsafe. Slowest of all, you might also email yourself the files. We recommend this only as a final backup plan.

The PowerPoint Question

...itself a subcategory of The Microsoft Question.

Many of you will want to use PowerPoint, which presents special technological challenges. PowerPoint is one of those Microsoft wonders that gets really screwed up if the software you used to create it doesn't use the version of the software that is used to play it. Most of the trouble centers around how the program handles animation, so it's best to play it safe by using as little crucial animation as possible. It will save you set-up time and look more professional if you save your finished presentation as a PowerPoint Show (.pps) rather than as a PowerPoint Presentation (.ppt).

The Mac is the loneliest piece of equipment in the room. Session 1B, "What's Black & White and Read All Over." 2007 University Writing and Research Symposium. The George Washington University. Saturday, April 21

The Mac Question

Mac users should, as always, take special precautions to make sure that their files and/or equipment will work within the PC hegemony of the Symposium. Avoid letting your Mac become the loneliest piece of equipment in the room (see image, left). If at all possible, test your material on a friend's PC ahead of time.

Particularly, if you bring a flash drive, you will also want to bring a Mac-to-PC flash drive adapter (it adapts the Mac output to a USB input).