When it came time for the annual School of Nursing’s awards ceremony, it was a quick adaptation to make this a synchronous virtual viewing to celebrate student, faculty, and staff excellence. The goal was to give individual recognition to more than 25 award recipients and celebrate their accomplishments as a community.  Going virtual didn’t impact the goals, per se. However, it did add a layer of complexity that required more coordination and communication than ever before. Every award presenter, award recipient, award group representative, and the mistress of ceremonies was instructed to create a A/V recording of their remarks by either using Zoom or their phone. These videos were integrated into a PowerPoint presentation that simulated, in spirit, the brick-and-mortar event.

What elements did you incorporate in your virtual event to engage attendees?

With a PowerPoint slide deck, we revealed the name of each award as it was being described by the presenter or award group representative. We then revealed the name and photo of the award’s recipient using transitions, animations, and sound effects. To further the celebratory feeling, we opened the chat feature in Zoom so that attendees could share congratulatory comments.

What resources, skills, and partners did you use in creating this virtual event?

Utilizing my Zoom and PowerPoint skills, I partnered with our IT team to envision the virtual ceremony and develop the concept. I worked closely with the media specialists on that team to produce the video presentation and broadcast it “live” via Zoom.

How did you measure the success of your virtual event?            

We measured the success of this event by anecdotal evidence. We received positive comments from the Dean of the School of Nursing, my boss who at the time was the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, my colleagues, and members of the school community.

What was most satisfying about planning and producing this event?     

The challenge of adapting to the circumstances and then working with the IT team to develop the concept.

What did you learn from planning this virtual event?    

The video editor/producer is ultimately the one with artistic control, not me.

What advice do you have for colleagues planning a similar event?         

If you’ve never worked with a video editor/producer before, I highly recommend seeking advice and recommendations from people who have in order to find out how to communicate effectively with them. This will also help you develop a solid understanding of the video editing and production processes, the steps involved, what to expect or anticipate, questions to ask, important things to consider, and pitfalls to avoid.

What is your next virtual event challenge?         

The next virtual challenge I faced was coordinating and facilitating my first Zoom Webinar: a statewide hour-long continuing education event featuring a moderator, three presenters/panelists, and a Q&A session. We had close to 300 people participate in the webinar.

Please list the names and titles of anyone else that was vital to this project.             

  • Video Editor/Producer: Rodney Bean, Multimedia and User Services Specialist, School of Nursing IT (SON IT)
  • Mistress of Ceremonies: Valerie K. Sabol, PhD, ACN, GNP, CHSE, ANEF, FAANP, FAAN, Professor and Chair of the Healthcare in Adult Populations Division
  • Zoom Host: Ramon Sotelo, Multimedia and User Services Specialist, SON IT
  • Creative Consultant and Closing Scene Videographer: Drew Buchanan, Multimedia Specialist, SON IT
  • IT Consultant: Carla Nichols, Assistant Director, Information Systems, SON IT
  • IT Consultant: Glenn Setliff, Assistant Dean, Information Technology, SON IT

Virtually yours,

Stefanie Conrad

Special Projects Analyst

School of Nursing Academic Affairs


Kaitlin Briggs, Editor