Please review the answers to these Frequently Asked Questions about the Blackburn Institute’s 2020 Virtual Annual Symposium.  If your question is not answered here, please email Kathryn Drago.

Use the topics below to quickly find the answers you need.


Yes. Through 8/27 at noon CDT, you may send us an email to let us know that you’d like to register late.
Because Annual Symposium is online this year, and many of our members may have been financially affected by the COVID pandemic, the 26th Annual Symposium is free.  If you would like to give to the Blackburn Institute to support it’s programming, please make a one-time or reoccurring donation.
Beginning 8/20, all registrants received an email from asking them to accept their registration by clicking on a link. If you did not receive this email, and did not click on the link, you are not registered with our online platform. Please email us to receive your registration email.
You may have registered for Symposium using a Qualtrics survey. When we transitioned our Symposium from in person to online, you had to register again with the virtual platform that is hosting our Annual Symposium, It requires you to provide an email address to access the meeting site.

Logging In to Symposium

When Annual Symposium begins at 1:30 pm CDT on August 28, 2020, you will be allowed to enter the online platform. There is nothing to download. Simply click the link in the email that will be sent to you an hour before the event begins.
If it is between August 28 at 1:30 pm CDT and August 29 at 1 pm CDT, and you cannot access the Symposium, please first refresh your browser (Firefox or Chrome) and try to enter again.  If that doesn’t work, email us.


Please watch our short how-to-use-Hopin video.

Also, at the beginning of each Symposium day (1:30-2 pm CDT on August 28 and and 8:30-9 am CDT on August 29), please join us for the check in and orientation session to familiarize yourself with Hopin.

Once you enter Hopin, you can visit the Live Help Desk, where you will find a Blackburn student or staff member who is able to answer your questions.

Yes. For all panelists appearing on the stage (keynote speakers and featured panels), prior to Symposium, we will meet with you to acquaint you with the backstage area and “going live.” A Blackburn staff person will also be on stage with you to handle tech issues while you present.

For all other panelists, when Symposium is live you will be invited to a “Green Room” where Blackburn students or staff will show you how to share your audio/screen and allow participants to ask questions on screen. You will also have a student facilitator in your session to help you with technology.

The keynote sessions and the featured panels (Sessions IX and XIV) will happen on the stage. When you are in the Symposium site, click the “Stage” button on the left side of the screen to join one of these sessions.

All other sessions will show up when you click the “Sessions” button on the right side of the screen. These sessions will appear 5 minutes before they begin and disappear 5 minutes after they end.

Use only Chrome or Firefox browsers. Avoid Brave, Safari, and Microsoft IE or Edge. If you are still having trouble in Chrome or Firefox, try one of these troubleshooting tips.


Sharing your video is highly encouraged when asking speakers questions, in the Networking Break, and while participating in Coffee and Conversations discussions. However, it is not required. Video helps us to see facial expressions and build bonds while we are far away.

If you need to do something that might distract other participants (talk on the phone, tend to children, etc.), please turn off your camera for a moment and turn it back on when you can.

Although we are joining from home, we encourage all participants to appear in business casual attire.

Traditional Blackburn Events

Yes. Advisory Board members are meeting in Hopin on August 28, 2-4 pm CDT.
Yes, but not during Symposium.  All Fellows will be invited to a meeting in September.
Yes, it will be awarded at 4:15 pm CDT on August 28, and the awardee will still be a surprise. Tune in to see which student will be honored.
We will be pinning Dec 2019, May 2020, and August 2020 graduates at 5:45 pm CDT on August 28. Attend to see where these talented new Fellows have landed.


Yes. Between 10:15 and 10:45 am CDT on August 29, all participants are invited to the Networking Break. To join in Hopin, click the “Networking” button on the left, and then click “Ready.” You will be matched with another participant to speak with over video. During the Networking Break, you will have the opportunity to match with four participants for 7 minutes each. You will not be rematched with the same person. You can also share your contact information with whoever you’re matched with by clicking “Connect,” so make sure to fill out your profile.

Hopin will match you according to your ticket type:

  • Blackburn students can meet AB Members, Fellows, guest speakers, and guests of the Institute
  • Blackburn Fellows can meet AB Members, Blackburn students, guest speakers, and guests of the Institute
  • AB members can meet Blackburn students, Fellows, guest speakers, and guests of the Institute
  • Guest speakers can meet AB members, Blackburn students, and Fellows
  • Guests of the Institute can meet AB members, Blackburn students, and Fellows
  • Student guests can meet other student guests

If you registered for Symposium before 8/16, you have been assigned a Coffee and Conversations room based on the topic you selected. If you registered late, you may join On August 28 at 6 pm CDT, you will find these events under the “Sessions” button on Hopin.

Each room will have a maximum of 20 participants and a moderator and guided questions to keep conversation flowing. While the discussion officially ends at 7 pm, feel free to on the platform and continue talking over text or video chat. Additionally, please continue these discussions through Blackburn Connect.

Yes, but this will happen differently in Hopin’s Stage and Session areas.

In the Stage area (where you will hear from the keynote speakers and featured panels), there is a 10 second delay between what the speaker says and what the audience hears. Because of this, we encourage you to write you questions in Stage Chat. During the Q&A section of the talk, the moderator will read these questions to the speaker.

In the Session area, you can choose to share your audio and video to appear to everyone as you ask your question aloud. You can also choose to ask a question in the Session Chat, and the moderator of the session will help the panelists to answer those questions as well.

Yes, on the right side of the screen in Hopin, you will find the chat. In the main chat, you can type a message to everyone who is attending. Furthest to the right, you will find the “People” tab. There, you can find a list of all attendees, and you can chat with them individually, or invite them to join you in a video call.

Recorded and Streaming Presentations

Yes, all of the talks will be recorded (except for Session XV – The Fight for the Noblest Democracy: Women’s Suffrage in Alabama due to the documentary’s copyright ). The recorded sessions will be available to watch through the Symposium community on Blackburn Connect. We will post the recordings of the sessions to the site over the course of the year, with the speakers who are also Blackburn members available for Q&A via a discussion thread.
The sessions that take place on the Stage (the keynote addresses and feature panels) will be simulcast to the Blackburn Institute’s Youtube page. Anyone will be able to watch these talks, but they will not be able to interact with the speakers or participants in Hopin. No registration is necessary to view the simulcast.

Print Materials

Please use this link to access a PDF version of the 2020 Annual Symposium Program Guide that you can print. It contains session descriptions and speaker bios.
Yes, all members with updated addresses on Blackburn Connect will be mailed the Annual Connections magazine. You may also access the PDF version of the 2020 Annual Connections magazine to print or read digitally.