Session Conveners have the opportunity to request their session proposal be considered for an alternate format. This can be requested during the session proposal submission phase, and is approved as an alternate format by the Program Committee.

Panel Format

Panel sessions are oral sessions that allow a higher level of interaction with the audience than a typical session. Panels will consist of up to eight individuals who will respond to questions from a moderator and audience.

The Program Committee and Section/Focus Group leaders will select and approve panel sessions. There will a limited number of panel sessions approved within each Section or Focus Group. Panelists will be required to submit an abstract to these panel sessions.

Session proposals that are accepted for abstract submissions but are not accepted to be a panel session will still have the opportunity to schedule a panel in their session. Any session  allocated as an oral component could schedule a panel of up to four presenters, but only from those who submitted abstracts to their session. With oversight from the Program Committee, conveners can propose an outline for their sessions during the scheduling phase in late August. Detailed instructions will follow.

Panel Discussions moderators will: facilitate discussion, keep panelists on topic and within time, and balance attendee interaction. moderators should have a number of predetermined questions to engage the audience. As determined by the conveners, a panel session might:

  • Begin with a 5-minute talk from each speaker. Following these introductions, the discussion is opened or questions from the moderator and audience.
  • Jump directly into the panel with questions from the moderator, followed by questions from the audience.


An eLightning session  is a new type of format that will allow the convener and presenter to have a multifaceted, digital session and presentation which attracts, engages, and informs the audience. This session format will do away with the traditional printed poster and dark oral session room in favor of a dynamic web-based presentation and digital station at the convention center.

Presenters will use an online platform to build an interactive presentation that can display high-resolution images, data visualizations, videos and animations, voice-over narrations, and scrolling content. Once onsite in New Orleans, these presenters will use a large touch screen display to deliver their presentations. Additionally, these presentations will be hosted in a virtual library and offer the opportunity to record a brief presentation about the content for virtual viewers. Presenters won’t have to print posters and hang them on boards in the poster hall as their presentation is accessible at any time from the web or from the session stations onsite.

Check out an example eLightning presentation to see the features and scrolling content that will be available and possible for the presentations in these sessions.

The format of this 2-hour session will be a 3-minute lightning presentation for each presenter, followed by group discussion and then time with individual presenters at their digital stations for more in-depth discussions.

At the meeting, sessions will have a dedicated area with large touchscreen monitors, hard-line internet, power, and devoted technical assistance personnel. AGU staff will handle the logistics of this equipment with no ordering responsibilities from the convener or presenter.

AGU has worked to reduce costs as much as possible for this new technology, keeping it cost effective for presenters. To do this, AGU is absorbing much of the program cost in 2017. To cover the remaining costs, an additional fee will be added during abstract submissions for authors who choose to submit an abstract to an eLightning session. The fee will be scalable for students and low income countries like the abstract submission fee. The total of the eLightning fee and the abstract submission fee will be less than the standard on-site poster printing costs and only a portion of the cost to present using a monitor during a traditional session in the poster hall (based on 2016 pricing). See the information like below to see a breakdown of these costs and the added value of this format.

Membership Status Abstract Fee* eLightning Fee^  Total
Regular Member $65 $85 $150
Student Member $35 $65 $100
Tier 1 & 2 Countries $0 $0 $0

*The abstract submission fee is a non-refundable processing fee required of every abstract submitted to the Fall Meeting, and not based on approval of your abstract submission.
^The eLightning Fee is only applicable to abstracts submitted to eLightning sessions. If the abstract is rejected or moved to a non-eLightning session not by request of the submitter, this fee can be refunded on request.

For a more in-depth description of the software, the details of the cost and value of this format, and FAQs, please view this document which has all the current information on eLightning sessions and presentations.

Oral Lightning

Oral Lightning Format: This session type includes more presenters with shorter presentation times than the traditional eight to twelve speaker session format in a two hour session. An oral lightning session may include:

  • 15 presenters giving a 5-minute talk, with 3-minute Q&A
  • 12 presenters giving 8-minute talks with a 30-minute panel discussion among all presenters at the end of the session

Lightning Poster Presentations in Oral Session Format: If allocated both an oral component and poster session for a traditional oral session with dually scheduled lightning poster presentations. The poster presenter would be able to present for 1-2 minutes in the corresponding oral session while also presenting in the full poster session using the traditional poster boards.

Poster Only

Session conveners can now request that their session, if accepted, be allocated as a traditional poster session only. This is ideal for:

  • Session conveners who prefer the poster session format for the research and topics that will be covered in the session
  • First-time conveners to make their first time convening more of a manageable experience.

If accepted for abstract submissions in the poster only format, this session will be noted as a poster only session for abstract submitters.