Case study: From physical to virtual conference - a quick and painless journey


Furman Engaged is an annual event showcasing the diverse and immersive learning experiences that students participate in at Furman University, South Carolina. Following a successful 2019 event, Oxford Abstracts was delighted to have been approached last year to provide software services for this year’s event.

Furman Engaged was scheduled to take part on campus on 7th April, 2020, a few weeks after the nationwide Coronovirus restrictions closed universities and institutions across the country, in an effort to slow the spread of the pandemic.

The challenge

Emily Sweezey, Executive Assistant at Furman, explains:

‘When we found out that Furman University would have to close and go to distance learning for the remainder of the spring semester due to COVID-19, we were disappointed that we would also have to cancel Furman Engaged, the university’s annual conference showcasing students’ high-impact engaged learning experiences. We had just begun to meet and talk about how we could make our Furman Engaged event virtual. I knew that Oxford Abstracts could help with this, so I got in contact’.

Emily needed to incorporate live-streams of sessions into the existing program schedule, with the now locked down students responsible for filming their own presentations. Although this solution relied on students having access to, and knowledge of specific technology, she was confident that there would be a sufficient number of students who would be happy with going ahead and presenting in a virtual conference situation.

Given the extremely tight deadline, Emily needed to be able to get her solution into action quickly.

The solution

Emily had already set up her program using our Advanced Conference Program. It’s available with our Platinum Package and allows you to create a colour coded program and integrate your submissions into sessions. These can be pre-recorded videos, live sessions, webinars or just simply PDFs . You just simply add links to sessions in the program and users can then watch live, or later, in their own time.The program is fully compatible with PC, Mac, tablets and phones, so can be watched on the go.

'All presentations for the virtual conference were submitted from students who were already registered for our on-campus Furman Engaged day, but we either posted an image of their poster and included a downloadable file, or we linked to a video on YouTube. It worked out really well and we could not have done it without the help of Geoff and others from your team.’


'I can’t tell you how excited I was when I received an email from Oxford Abstracts that described how an in-person event could go virtual. We immediately jumped on the idea and used our Oxford Abstracts online program to develop an asynchronous virtual conference. It went off without a hitch and everyone at Furman was thoroughly impressed with the result. It was so easy to transition to a completely online format, thus allowing us the ability to have the students’ work be on display for the world to view!'

Happy to help, Emily!

Have a look at Virtual Furman Engaged and see what your virtual conference program could look like, or get in touch for a free trial and try it for yourself.